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  1. Introduction.
  2. To what extent did Contingency theories of leadership resolve the problem of trait and behavioural theories?
  3. Some of the main traits according to Stogdill.
  4. Behavioural theories through 'a managerial grid'.
  5. Situational and contingency models.
  6. Vroom and Yetton's model.
  7. Conclusion.
  8. Bibliography.

Contingency theories of leadership were intended to resolve the problems of Trait and Behavioural theories. To what extent have they achieved? According to the dictionary, leadership is « the process whereby one person influences the thoughts and behaviour of others »; it thus appears to be a key element in the success of a company. In those circumstances, we must wonder what the parameters that make a leadership efficient are. It is accordingly that Dr Ralph Melvin Stogdill, an American professor of Psychology, developed the « Trait theory » based on Thomas Carlysle's « Great Man » concept. It was later completed by inter alia Mutton and Blake, who added the dimension of behaviour. However innovative they were, those theories which aimed to describe the ideal leader were inexact; indeed some leaderships which reunited right criteria happened to be fails. In that context, Joseph Bower in order to solve those problems elaborated the « Contingency theory », which particularity was to take into account the employees and the situation of the leadership.

[...] Fiedler contingency model is known as the most important contingency theory; it is based on the following assumption: the efficiency of a leader depends on the correspondence between its style of leadership and the situation The style depends on the task and the people; Fiedler evaluates it thanks to the LPC (Least Preferred Co Worker). The situation on the other hand depends on three things: the relationship between the leader and the others, the structure of the task, and at last sources of the power. [...]

[...] However, contingency theories do not resolve all the problems, indeed, even if they give us some clues, like tools such as the PLC and the Vroom and Yetton's diagnostic, or the consequences of the different styles of leadership to decide which style of leadership we should choose, they do not provide us a best one. Moreover, Management being a human science, contingency theories do not remove the uncertainties due to the fact that it is not based on Mathematical equations, but only on observations. [...]

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