Explain the Merits of the Path-Goal Model of Motivation by Contrasting It with Other Theories of Motivation.

Topics: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Motivation, Abraham Maslow Pages: 7 (2668 words) Published: December 14, 2012
Question: Explain the merits of the path-goal model of motivation by contrasting it with other theories of motivation.

The path-goal model of motivation refers to the works of Robert J House in 1971 and later revised in 1996. House theorized that leaders are directly responsible for motivating their subordinates, and ideally could motivate them towards achieving personal goals and ultimately the goals of the organisation. Motivation refers to the “cognitive decision-making process through which goal directed behaviour is initiated energized, directed and maintained.” (Huczynski & Buchanan, 2007) Robbins goes on to describe motivation as the “processes that account for an individual’s intensity, direction and persistence of effort towards attaining a goal.” (2010) Many have theorized about motivation because of positive correlations between employee motivation and productivity. This essay sets out to identify the value of the path goal model in practical terms and how the Path goal model supplements the limitations of other motivational theories. According to Robbins, Path Goal theory states that “it is the leader’s job to assist followers in attaining their goals and to provide the necessary direction and support to ensure that their goals are compatible with the overall objectives of the group/organisation”. (2010) A view derived from House who theorized that path goal theory is “concerned with how formally appointed superiors affect the motivation and satisfaction of subordinates” (1996) Brooks goes on to describe it as “a situational and transactional model of leadership as well as a theory of motivation.” (2006) Mawhinney and Ford stated that is “concerned with expectancies and utilities, or what a subordinate thinks prior to behaving.” (1977) As a motivational theory, the Path goal model hinges on leadership and a clear chain of command within the organisation, for example between a sales representative and their manager. House identified four leader behaviours which are motivational and would increase employee effort to the point that employee satisfaction is dependent on their performance, and provide the guidance required to attain these high levels of performance. (House 1996) they are: The Directive leader, who sets schedules, plans, clarifies policies and gives specific examples to subordinates or as house puts it; “providing psychological structure.”(1996) An example would be a teacher, reporting to their boss, who outlines syllabuses, lecture times and learning outcomes. The teachers work in line with these recommendations towards the goals of the school, knowing exactly how much their effort will earn them extrinsically. The second identified is supportive leadership, where leaders “offer friendly consideration” (Brooks, 2006)Take Forever Living Products, a cosmetics and pharmaceuticals based producer and retailer, founded thirty years ago by Rex Maughan. Forever Living utilize a unique distribution method for their products, in that anyone, literally anyone can become a dealer in their products and make their way up to a position of leadership. They have grown into a workforce of 9 million distributors active in 145 countries. New retailers will be assigned to managers mostly likely by region who gives them orientation and helps them set up their individual business. Distributors are entirely in control of their hours, and how they work, they only have to answer to the immediate authority who provides guidance. Many of their distributors are happy consumers of the products themselves. A brand new retailer to the company, will be assigned to manager most likely by region, managers recruit and mentor these distributors and get them accustomed to the business. The organisation expands via network; distributors market not only the goods but the job to others and receive commission accordingly. Advancement stems from developing and recruiting a large enough network. Thirdly, participative leadership where...

Bibliography: 1. Huczynski A A & Buchanan D A, (2007), Organisational Behaviour, Prentice Hall Financial Times
2. Robbins S P, Judge T A & Campbell T T, (2010), Organizational Behaviour, Prentice Hall
3. Jelavic M & Ogilvie K, “Maslow and Management: Universally Applicable or Idiosyncratic?”,The Canadian Manager; Winter 2009, pp 16
4. Mawhinney T C & Ford J D, “The Path Goal Theory of Leader Effectiveness: An Operant Interpretation”, Academy of Management Review, July 1977, pp 398-411
5. House R J, “Path-Goal Theory of Leadership: Lessons, Legacy, and a Reformulated Theory”, Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 7 No. 3, 1996 pp 323- 352
6. Mullins L J, (2010), Management & Organisational Behaviour, Prentice Hall Financial Times
7. Brooks I, (2006), Organisational Behaviour: Individuals, Groups and Organisation, Prentice Hall Financial Times
8. Rollinson, Derek. 2005., Organisational Behaviour and Analysis. [online]. Pearson Education UK. Available from: accessed: 3 August 2011
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