Subordinate Perceptions of Contingent Leaders: Do Followers Accept our Theories,
MONTANA STATE COLL BOZEMAN ENGINEERING EXPERIMENT STATION
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Two studies were conducted to investigate assumptions made by contingent leadership theorists about subordinates. Paper-and-pencil instruments provided situations in which a leader followed or failed to follow the prescription of Vrooms contingency theory. Subjects were asked to take the role of subordinate, evaluate the decision-making process, offer prognosis about the outcomes, and assess the leader. Three groups of subjects were identified by their responses. Only one of the three groups accepted the leader when she acted according to the prescription of contingency theory. The groups were differentiated by characteristics such as income, occupational prestige, and number of subordinates. The findings suggest that individuals, while acting as subordinates, may fail to accept the prescription of contingency theory.