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Path Goal Theory Case Study

Info: 1465 words (6 pages) Nursing Case Study
Published: 12th Feb 2020

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Tagged: theory

In the path-theory preferring to “Jeanne Lewis case”, she used several behavior techniques to influence her staff. The staff behavior to the techniques will be explained in relation to path-goal theory. The “Jeanne Lewis Case”, will explain the aspects or relationship of staff behavior to characteristics of the path-goal theory. These techniques removed obstacles that interfered with goals accomplishment, provides and support needed by employees, and ties meaningful rewards to goal accomplishment.

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The Lewis case showed several leadership behaviors used to motivate her staff at Staples. One of the leadership behaviors displayed when she was hired in her first position as director of operations. Mrs. Lewis had to fix stores that were underperforming and needed to be turned around quickly. She made tough decisions in the beginning by replacing 25 store associates. She implemented a new team that set contentious store standards, training and strengthened performance. Mrs. Lewis managed with strong restraints in the beginning and then loosed up as things improved. Because of the success with this project, she was given more responsibility as director of sales. She was then later promoted to merchandising dept as vice president and divisional merchandising. She had to display leadership behavior has more one on one with the staff and challenged them to think outside the box. The buyer’s were very experience, but had gotten comfortable doing status quo and the department failed to grow. “They replaced over 75% of the product assortment and tripled direct product profitability.” Mrs. Lewis faced a challenge as she as promoted to senior vice president of retail marketing and small business. Mrs. Lewis conducted a different approach with her leadership behavior; she asked a lot of question and hung around the staff to learn from their knowledge. “She scheduled multiple meetings with each of her direct reports to make sure she understood their particular function and fit within the rest of the department.” She goes in and makes a series of observations from top to bottom to see how strong her management team is. Mrs. Lewis became more approachable, more positive and kept staff motivated. She started by trying to build relationship within the marketing department. Mrs. Lewis started to have bi-monthly meeting with her direct report staff. She found out that the group was less supportive and started conducting one on one meeting with the staff. When observing the small-business and retail marketing division, she saw a lack of leadership; but she observed that there are talented individuals in the wrong positions. In the advertising agency she meeting them informally asking questions to understand the how task are performed by this particular department. These are some of the leadership behaviors displayed by Jeanne Lewis in developing strategies in building a blue-print to get all departments on one page.

Mrs. Lewis leadership behavior related to many characteristics of the path-goal theory. She used directional leader behavior help guide staff regarding performance, goals, standards, and expectations. She has to clarify staff performance goal, providing guidance on how employees can complete task; clarifying performance standards and expectations; use of positive and negative rewards contingent on performance. This step was used when she was first job as director of operations. The department also developed standards with procedures and regulations; once task is accomplished the staff assumed more responsibility. When she was put in charge of this department, the stores were underperforming and needed results fast. She clarified her objections and managed very firm before loosing, providing guidance on how employee’s can complete task.

She also used path-goal theory leadership behavior of achievement-oriented behavior. When she took over the merchandise department she emphasized excellence. Lewis wanted the staff to look outside the box. They set challenging goals, seeking continuous improvement. The highest performance was expected and status quo was not accepted. Lewis saw that the buyers and venders lacked challenge and these are some of techniques used to motivate. Lewis also incorporated participating leadership behavior; this allowed participation by the staff by opening dialogue. She is attempting to bridge the relationship within the marketing department when promoted to senior vice president of small business & retail marketing; this allowed the staff to influence making decisions. Lewis solicited suggestions from each department and shared information in pursuing cooperation. The supportive leadership behavior was displayed when she more relaxed and an open door policy to discuss issues in the department. She stayed positive and very accessible to her staff. In the facilitating leadership behavior she scheduled bi-monthly meeting with the departments to gather assistance and feedback from staff. She would also hang around her staff and ask questions to learn from their experience. Lewis displayed valued based behaviors that established a vision, displaying passion for it and supporting its accomplishment. She also demonstrates self-confidence, communicating high performance expectations, and confidence in staff abilities to meet their goals. When she took over the marketing, it was already a solid department, just wanted make it more efficient and share info between divisions. These are some of Lewis’s leadership behaviors related to the path-goal theory

The staff or employees respond to Mrs. Lewis leadership styles in several different ways. The staff lacked self-confidence and Mrs. Lewis would use supportive leadership. When she took over the marketing department, she was more supportive and had an open door policy. The staff really liked she was approachable and concerned about there well-being. In the past she upset employees, but she had to change leadership style and keep a positive attitude. Incorrect rewards, was a response by the staff when Mrs. Lewis held group meetings. It seemed as though there was a lack of responsibility, so one on one accomplished results. She was able to clarify the staff needs in completing their task. Lewis participated in the decision making with the employees and also solicitate suggestions, the employees liked that she asked a lot of question and really valued their input. When Mrs. Lewis first took her first assignment, she was faced with the situation of having a staff ambiguous to their task. She had to focus on using directional leadership, in Mrs. Lewis first position as director of operations she had replace 25 store associates. “Her new team set aggressive store standards, launched training programs, and rejuvenated performance.” When using this method, it motivated the staff; it helped them reach goals of increasing profit and growing sales. The staff stated that she would micro-manage, but eventually loosen reigns. The staff identified this leadership structure as intense; Lewis worked really hard and motivated the staff.

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The staff would set goals high when dealing with achievement-oriented behavior. This was when Mrs. Lewis felt a lack of challenge by the staff. She pushed the staff and set challenging goals. Many found the dialogue was intense; workers assume more responsibility and seek continuous improvement. These are a few of the behavior response to Lewis’s leadership style.

The employee’s behavior that relates to the path-goal theory is very important. A staff will show increased confidence to achieve work outcome when they receive support from the leader. This motivates the employee and they feel as though obstacles are removes so their task can be complete. An impact on of staff dealing with clarification is directive behavior, When Lewis took on her first job with Staples, she had to make tough choices and implement discussion that would make get results. Some staff believed Lewis micro-managed, but she eased off as expectations were met. The goals were set high and she challenged every employee to assume more responsibility in the department. Mrs. Lewis was over the merchandising, she wanted the staff to think outside of the box. She used the achievement-oriented behaviors, staff set challenging goals and workers assumed more responsibility. The staff was able to be clarified needs and change rewards; Lewis participated and included them in decision making roles. When she was over the marketing department she asked staff many questions and wanted their advice. Lewis listen to concerns and made sure shared work problems.


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The objective for the development of a theory is to illustrate, define, or systematize knowledge in a professional field of study. Theory can be utilized in all facets of nursing and promotes the advancement of education, knowledge and care in the profession.

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