MGMT623 Leadership & Team Management Assignment 1 Solution Spring 2014

The food and Drug Administration of the 1980s was a shell of an agency, with too few inspectors and too slim budget. Without a clear sense of direction, the agency moved slowly to prosecute lawbreakers, to seize contaminated drugs and foods and to evaluate new drugs.  Contrast that slow performance to the FDA of the 1990s, which has moved decisively to crack down on fraud and to force more accurate labeling of foods. This change is the hard work of Dr. David Kessler, a pediatrician and law school graduate who has used his leadership skills to put teeth into the paper tiger.

Dr. Kessler took office as FDA commissioner in December 1990, and he immediately established priorities for agency managers and employees by announcing his intentions to vigorously enforce compliance with the Food, Drug and cosmetic Act. By clarifying this strategic goal and making his performance expectations explicit, the commissioner used an achievement-oriented leadership style to send a signal throughout the agency. In motivational terms, this public announcement of goals and expectations help agency member feel that commissioner had confidence in their abilities and their work would result in more effective enforcement. To keep the agency running smoothly on a day to day basis, Kessler decided to appoint five deputy commissioners to manage functions such as strategic planning and operations. Before, an FDA inspector’s report on contaminated food had to pass through 15 management levels before it reached the justice department. Today, the report passes through just 5 levels and 25 days to reach justice department.

Employees are skillful and experienced and Kessler’s willingness to delegate, gives his people plenty of opportunity to build their skills. His team-members are also achievement oriented having strong binding within the group. Under Kessler’s leadership, the FDA is now much more effective at policing food, drug and cosmetic safety.


According to above mentioned case, Kessler adopted achievement-oriented leadership style. Keeping in view the Path Goal Theory, what are the situational variables that have helped him to choose this leadership style? Explain your view with logical reasoning. (10 Marks) (Word limit: 150 to 200)

The Path-Goal Theory of Leadership was developed to describe the way that leaders encourage and support their followers in achieving the goals they have been set by making the path that they should take clear and easy.

In particular, leaders:

  • Clarify the path so subordinates know which way to go.
  • Remove roadblocks that are stopping them going there.
  • Increasing the rewards along the route.

Leaders can take a strong or limited approach in these. In clarifying the path, they may be directive or give vague hints. In removing roadblocks, they may scour the path or help the follower move the bigger blocks. In increasing rewards, they may give occasional encouragement or pave the way with gold.

This variation in approach will depend on the situation, including the follower’s capability and motivation, as well as the difficulty of the job and other contextual factors.

Achievement-oriented leadership

Setting challenging goals, both in work and in self-improvement (and often together). High standards are demonstrated and expected. The leader shows faith in the capabilities of the follower to succeed. This approach is best when the task is complex.

Setting challenging goals, both in work and in self-improvement (and often together). High standards are demonstrated and expected. The leader shows faith in the capabilities of the follower to succeed. This approach is best when the task is complex.

1. (b) Situational theory

The situational theory of leadership and the LEAD instruments for determining leadership style are explained, and the application of the situational leadership theory to the process of planning for and implementing organizational change is described. Early studies of leadership style identified two basic leadership styles: the task-oriented autocratic style and the relationship-oriented democratic style. Subsequent research found that most leaders exhibited one of four combinations of task and relationship behaviours. The situational leadership theory holds that the difference between the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of the four leadership styles is the appropriateness of the leader’s behaviour to the particular situation in which it is used. The task maturity of the individual or group being led must also be accounted for; follower readiness is defined in terms of the capacity to set high but attainable goals, willingness or ability to accept responsibility, and possession of the necessary education or experience for a specific task. A person’s leadership style, range, and adaptability can be determined from the LEAD self and LEAD other questionnaires. By applying the principles of the situational leadership theory and adapting their managerial styles to specific tasks and levels of follower maturity, the authors were successful in implementing 24-hour pharmacokinetic dosing services provided by staff pharmacists with little previous experience in clinical services. The situational leadership model enables a leader to identify a task, set goals, determine the task maturity of the individual or group, select an appropriate leadership style, and modify the style as change occurs. Pharmacy managers can use this model when implementing clinical pharmacy services.

1. (c) Behavioural theory

Logically, behavioural theory complements the flaws in trait theory because putting together what leader are naturally and what they do seem to pretty much encompass every dimensions of leadership. One important appeal of behavioural theory is that if we know what leaders do, then it is possible to teach people leadership. So in theory everyone is capable of become a leader if they learn leadership properly. Now, to discuss about what leaders do is quite a daunting task. Most of the books and journals we read on organisational learning, effective management which talks about listening, empowering, and inspiring people are on this subject. They are all by in large stylistically prescriptive while ignoring the situational aspect of leadership (Maurik 2001).