Document Type

Teacher Resource

Publication Date

Fall 2019


Contingency Theory was developed in 1958, which paved the way for further contingency theories and models such as Situational Leadership. The Contingency Theory was first developed by Fred Fiedler in a research study analyzing the effectiveness of leaders in the military. Contingency Theory supposed that the success of leaders was dependent upon their control of the situation. As leadership studies progressed, the Situational Approach to leadership slowly developed in the late 1960s off the basis of the Contingency Theory. In 1969, psychologists Blanchard and Hersey published their book, “Management of Organizational Behavior”, in which they described the Life Cycle Theory of Leadership, which was an early form of situational leadership theory. One way the Contingency Theory progressed was when theorists found that rather than the situation always determining the efficiency of a leader, leaders were also capable of changing themselves to fit a situation, which became the start of Situational Leadership and also divided the two theories. These studies focused mainly around the workplace environment and managerial aspects of leadership.



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