There are not very many chapters where I disagree with Professor Northouse, but this is one of those where I vigorously diverge from his approach. A much better examination of Situational Leadership can be achieved by reviewing Fred Fiedler’s work, but I guess that will have to wait for a different venue. Let’s focus on what he does have to say in his take on the Situational Approach.
Early on in this chapter he introduces the important issues of Leadership Styles.
To what extent do you perceive a difference between this and the Behavioral Approach from chapter 4?
Professor Northouse explicates the Development Levels, and this offers an important change of focus from the leader to the follower. Specifically, the Development Levels examines their competence and their commitment.
How adequately does this two-factor theory of Development Levels address the complexities of the real world? Hint: the crew of the Titanic was highly competent (the Titanic was, after all the flagship of the White Star Line, so only the best sailors manned her) and the crew were highly committed to not drowning in the icy North Atlantic. To paraphrase Professor Northouse’s words: “They had the skills to do the job and the motivation to get it done.”
My greatest criticism of the Situational Leadership® II rests with that Registered Trademark symbol. The fine print in the book warns you that “This model cannot be used without the expressed, written consent of The Ken Blanchard Companies.” That may have something to do with why we read the first criticism: “…is that only a few research studies have been conducted to justify the assumptions and propositions set forth by the approach.”