ERIC Number: ED203390
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Life Cycle Leadership Theory vs. Theory on the Phases of Small Group Discussion: Comparisons, Contrasts, and Examples.
Preston, Charles Thomas, Jr.
The work of Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard on life-cycle leadership was compared and contrasted to three studies on group phase theories. The studies on group phases were conducted by Robert Bales and Fred Strodtbeck in 1951, Thomas Scheidel and Laura Crowell in 1964, and B. Aubrey Fisher in 1970. The two theoretical approaches were found to have many dissimilarities. First, life-cycle theory is directed more at business and academic leaders, who may be leaders of groups too large to be considered "small," while the three phase studies were directed at specific small groups. Second, two of the phase studies were directed solely at task performance, while life-cycle theory rests on the trade-off between task and interpersonal relationship functions of leaders. Third, the three small group studies are not as specifically related to leaders, as is the life-cycle theory. Finally, life-cycle theory rests upon the important concept of increasing maturity of group members, while group theories have not taken maturity into account. Despite these contrasts, the two theoretical approaches have some similarities, especially when their four stages of development are compared. The shift from task orientation to greater emphasis on interpersonal relations in life-cycle leadership theory corresponds with phases of group decision making, which include understanding the task, the evaluative stages in which members moderate conflicting views, and final group consensus. (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Speech Communication Association (Austin, TX, April 7-10, 1981).