The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan conducted empirical studies to identify styles of leader behavior that results in higher performance and satisfaction of a group.
The Institute for Social Research
at the University of Michigan conducted empirical studies to identify styles of
leader behavior that results in higher performance and satisfaction of a group.
The studies identified two distinct styles of leadership.
Employee Centred leadership and Production Centred (task oriented) leadership:
The employee centred leaders
concentrate on human relations and emphasize delegation of authority, concern
for employee needs, welfare, advancement, etc. Leaders who are described as
employee oriented stress the relationship aspects of the job. They feel that
every employee is important and take interest in everyone, accepting their
individuality and personal needs. Production centred leadership is more
concerned with maximizing regardless of the employees needs, welfare and
aspirations. Managers don’t attach much importance to the human element.
The Michigen Studies found that
both the styles of leadership led to increase in production, but it was
slightly more in case of production centred style. However, the use of direct
pressure and close supervision led to decreased satisfaction and increased
turnover and absenteeism. The employee centred approach led to improved work
flow and more cohesion in interactions resulting in increased satisfaction and
decreased turnover and absenteeism. This suggested the superiority of the employee
centred leadership style over the production centred style.
Evaluation of Michigan Studies
The value of Michigan studies
lies in the analysis of two leadership styles, task and employee oriented
leadership. Instead of restricting to traits of leaders, they concentrated on
the behavior of leaders. These studies are criticized on the following grounds:
The Michigan studies failed to
suggest whether leader behavior is a cause or effect. They did not clarify
whether the employee centred leadership makes the group productive or whether
the highly productive group induces the leader to be employee centred.
The Michigan Studies did not
consider the nature of the subordinates’ tasks or their personal
characteristics. Group characteristics and other situational variables were
The behavioural styles suggested
by Michigan Studies have been termed as static. A leader is supposed to follow
either of the two styles, viz., task orientation and employee orientation. But
in practice, a particular style may succeed in one situation and fail in
another. Moreover, leaders don’t restrict themselves to a particular style. They adopt both the orientations in varying degrees to suit the
Tags : Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Leadership
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