Case 7.1 – Three Shifts, Three Supervisors
This case study will examine how the path-goal theory can be applied in the context of a manufacturing company trying to maximize the efficiency of three distinct shifts. The “Summary” section of this paper will give a brief overview of the case, while the “Case Questions” will examine and analyze the three supervisors, one for each shift, using the path-goal theory. Finally, the “Conclusion” will highlight and review the major point of this study.
Brako, a small manufacturing company, operates in three shifts. Art supervises the first shift, in which job tasks are straightforward and repetitive. Bob supervises the second shift, in which job tasks are often complex and have unclear procedures. Finally, Carol supervises the third shift; this shifts’ tasks are not described, but we are told that the company has experienced problems when trying to rotate Carol’s subordinates to other shifts. We are told that people feel that Carol is an effective leader, but are led to believe that may not be the case with Art or Bob. I will review why this is the case in the questions below.
1. Based on the principles of path-goal theory, describe why Art and Bob appear to be less effective than Carol.
Path-goal theory recommends that leaders change their leadership approach based on the characteristics of the subordinates and the task being done. Subordinate satisfaction and performance are increased when leaders tailor their actions to fit the specific characteristics of their subordinates and the situation. Carol is considered such an effective leader because she utilizes all four leadership behaviors of the path-goal theory to help subordinates do their jobs more effectively: she takes a directive approach when she shows employees how to perform a particular task that they were unable to previously perform, she uses an achievement-oriented style to reassure...