Expectancy and Path-Goal Theories

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Expectancy and Path-Goal Theories as Related to the Movie Hoosiers

Hoosiers is a movie about basketball in where a small town team hires a new coach to replace the previous one who passed away and the story of the coach leading and motivating the team to become state champions. In this paper, I will discuss how the coach led the team using the Path-Goal theory and then how the team was motivated through the expectancy theory.

“The essence of the (Path-Goal) theory is the meta proposition that leaders, to be effective, engage in behaviors that complement subordinates’ environments and abilities in a manner that compensates for deficiencies and is instrumental to subordinate satisfaction and individual and work unit performance (Robert House in Knowledge@Wharton 1/1/96).” He identifies three ways leaders can affect the performance, motivation, and satisfaction of a group: (1) Offering rewards for achieving performance goals, (2) Clarifying paths towards those goals, and (3) Removing obstacles to performance. He proposed four leadership styles to perform those based on the situation.

The first is directive leadership where “specific advice is given to the group and ground rules and structure are established. For example, clarifying expectations, specifying or assigning certain work tasks to be followed.” This style is most effective when used in ambiguous situations and most easily allows the leader to clarify the path to the reward. This was the most dominant form of leadership the coach took throughout the movie, especially in the first half because the team didn’t know what to expect or even what their goals were (ambiguous situation). The first scene he showed his authority in was when he first met the team and began talking to them about how it was a voluntary sport and two of the team members started talking to each other, ignoring the new coach. He told the kids that they need to leave practice and they, with their big egos, decided to quit...