Is Path-goal Theory Applicable?

When considering which theories might be applicable to my internship experience, path-goal theory immediately came to mind, but I’m not sure exactly how much it applies to what is happening in the office. If path-goal theory does fit well to explain the leadership of the office, then employee and intern success is dependent on the goals set by the leaders, as well as the path to reach those goals. The leader will also try to eliminate any hindrances in the path to the goal. If the employees are successful, then the goals of the leadership, and thus the office, will be met.

We do have a clear goal for the Office of Admission. For the summer it is to get prospective students to apply to the University of Richmond. Though this is the goal, there are a lot of different paths to get there. We offer information sessions and tours, which is the standard route for prospective students to get to know the University. Prospective students can also participate in Spider Chats where they can speak with a current student to get a better idea of what the University of Richmond is like. They can also review our website to try to get an understanding of the school. These are some of the paths offered by the Office of Admission, set up by the leadership of the office and executed mainly by interns and other student workers. However, prospective students do not always visit the school, and those that do visit do not always apply. Therefore, the leader cannot eliminate all possible difficulties of meeting the goal. When dealing with people in a customer service atmosphere, there are a lot of unknowns. The University is trying to advertise itself to prospective students, but the students are then wanting the University to choose them after they apply. I have realized that both the Office and prospective students have their own goals that rely on each other.

For these reasons, path-goal theory could apply to the University of Richmond Office of Admission, but there seem to be too many other factors for it to be the most effective theory. It works decently to create a path to follow to work towards the goal, but completing the goal does not immediately mean success for the Office because of these other factors.