The Ohio State Studies on Leadership
The Ohio State Studies on Leadership is one of the behavioral theories of leadership. A group of researchers at Ohio State University conducted an extensive study of leadership behavior and effectiveness. The basic purpose of this study was to identify the independent dimensions of leader behavior and to determine the effect of these dimensions on work performance and satisfaction.
After the Ohio State Studies, they found the two dimensions of a leader’s behavior, initiating structure and consideration.
Initiating structure refers to the extent to which a leader is likely to set goals, define and structure his or her roles, define and organize the task which his followers have to do, specifies work relationships and instructions, and regulates the performance of his group members. Leaders scoring high initiating structure could achieve high productivity or performance.
Consideration is defined as the extent to which the leader has a supportive work relationship characterized by warmth and mutual trust, good relations, and respect for feelings, ideas, and suggestions of group members. There is a strong concern for follower’s comfort, well-being, status, and satisfaction. The leader is friendly, approachable, and treats subordinates fairly.
These two leadership dimensions can also be represented in the following diagram:
Describing the above diagram:
- 1 – Leaders retreats to a generally passive role of allowing the situation to take care of itself.
- 2 – Leader strives to promote group harmony and social needs satisfaction.
- 3 – The leader strives to achieve a productive balance between getting the job done and maintains a cohesive friendly workgroup.
- 4 – Leader devotes primary attention to getting the job done. And, personal concerns are strictly secondary.
The Ohio State Studies two leadership orientations are independent of each other. That is, a leader may be high in both, high in one while low on other or low on both. However, the studies concluded that the combination of high consideration and initiating structure in leader behavior were likely to result in high productivity and satisfaction at the same time.