Ohio State Leadership Studies

PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology

Chapter 7: Leadership

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4


Ohio State Leadership Studies (1940’s to 1960’s)

The leadership studies initiated by the Bureau of Research at Ohio State University in 1950s (by Hemphill, Fleishman, Stogdill, Shartle and Pepinsky) attempted to identify various dimensions of leaders’ behaviour. It was found that two independent underlying factors were most important in explaining the responses of followers: 

  1. Initiating structure: Behaviour that managers engage in to ensure that work gets done, subordinates perform their jobs acceptably, and the organization is efficient and effective. Initiating Structure may be defined as behaviours by means of which the leader defines or facilitates group interaction toward goal attainment. The leader does this by planning, scheduling, criticizing, initiating ideas, organizing the work, defining member roles, assigning tasks, and pushing for production.
  2. Consideration behaviour: Consideration may be defined as behaviours by means of which the leader establishes rapport with his or her employees, two-way communication, mutual respect, and understanding. It includes behaviour indicating trust and warmth between the supervisor and his or her group and emphasizes concern for group members’ needs. It is similar in many respects to the traditional belief of human relations in the work setting.

These variables were identified as a result of a series of investigations that attempted to determine, through factor-analytic procedures, the smallest number of dimensions that adequately describe leader behaviour as perceived by the leader and his subordinates. A matrix was created that showed the various combinations and qualities of the elements. 

Fig.: The Ohio State Leadership Quadrants

On the basis of dimensions, four leadership styles have been identified namely:

  1. Low structure – Low consideration
  2. Low structure – High consideration
  3. High structure – High consideration
  4. High structure – Low consideration

So, high structure – high consideration style of leadership has been found to be most effective.

Author – Dr. Niyati Garg

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