PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology
Chapter 7: Leadership
Robert R. Blake and Jane Srygley Mouton (1969)
A framework for examining types of leadership. The grid helps in identifying on array of possible leader behaviours. Blake and Mouton described the two basic dimensions of leadership as Concern for production and concern for people. The term concern for, as used in the grid, is a theoretical variable reflecting basic attitudes or styles of control. It does not reflect actual production or effectiveness. The horizontal axis of the management grid represents concern for production and the vertical axis represents concern for mature and healthy relations among those engaged in production. Each axis is on a 1 to 9 point scale, with 1 representing a minimum interest or concern and 9 a maximum concern.
While they consider the “team management” style of leadership to be ideal, they recognize that it may be difficult to implement in some work situations. High quality managers have great concern for both people and production. They work to motivate employee to reach their highest levels of accomplishment.
Fig.: Managerial Grid
• Country Club Style
High People : Low Task
Here the leader has a high concern for and usually involvement with people, but a low concern for the task. There is usually an overly friendly relationship between the leader and the led group. So although leaders like this appear to care about their people and want to create a comfortable and friendly environment, this style is often not good for creating producing results. People feel good and happy, but the task lacks priority. Ironically the group suffers ultimately because they fail to achieve. The style is common among leaders who are afraid of upsetting people, and/or who fear rejection and being disliked.
• Impoverished Style
Low People : Low Task
Here the leader has both a low concern for people and a low concern for the task. You may ask who would adopt this approach because it is obviously doomed to fail. The answer typically is ‘leaders’ who care mainly about themselves and are afraid of making mistakes. Not surprisingly, Blake and Mouton said this is the least effective approach to leadership.
• Middle-of-the-Road Style
Mid People : Mid Task
This is essentially ineffectual compromise. There is some concern for the task and, equally, some concern for people, but we might also say there is not enough of either. Leaders adopting this behavioural approach try to address the needs of the task and their followers to some extent, but do so without conviction, skill or insight and therefore reduce their effectiveness. Leadership generally requires a good degree of natural authority and decisiveness, so a style which lacks these aspects has much room for improvement.
• Produce or Perish Style
Low People : High Task
Here we see a high focus on the task with little or no concern for people. This style is often referred to as autocratic. Leaders using this style seek to control and dominate others. A leader like will commonly take the view that staff should be grateful to be employed and paid a salary. Motivation is often attempted through a threat of punishment, such as being sacked. This is a dictatorial style. In extreme cases it would be rightly regarded as ruthless. Sadly it can be effective in the short term, and interestingly, where a group is failing to react suitably to a serious crisis then it may actually be a viable style for a short period, but the approach is not sustainable, especially where followers have the option to walk away.
• Team Style
High People : High Task
This style combines a high concern for and involvement in the group with a strong well-organized and communicated focus on achieving the task. Blake and Mouton saw this as the ideal behavioural approach. Leaders who behave like this manage to blend concern for both people and organizational aims by using a collaborative teamwork approach, and plenty of consultation enabling the development of a shared (not imposed) motivation to achieving the organization’s goals. This style normally requires that followers/the group are suitably mature and skilled for a high level of involvement. The style is difficult to use, and may be inadvisable, when leading inexperienced people to produce challenging and vital results in a new or strange area.