Theories in Action– Week 3

I want to examine the contingency theory in my working environment.  I would classify my office as a situation of high favorableness.  The leader-member relations are good, the task structure is high, and the position power is strong. (Even though my boss tries to set us on a relatively level playing field, I strongly defer to his authority and would do anything he asked.)  Theoretically, he should use a psychologically distant approach and not focus much on team building or overly explaining.  I am the only team member besides him and we talk and laugh in the office a little bit, but it would be a much bigger distraction and completely unnecessary if he wanted to play ice-breakers or do a team-building obstacle course.  Typically, he will give me a list of projects to work on with basic instructions, and he does not waste time over explaining simple tasks.  This makes our productivity level better, and it makes me appreciate his leadership style more because I feel like he is showing trust and confidence in me when he doesn’t condescendingly explain projects.  He gives me freedom on the projects as long as I stay close to the guidelines he’s set, which makes us very productive.  When I get to do things the way I’m used to and don’t have to implement someone else’s ideas, I work a lot more quickly because I can tailor the work to suit my strengths.  My boss and a different lady I worked under to help plan a gala have commented on how efficient I am, but it is only because of their “psychologically distant” leadership style that I am able to work at that pace. Because Johnathan has implemented the correct style to the matching situation, the contingency theory is very effective at increasing out company output and maintaining a great working relationship.

If our office had more interns/employees and we had to collaborate on projects instead of working solo, his psychologically distant style would not be as effective.  The same could be said if the tasks we were completeing were much more complex instead of just requiring common sense.  He would have to facilitate more to make sure everyone is on the same page and comfortable with each other so we could properly get the most out of collective thinking.  I’m not sure how he would change if the other variables changed.  If I had to guess I would say that he would act the exact same and his company would be fragmented and not as productive.  It is a good thing he can operate at the size he is.

One thought on “Theories in Action– Week 3

  • August 1, 2019 at 9:48 am

    So more task versus relationship focused works well for the organization, particularly given its small size. Good to recognize all three elements of contingency (leader/member relations, task structure, and position power). The paper you will write this fall will ask your to select a theory and do a deep dive, talking about all the elements and providing examples from your internship site that illustrate (or do not illustrate) those elements. Should you choose to delve more deeply into contingency, you have a good start here, though you should continue to identify examples that illustrate the various elements and make note of those as you continue.

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