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Journal of Management Development

Emerald Article: An exploratory content analysis of situational leadership Mark A. Papworth, Derek Milne, George Boak

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To cite this document: Mark A. Papworth, Derek Milne, George Boak, (2009),"An exploratory content analysis of situational leadership", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 28 Iss: 7 pp. 593 - 606 Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02621710910972706 Downloaded on: 30-08-2012 References: This document contains references to 34 other documents Citations: This document has been cited by 3 other documents To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.com

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An exploratory content analysis of situational leadership


Mark A. Papworth
North Tyneside Primary Care Trust, Wallsend Health Centre, Wallsend, UK

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Received 20 October 2007 Revised 9 June 2008 Accepted 5 July 2008

Derek Milne
Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, and

George Boak
York St John University, York, UK
Abstract
Purpose Hersey and Blanchards situational leadership (SL) model is widely utilised, but it has limited empirical support. This paper aims to investigate the model through content analysis of the transcripts of supervision sessions. Design/methodology/approach Eight transcripts of successful supervision interviews are subjected to in-depth content analysis to investigate the validity of aspects of the SL model, principally that successful leadership interactions would vary systematically according to the level of supervisee experience. The supervisees consist of a novice, four training therapists, and three post-graduate therapist practitioners. Statistical analyses are undertaken to investigate fundamental, predicted differences between the speech behaviours associated with the different developmental levels of these supervisees. Findings The ndings offer only partial support for the model. As predicted, an increased proportion of supervisor speech is observed in the supervision of increasingly less experienced therapists. However, the majority of the more specic speech behaviours associated with supervisee experience level are not in keeping with the model. Originality/value These results are consistent with the ndings of other evaluations of the SL model. As the present results are based on a novel approach, this increases the plausibility of the claim that SL lacks adequate empirical support. Areas of development and exploration are recommended, and limits associated with the models utility are highlighted. Keywords Leadership, Leadership development, Management effectiveness Paper type Research paper

Introduction Hersey and Blanchards (1969; Hersey et al., 2001) situational leadership (SL) model is one of the most widely known leadership approaches (Bass, 1990; Northouse, 2004; Vecchio, 1987; Yukl, 2006). It has been a major factor in training and development programmes for over 400 of the Fortune 500 companies (Hersey et al., 2001). However, a literature search revealed only a handful of published, peer-reviewed studies investigating the approach. These offered only mixed support for the model. Therefore, the present study is a contribution to this modest literature. It investigates the validity of the model through the content analysis of clinical supervision (CS) sessions. This is the rst time that either this methodology or this sample have been utilised to evaluate the SL model.

Journal of Management Development Vol. 28 No. 7, 2009 pp. 593-606 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0262-1711 DOI 10.1108/02621710910972706

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CS and leadership The functions of CS include the facilitation of learning, assurance of tness to practice and the maintenance of competence (Milne and James, 2000). The processes involved in CS usually include: the development of a supervisory relationship, educational and skill development activities, with the primary focus of supervision being outcomes associated with the welfare of the patient (Townend et al., 2002). As these denitions suggest, core commonalities exist between leadership and CS. Both occur in the context of a relationship, which usually has explicit differences in terms of power and/or expertise, the expert/leader being at least partly responsible for the actions of supervisee/follower. They both have an objective (and also an explicit agenda) of one individual inuencing another. In this way, CS can be seen as an example of leadership. This is reected in policy (NHS Management Executive, 1993) where CS is interconnected with leadership; leaders providing supervision to subordinates and CS in turn facilitating leadership. These commonalities are also acknowledged within leadership literature (House, 1996). As such, CS is an ideal context through which to study basic leadership processes. Hersey and Blanchards SL model Hersey and Blanchards (1969; Hersey et al., 2001) SL model consists of three dimensions. Two of these are associated with leadership style: relationship behaviour (R) and task behaviour (T). These are used to produce four categories: (1) guiding, telling or directing (S1: low R, high T); (2) explaining, selling or persuading (S2: high R, high T); (3) encouraging, participating or problem-solving (S3: high R, low T); and (4) observing, delegating or monitoring (S4: low R, low T). The model species that the most effective leadership style is determined by the readiness level a follower exhibits. The continuum of follower readiness (previously termed maturity) is similarly divided into four developmental levels, ranging through: (1) they lack ability and also lack commitment or competence (R1); (2) they lack ability but are motivated or condent (R2); (3) they have ability but are not willing to utilise this (R3); through to (4) they have the competence to perform and are committed/condent (R4). Effectiveness is maximised by matching level of leadership style with follower readiness. Therefore, an R1 follower level (e.g. an enthusiastic beginner) would respond better to directing leader behaviours (S1). As followers develop, the SL model suggests that they move from the low levels of readiness through to higher levels (job permitting), and the associated optimal leadership style should change accordingly. The model has received criticism for evolving through a series of changes with no empirical basis, for having internal inconsistencies (two partially contradictory models are promoted simultaneously), few theoretical bases and little robust empirical support (Graeff, 1997; Nahavandi, 1997). A literature search revealed few published, peer-reviewed studies investigating the model. Of these, Vecchio and colleagues investigated the model on several occasions, none of their results supporting the

predicted three-factor interaction. Initially, Vecchio (1987) investigated the model using high school teaching staff. Some support was offered in that matched supervision dyads (i.e. where leader and follower were synchronised according to the model) tended to have higher performance ratings, perceived the relationships to be of higher quality and reported greater satisfaction with their supervisor. These ndings were particularly associated with the low-readiness follower category. Using a nursing sample, Norris and Vecchio (1992) did not nd signicant differences over supervision satisfaction between matched and mismatched dyads. Fernandez and Vecchio (1997) investigated the model with university employees. Their results failed to support the theory for both a withinand across-jobs perspective, although analyses suggested that supervisory monitoring and consideration may have a positive impact for lower level employees, and consideration for higher level employees. Vecchio et al.s (2006) results were contrary to that predicted by the model in that results were most robust in the high-readiness category, but in the opposite direction to that predicted. Additional research also offers mixed support. In a sample of retail chain employees, Goodson et al. (1989) found that the S2 and S3 styles resulted in the greatest level of follower satisfaction, regardless of the readiness level. Butler and Reese (1989) found that insurance agents, working for managers who preferred the S1 style, performed better than agents working for managers who preferred other styles. Blank et al. (1990) investigated the model with university staff and found that matched dyads reported signicantly higher levels of work satisfaction, but were not rated as being superior on supervisor appraisal of follower performance, or in providing higher ratings of supervisor satisfaction. Cairns et al. (1998) used an executive sample and found data which were in keeping with the model, but for the low-readiness levels only. Avery (2001) noted that managers rated themselves signicantly more effective than their subordinates ratings indicated. They also exhibited clear preferences for using the S3 supportive SLII[1] style. Avery and Ryan (2002) used a qualitative approach to investigate SLII with managers. Participants reported that the model had face validity, was easy to use, intuitive, relevant, effective and respondents stated that they could think of no better management tool. Silverthorne (2000) compared traditional vs adaptive managers (i.e. who are exible in their leadership style) and observed that followers who had leaders with a more adaptable style exhibited a signicantly lower level of absenteeism and staff turnover, as well as higher levels of protability. In a similar study, Silverthorne and Wang (2001) found differences in the percentage of adaptive leaders within companies rated as being more successful. These latter two studies are of interest, but do not attempt to examine whether, according to the SL, this adaptive style is synchronised with follower readiness levels. Thus, whilst there has been no empirical support for the models three-factor structure to date, leaders who are more exible in their style appear to deliver greater performance. Additionally, some studies have indicated that the model may have value for low-readiness individuals where the telling style is advocated. Other studies have, contradictorily, suggested that the S1, S2 and S3 leadership styles are generally preferable. Study aims The present study aims to explore the relationship between leadership speech behaviour and supervisee experience though examination of successful supervision sessions.

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A content analytic approach is used which is a novel form of research in this eld. This methodology is chosen, at least in part, to overcome some of the issues associated with SL evaluation to date. These include a fundamental contradiction between the models behavioural basis and the evaluative approach used to date (self-report, through questionnaire surveys). As such, ambiguous outcomes have been noted (Fernandez and Vecchio, 1997). Further, follower readiness is often determined by dividing the sample into quartiles (Goodson et al., 1989; Blank et al., 1990) or tertiles (Norris and Vecchio, 1992; Vecchio et al., 2006), thus, making untested assumptions regarding the distribution of readiness level. Additionally, Blank et al. (1990) report serious issues associated with some questionnaire measures. Method Sample Therapist supervision sessions were captured by video recording. The individuals invited to record these supervision sessions were acknowledged experts, some being attached to training centres of excellence. From an original sample of 12 tapes, eight were selected because the supervisees clearly expressed high levels of satisfaction within the sessions and explicitly described having their needs/issues met by the supervision. Thus, only successful supervision sessions were used to evaluate the hypotheses. Follower readiness levels were systematically equated to levels of professional development. Categorisation was synchronised through the indicators offered by the models authors (Hersey and Blanchard, 1969; Hersey et al., 2001). Within an educational context, Hersey and Blanchard (1969) previously allocated undergraduates to R1, senior undergraduates and masters students to R2/3 and PhD students to R4. Within our sample, professional development is delayed in comparison to their sample because over a UK therapists professional track, little if any client contact occurs at undergraduate level. Thus, R1 is equated to the novice, pre-professional training, but post-graduate therapist. R2 is indicative of a therapist in training where individuals are most rapidly developing skills and expertise. R3 equates to a recently qualied. Finally, R4 equates to the position of a more senior practitioner. As such, this sample consisted of one R1-, four R2- and three R3-level therapists whose needs and characteristic t with the model. No R4-level practitioners participated; hence, the characteristics of the R4 follower sessions could not be investigated. Recordings ranged in length from 12:18 to 49:06 minutes (Mean 39:04, SD 13:23). They were transcribed and analysed by the rst author. Reliability of the coding system was established by the rst author through coding the same interview on two occasions: once at the start of data coding and a second time at the end of data collection (six weeks later). Intra-rater reliability over 118 raw coding categories was found to be highly signicant (Pearson-Product Moment Correlation; r 0.95; p , 0.001). Analysis Interviews were subjected to content analysis which is a distinctive approach to analysis that seeks to quantify the content of text in a systematic and replicable manner (Bryman, 2004b, p. 181). Originally used for text analysis, it has been frequently applied to transcribed speech (Waltz et al., 1991).

Interviews were transcribed and proof read. Coding categories associated with the manifest content (Kondracki et al., 2002) were dened through analysing a preliminary selection of interview segments and by developing a coding dictionary in an iterative fashion[2]; testing and revising the data until no new categories emerged. All text was coded into mutually exclusive categories. Examples of the categories are given in Table I. Interviews were content analysed by measuring the quantity of text associated with each category by using the Microsoft Word word count function. Some categories were combined for the analyses to be in keeping with those offered by Hersey et al. (2001). Investigative statistical analyses were undertaken (Weber, 1990) to compare differences in interview prole and content over follower readiness levels. Finally, more detailed qualitative micro-analysis was undertaken over one interview. Results As is common practice, in order to allow cross-group comparisons, word counts are converted to percentages of total words spoken within the session (Weber, 1990). Table II displays these summary percentages over the supervisee groups. R1-level (novices) Hersey et al. (2001) suggest that R1-level supervisees will elicit a higher level of task speech behaviour from supervisors (who are predicted to adopt a telling style). This will include instructing and controlling behaviour. The R1 staff member did elicit

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Category Role play Formulate Empathise Instruct Explain Provide factual information about therapy

Denition Real time rehearsal, supervisee involved Link speech or behaviour in therapy to a global model of clients problem development or maintenance Use of expression which confers understanding of the others situation (e.g. that must have been really difcult) Instructions of how to do implement techniques Explanation of the reasons why something is done; the usual process; didactic education Report case material without interpretation; the content of therapy

Table I. Illustrative raw coding categories and denitions

Novice therapist (R1; N 1) Supervisor Supervisor Supervisor Supervisor Supervisor Supervisor Supervisor Supervisee speech (all categories) instruction control questioning of ability explanation positive feedback reassurance feedback requests 63.90 5.61 0 5.61 27.74 0 0 0

Training therapist (R2; N 4) 47.32 5.40 0.16 2.31 8.78 0.60 0.36 0

Qualied therapist (R3; N 3) 35.96 1.77 0.15 0.32 17.63 0.21 0.50 0.10

Table II. Percentage of selected supervisor and supervisee speech over follower category

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higher levels of instruction-related speech from supervisors. She received marginally more supervisor speech associated with instruction than R2 staff. However, our R1 therapist did not elicit the higher level of control-focused speech than R2s. Levels of this category of speech were low across the sample. In fact, our R1 did not receive any speech of this nature from their supervisor. R2-level (trainees) R2 supervisees should receive a greater degree of questioning from their supervisor than R1 staff, in order to establish their ability level. Additionally, the SL model predicts that R2 staff will receive higher levels of explanation from supervisors than R1 staff (Hersey et al., 2001). In fact, R2-level staff did not elicit higher levels of questioning from supervisors to establish their level of ability. Rather, our R1 participant received the highest proportion of this questioning. Similarly, supervision of these individuals did not include greater levels of supervisor explanation. R1 supervision contained the greater amount of supervisor explanation, with R2 staff receiving the least. R3-level (qualied staff) According to the model, R3 level staff will receive higher levels of positive feedback and reassurance (with their supervisors using an encouraging style), as well as lower levels of instruction and explanation than that observed for R2 staff. These staff should make more requests for feedback, the additional responsibility involved in the R2 to R3 transition resulting in increased insecurity (Hersey et al., 2001). We found that the supervision of R3 staff did not contain higher levels of more general positive feedback than for R2 participants. Levels of reassurance from supervisors were relatively low across all groups. However, a higher percentage of reassurance was directed towards R3 staff than for R2s. The supervision of qualied staff contained the lowest level of instruction and explanatory speech, and whilst feedback requests from all staff were minimal, R3s did request more feedback than R2 staff. Whilst the small sample size negates statistical analysis of the magnitude of effects over follower groups, it is possible to determine whether the vectors of these outcomes are statistically supported. To establish whether leadership style is matched to the followers readiness level, it was determined whether the nine model predictions noted above were supported or not by the data. Predictions are associated with: R1 instruction and controlling/limiting behaviours; R2 questioning and explanation behaviours; R3 encouragement, reassurance, instruction, explanation and reassurance requesting behaviours. Of the nine predictions, the data has supported only four of them. This result is not signicant and thus, the direction of these differences between follower groups in speech content might be attributable to chance alone (Binomial test, N 9, NS). The ratio of supervisor to supervisee speech is predicted to reduce as the followers developmental level rises, leadership style evolving from S1 instructing (dominance of supervisor role), S2 explaining (two-way dialogue), through to S3 (follower-led content; Hersey et al., 2001). We found that the supervision of R1 staff contained the highest ratio of supervisor to supervisee speech than the supervision for R2s. R2 staffs supervision, in turn, contained a higher ratio of supervisor to supervisee speech than that for R3s. As such, a trend is visually evident from the data and differences between groups were found at an a-level of 10 per cent (Jonckheere-Terpstra Trend test; J 4, z 21.51, p 0.89). This level of signicance is suggestive of a true effect (Curran-Everitt and Benos, 2004).

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Thus, the SL model appears to have some merit in that, in terms of the ratio of supervisor to supervisee speech, the expert supervisor appears to become less dominant within supervision as follower maturity increases. However, results associated specic speech behaviours and readiness level appear not to be signicant. To explore this latter nding further, a novel and more detailed level of analysis was undertaken. A micro-level approach was adopted which consisted of examining predominant speech categories which occurred over time within the course of a single supervision session (the supervisee is R3-level and was previously included in the main analyses). Micro-level analysis Categories of speech associated with one supervision session are distilled and temporally displayed within Table III according to numbered turns in speaking which occurred between the supervisor and supervisee (speech turns; see [3] of construction). Within the 268 turns that took place within that meeting, from turns one to 49, the supervisor appears to be primarily concerned with the dening the agenda for the session. Over turns 58-77 the supervisor obtains more detailed information associated with the supervisees clinical intent, to allow more detailed diagnosis of need and agenda-setting to take place. Over turns 82-245 the supervisor employs a variety of educational strategies including the provision of instruction, explanation, demonstration, and use of feedback and questioning; as well as methods of supporting the supervisee emotionally (such as the giving of reassurance). These are behavioural indicators which, according to Hersey et al. (2001), suggest that a variety of leadership styles (ranging from S1 to S3) are being employed within the session. Alternatively, an implication is that their leadership categories are too limited to capture the variety of activity which occurs in order to meet supervisee need in this context. In sum, the expert supervisor appears to employ, in a responsive fashion within the session, a variety of cross-quadrant leadership behaviours in response to a variety of supervisee demands. In the latter part of the session (turns 250-267) the supervisor closes the meeting down by requesting feedback regarding the supervision, checking out whether learning needs have been met and also giving some consideration to the agenda for the next session. Discussion Hersey and Blanchards (1969; Hersey et al., 2001) SL model has received relatively little empirical analysis or support. In previous evaluations, difculties exist in terms of measurement, control and design. The aim of this study was to investigate the validity and utility of SL, whilst partially overcoming these methodological issues through use of: analysis of speech content (behaviour), reasoned allocation of participants to readiness levels, and a controlled evaluative context. A content analysis approach was adopted to investigate the model, this approach previously being novel to this context. Whilst studies with a qualitative component are relatively rare in leadership research, they have offered important contributions to the eld of leadership (Bryman, 2004a; Conger, 1998). Additionally, it is desirable that a variety of appropriate research methods are deployed within a eld, to increase the certainty associated with common ndings. The present ndings offer limited support for the SL model. As predicted by the model, an increasing proportion of supervisee speech is contained in the supervision

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Table III. Summary content of interview (no. 2) over the entire session
18 to 23: Request case information, set agenda, question to provoke insight, summarise 29 to 37: Assess needs, agenda set, affirm supervision limits, summarise 41 to 49: Assess needs, agenda set, affirm supervision limits, summarise 58 to 59: Request therapist intent, summarise 72 to 77: Request therapist intent, agenda set, summarise 82 to 96: Request for clarification and case process data, demonstrate, reflect, instruct, express insight, question to establish knowledge/ability, summarise, provide positive feedback (S1, S3) 22 to 26: Provide case material (information and process) 35 to 40: Assess needs, set agenda, 60 to 71: Provide therapist intent, provide case material (information), report on technique use, case formulate (continued)

Supervisor

Content over turns 10 to 11[3]: request case information, set agenda

Session progress (start)

Supervisee

Content over turns 1 to 16: Provide case material (information and process), request information and technical guidance, report mistake, express doubt/uncertainty

Supervisor

100 to 118: Request for case process data, explain, instruct, question to provoke insight, case formulate, provide praise (S1, S2, S3)

127 to 134: Explain, instruct, question to provoke insight, reassure (S1, S2, S3)

144 to 212: Request technique data, assess needs, redirect conversation, explain, demonstrate, reflect, instruct, question to provoke insight, theorise, summarise, provide positive feedback (S1, S2, S3) Session progress (end) 135 to 142: Provide therapist intent, provide case material (information and process), disclose area of weakness 163 to165: Provide case material (process), theorise 211 to 228: Pinpoint technique- and outcome-related goals, request technical guidance, self-reflection, theorise, provide positive supervision feedback, express doubt/uncertainty 246 to 247: Self-reflect, provide positive supervision feedback 253 to 268 (end): Pinpoint technique-related and self-development goals, assess needs, request technical guidance, provide positive supervision feedback, express appreciation, express doubt/uncertainty

220 to 221: Question to provoke insight, summarise

229 to 245: Request supervision feedback, affirm supervision limits, explain, instruct, summarise, direct towards reading (S1, S2) 250 to 267: Request for clarification and supervision feedback, question to establish knowledge/ability, provide positive feedback, assess needs, set agenda (next session), summarise (S1, S2, S3)

Supervisee

117 to 126: Provide case material (information), express insight, disclose area of weakness

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Table III.

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of followers of higher readiness level. However, the majority of the specic predictions arising from the model associated with behavioural indicators (as well as other model-related predictions) were not met. Whilst R1-level therapists elicited higher levels of instruction from supervisors, the supervision did not contain the supervisor control behaviours which are associated with aspects of closer supervision. R2 therapists supervision did not contain the higher levels of explanation and questioning predicted by the model. Similarly, whilst R3 therapists requested more feedback from supervisors, they did not appear to receive an increased proportion of feedback within their supervision in comparison to R2s. However, R3 staff did receive predicted higher levels of reassurance and lower levels of instructional/explanatory supervisory speech. These ndings are in keeping with some extant ndings. For instance, they indicate that the model has some validity on a broader level, in that expert supervisors do tend to be less active within therapy with increasingly experienced supervisees. These results echo those of Silverthorne (2000) and Silverthorne and Wang (2001), who similarly noted broader ndings in regard to successful leadership and an adaptive style. However, more specic predictions associated with the model appear not to have been consistently supported in previous studies. A small cluster of studies have noted greater predictive value of the model with low-readiness groups (Vecchio, 1987; Cairns et al., 1998). Our studys results offer partial support for its utility for this group. Of interest are ndings which offer insight to an area which is debated. The SL model predicts a reduction of condence and motivation as followers progress from R2 to R3. This has been theoretically challenged (Graeff, 1983, 1997). However, our data offer support to this aspect of the model, R3 supervisees requesting greater levels of feedback (including reassurance) than other participants, and also receiving greater levels of reassurance from their supervisors. These ndings might be interpreted as being symptomatic of a reduction in condence. Indeed, the transition from training therapist to qualied staff member involves signicantly increased levels of responsibility. Our results highlight evaluation issues and areas for possible further model renement. An area of ambiguity is the models level of application. Hersey and Blanchards (1969) original description of the model entitled it as a life cycle theory. Using human development as an analogy, it described followers maturing gradually over time. It implied that individuals follow a single pathway of development associated with maturing within a job. The authors have since allocated less specicity to this aspect of the model: Situational leadership is based on [. . .] the readiness level that the followers exhibit in performing a specic task, function, or objective (Hersey et al., 2001, p. 172). This latter denition implies that individuals might have multiple tracks of maturity associated with different job sub-components. By way of illustration, see the example listed in Table IV. On the macro-level, this exemplar job is categorised as research psychologist. It might encompass several exo-level objectives and, in turn, each objective might have several functions. For instance, for the objective listed, these might include provision of research supervision, specic areas of expert support and the running departmental workshops (e.g. writing for publication). A micro-level task associated with one such function might be provision of expertise in the analysis of data. Clarication of the level of action of the model is essential for its evaluation. For instance, this and previous evaluations appear to dene readiness according to a macro-level distinction (e.g. how long a person has

been in their post). However, whilst R3/4 level employees may have many transferable competencies, the taking on of new work objectives may necessitate S1/2 levels of supervision. This classicatory model for levels of job specication also highlights an alternative hypothesis or area for further study. A micro-level focus for supervision may be appropriate for R1 level staff but as they develop, supervision may broaden to encompass a greater proportion of meso- and exo-level material rather than become more relationship-focused (at S2/S3). This might explain why research data tends to offer more support over the R1/S1 dyad: micro-level task supervision inevitably involving more instruction. This would also explain why a broader level of leader adaptability has been found to be successful (Silverthorne, 2000; Silverthorne and Wang, 2001). Similarly, this might account for the variety of leadership styles found in our micro-level of analysis, the interview participant being a R3 therapist who would, according to this alternative hypothesis, be receiving supervision over a variety of these job specicity levels, in a responsive fashion according to need. An additional issue is the models neglect of other follower characteristics, such as personality. In specic contexts, this has been linked to increased performance (e.g. extroversion in sales and managerial jobs; Barrick and Mount, 1991). Also, whilst the impact of follower personality upon leadership effectiveness is a topic which has been largely neglected, some work suggests that it is a signicant factor. For instance, Kandalla and Krishman (2004) observed that the personality factor openness to experience enhanced transformational leadership, perhaps by encouraging leaders to demonstrate more transformational behaviours. As such, some stable, confounding factors could explain why within certain professions (which may attract individuals with specic personality features or learning preferences), specic resonant leadership styles are preferred, regardless of the followers readiness level (Butler and Reese, 1989; Goodson et al., 1989). This study contains several methodological limitations. The modest sample size inhibited the use of statistical analysis and connes the degree of generalisation to other samples. The inclusion of only one R1 participant and no R4 therapists within the sample limited the studys scope. Additionally, supervisors were supervising their followers in the implementation of various therapy approaches. It is possible that these differing approaches involved supervision which necessitated a menu of different supervisory behaviours, a demand characteristic that may have biased our ndings. Finally, a self-selection bias may have arisen, through the use of supervisee volunteers. In sum, bearing these weaknesses in mind, we believe that the present study should be viewed as exploratory, raising some signicant issues

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Level Macro-level Exo-level Meso-level Micro-level

Label Job Objective Function Task

Example Research psychologist attached to a clinical psychology team To enable all clinical psychologists to become research-active Provision of research supervision Statistical analysis of specic data

Table IV. Level of job specication with associated example

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about the validity of the SL model. It is also hopefully illustrative, as it shows how a new methodology can be introduced into the eld. Our study has investigated Hersey and Blanchards (1969; Hersey et al., 2001) SL model and found limited support for broader associated principles, but more specic predictions arising from the model and its behavioural indicators were not generally upheld. These results are important in that they share similarities with results obtained by others through use of a questionnaire approach. This synchrony over differing methodologies adds robustness to these common ndings. Issues associated with the model have been highlighted, as well as areas in need of further exploration. These results draw into question the extent of the utility of the SL model, which is particularly important given the huge resources that are invested in its use.
Notes 1. A variant of the model was proposed by Blanchard (1985; SLII), where some concepts are re-labelled and adjustment is made to the parameters of the rst three stages of follower development. 2. Coding dictionary available from the rst author. 3. Speech turns 1-268: a speech turn consists of a word or series of words spoken continuously by one person. These are interchanged between speakers and make up conversation. This summary content table is calculated from the raw data by examining clusters of turns. Blocks of 50 or more words which are separated by two turns or less are included in one cell of the Table III. This sampling process is a means of, for summary/clarity purposes, allowing data associated with only larger sections of speech to be included, which form the principle focus of discussion.

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Situational leadership

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JMD 28,7

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