The Contingency Model: Some Implications of Its Statistical and Methodological Properties
ARMY MEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT KNOX KY
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The statistical and methodological adequacy of several aspects of Fiedlers 1967 contingency model of leadership effectiveness is considered. It is suggested that the use of rank order correlations, instead of product moment correlations, produces distortions related to sample size. LPC least preferred coworker is shown to be a reasonable predictor of group performance. But the model implies that LPC is unrelated to group performance under some conditions of situational favorableness. Problems with a multidimensional interpretation of LPC and a unidimensional interpretation of situational favorableness are discussed. Problems of research strategies used to test and validate the model are considered in terms of sample size, inclusion of non-significant results, the difficulty involved in adequately testing higher order interactions, and the inability to make between-octant comparisons. It was concluded that the model is capable of directing meaningful research as long as traditional research procedures designed to safeguard internal and external validity are carefully exercised.