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A Path Goal Theory of Leader Effectiveness
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Administrative Science Quarterly
Description: Founded in 1956 by James Thompson, the Administrative Science Quarterly is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal publishing theoretical and empirical work that advances the study of organizational behavior and theory. ASQ publishes articles that contribute to organization theory from a number of disciplines, including organizational behavior and theory, sociology, psychology and social psychology, strategic management, economics, public administration, and industrial relations. ASQ publishes both qualitative and quantitative work, as well as purely theoretical papers. Theoretical perspectives and topics in ASQ range from micro to macro, from lab experiments in psychology to work on nation-states. An occasional feature is the ” ASQ Forum,” an essay on a special topic with invited commentaries. Thoughtful reviews of books relevant to organization studies and management theory are a regular feature. Special issues have explored qualitative methods, organizational culture, the utilization of organizational research, the distribution of rewards in organizations, and critical perspectives on organizational control.
Coverage: 1956-2013 (Vol. 1, No. 1 – Vol. 58, No. 4)
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Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior, Business & Economics, Business, Sociology, Social Sciences, Public Policy & Administration
Collections: For-Profit Academic Arts & Sciences IV Collection, JSTOR Essential Collection, Corporate & For-Profit Access Initiative Collection, Business I Collection
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An explanation of the effects of leader behavior on subordinate satisfaction, motivation, and performance is presented. The explanation is derived from a path-goal theory of motivation. Dimensions of leader behavior such as leader initiating structure, consideration, authoritarianism, hierarchical influence, and closeness of supervision are analyzed in terms of path-goal variables such as valence and instrumentality. The theory specifies some of the situational moderators on which the effects of specific leader behaviors are contingent. A set of general propositions are advanced which integrate and explain earlier fragmentary research findings. Several specific predictions are made to illustrate how the general propositions can be operationalized. The usefulness of the theory is demonstrated by showing how several seemingly unrelated prior research findings could have been deduced from its general propositions and by applying it to reconcile what appear to be contradictory findings from prior studies. Results of two empirical studies are reported that provide support for seven of eight hypotheses derived directly from the general propositions of the theory. A third study designed to test three of the original eight hypotheses is also reported. Two of these three hypotheses are successfully replicated. In the light of these results and the integrative power of the theory, it is argued that the theory shows promise and should be further tested with experimental as well as correlational methods.