Hersery and Blanchard Situational Theory Presentation
Hersery and Blanchard Situational Theory (or Model), developed by Paul Hersery and Kenneth Blanchard and published in the book of both “Management of Organization”, is a leadership situational theory based on the idea that the most effective leadership style varies according to the subordinates maturity and according to the situation characteristics.
The authors of the model defend that an effective leader is the one who can identify and correctly diagnose the situation and the maturity level of its subordinates, subsequently adopting the most adequate leadership style. One of the key concepts of this theory is, this way, the subordinates’ maturity level referent to their tasks performance (including the desire of personal fulfillment, their willingness to accept responsibilities and their capacity/ability to perform a task).
According to the model, there are four leadership styles that suit four phases of the subordinates’ maturity. As the subordinates achieve higher maturity levels, the leader should answer with a control reduction over people and tasks and with a behavior reduction of people’s relation/guidance. It’s presented in the chart below the leadership styles proposed by the model and its relation with the subordinates’ maturity phases.
|Command (telling): high guidance for tasks and reduced guidance for people; the leader defines the functions and tells the people which are the tasks and when, how and where should be performed and watches closely their actions. The leaders’ behavior is strongly directive (or of command).
|M1: Subordinates are new in the task and aren’t prepared nor with desire to take decisions. Don’t have competence for the tasks’ achievement and, for that, little self confidence.
|Guidance (selling): high guidance for tasks and reduced guidance for people; the leader explains his decisions and gives the opportunity to the subordinates to specify some details. The leaders’ behavior continues directive but more supportive.
|M2: Subordinates have already developed some experience in the performance of the task but still have difficulties. Usually are motivated but need support.
|Support (participating): reduced guidance for tasks and high guidance for people. The leader shares ad takes the subordinates to participate in the decision taking. The main role of the leader is of facilitator and communicator.
|M3: Subordinates already have high knowledge and experience about the task but feel discouraged to perform what the leader requests.
|Delegation (delegating): reduced guidance for tasks and high guidance for people. The leader delegates responsibility in the subordinates either for the decision taking either for implementation.
|M4: Subordinates have vast knowledge about the tasks and are highly motivated to do what is requested.