July 28th, 2012 Fred Edward Fiedler
Fred Edward Fiedler (born 1922) was one of the leading scientists in Industrial and organizational psychology of the 20th century. Fiedler was business and management psychologist at the University of Washington. Fred Edward Fiedler helped this field move from the research on traits and personal characteristics of leaders, to leadership styles and behaviours. In 1967 Fred Fiedler introduced the contingency modeling of leadership, with the now-famous Fiedler contingency model.
To Fiedler, stress is a key determinant of leader effectiveness (Fiedler and Garcia 1987; Fiedler et al. 1994), and a distinction is made between stress related to the leader's superior, and stress related to subordinates or the situation itself. In stressful situations, leaders dwell on the stressful relations with others and cannot focus their intellectual abilities on the job. Thus, intelligence is more effective and used more often in stress-free situations. Fiedler has found that experience impairs performance in low-stress conditions but contributes to performance under high-stress conditions. As with other situational factors, for stressful situations Fiedler recommends altering or engineering the leadership situation to capitalize on the leader's strengths. Despite all the criticism, Fiedler's contingency theory is an important theory because it established a brand new perspective for the study of leadership. Many approaches after Fiedler's theory have adopted the contingency perspective.
Fred Fiedler's situational contingency theory holds that group effectiveness depends on an appropriate match between a leader's style (essentially a trait measure) and the demands of the situation. Fiedler considers situational control the extent to which a leader can determine what his or her group is going to do to be the primary contingency factor in determining the effectiveness of leader behavior.