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Fiedler’s Contingency Model: Organizational Model

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1.In what ways are the trait and behavior approaches to leadership similar? How does Fiedler’s contingency model differ from both? Even though these two approaches to leadership are very different in many ways, we have found that they are in fact very similar as well. We notice that the trait approach focuses on the leaders’ personal characteristics yet ignores the situation in which they try to lead. In a very similar way the behavior approach identifies the behaviors responsible for effective leadership without considering how the situation affects behavior. This has always been interesting to me because I do not understand how one trait can functional successfully without the other. I think a person’s personal characteristics and behavior affect their overall leadership style and the way they treat their employees. Fiedler’s contingency model actually focuses on the two most important things in leadership styles.

1. Why, in particular situations some leaders will become more effective than other leaders even though they have equal credentials, and 2. Why a particular leader may be effective in one situation but not in another. Like the trait approach, Fiedler’s theory acknowledged that personal characteristics influence the effectiveness of leaders and he was particularly interested in the styles of leadership, and how a person approaches being a leader. Basically Fiedler considers leadership styles to be relatively fixed or enduring. He stated that leaders cannot be “taught” to be relationship oriented or task oriented, nor can a leader alter his or her style according to the situation. Their managers must either change the situation to fit the leader or put the leader somewhere where they will be effective. (Objective 4.1)

2.What are the sources of organizational conflict? What are the main conflict resolution strategies? The sources of organizational conflict come from organizational politics. This is when one person or group attempts to influence the goals and decision making of an organization to advance its own interests- this usually comes at the expense of some other person or group. Basically the goal-directed behavior of one person or group blocks the goal-directed behavior of another person or group. The three main sources of organizational conflict are differentiation, task relationships, and scarcity of resources. The main conflict resolution strategies are negotiating and bargaining. They are very important means of managing and resolving conflict at both individual and group levels. Negotiating is a very important skill that a manager needs to cultivate. (Objective 4.3)

3.What is organizational learning, and how does it relate to decision making? Organizational learning is the process through which managers seek to increase organizational members’ desire and ability to make decisions that continuously raise organizational efficiency and effectiveness. There are two types of organizational learning that strategies that can be pursued to improve decision making. There is exploration and exploitation. Exploration involves organizational members searching for and experimenting with new kinds or forms of behaviors and procedures to increase effectiveness. Then there is exploitation which involves organizational members learning ways to refine and improve existing organizational behaviors and procedures to increase effectiveness. (Objective 4.5)

4.How have advances in technology in the last 15 years changed the ways that people communicate in an organization? Describe two valuable uses of information technology in organizations. The advances in technology over the last 15 years have significantly changed the ways that people communicate in an organization. When an organization is IT enables this structure allows for new kinds of tasks and job-reporting relationships among electronically connected people that are able to promote superior communication and coordination. There is knowledge management, which is the sharing and integrating of expertise within and between functional groups and divisions in real time. Newly IT enabled organizations can respond more quickly to changing conditions in the competitive environment.

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