Identify several factors that may serve as leadership substitutes and comment on how their substitution effect may occur.
According to the ‘substitutes for leadership’ theory by Steven Kerr and John M. Jermier in 1978, there are some factors that play as the substitute for leadership. These substitute for leadership cause to neutralize the leadership capacity and role that prevents the leader from taking any actions. There are many factors that can play as substitute to the leadership. There are situational or organisational factors that affect the leadership role. These factors include job design, job structure, and cohesive work group. The followers characteristic are other factors that substitute the leadership. These factors include the skills and abilities of the followers, the training provided to the followers and the previous experiences. The follower’s characteristic like the previous position which is in the high level of hierarchy or in control also affects the leadership role.
There is little motivation and control coming from the leader when the job design and the job structure are clear with given and accurate set of objectives. In such cases the leadership is substituted and there is less control.
The cohesion of the group and the team members also reduces the leadership control and substitute it. The team members do not have to follow the leadership to make sure they are on track because they are aligned in terms of their activities and preferences.
The leadership role is also neutralized or substituted when the leadership has no previous control on the workplace and it promoted to the new position without any real authority on the workplace. In such cases the followers are aware of the previous role of the leadership and their current circumstances, reducing the effect of their leadership control and place in the hierarchy.
The theory also covers factors of the subordinates that substitute the leadership role in the workplace. The factors discussed under the leadership- follower relationship and the control determine how the leadership occurs. According to the explanation provided by Steven Kerr and John M. Jermier the substitute to leadership can be anything that makes the leadership unnecessary for subordinates. Under such focus the leadership can be the Characteristics of the subordinate. The characteristics include the subordinates understanding of their work task and the ability to manage self-control in the workplace. The characteristics also include the Subordinate’s professional orientation that determines how effective the subordinates are without the control and monitoring of the leadership. Not only the leadership is required for control and monitoring but also for factors like directions and motivation. The employees who are self-motivated do not needs a leader to motivate them or to attract them to the rewards that are well defines and communicated with the subordinated. For instance, the subordinate knows what sort of recognition and rewards will be given to the performance level in different cases.
The characteristics of the tasks also play as substitute to the leadership. The routine tasks that are well defined help the subordinates align their efforts with the work space and processes. The repetition of takes and the failure at processes cause the effort to be wasted and more time is required to accomplish a simple task. Also when the tasks performed re simple in nature and repeated by the followers and subordinates too often, there is no need for leadership. The takes that provide the feedback on the performance of the subordinates also weaken the influence of the leadership and its necessity. The subordinate’s motivation towards the tasks also determines that there is less need of supervision and control. In such tasks the employees work hard to achieve the certain goals based on their own satisfaction and interest.
The characteristics of the organization also affect the leadership substitute capacity. The nature of the organization that allows the leader follower behaviour to be open and there is motivation in the entire organization to be accountable and acceptable to the work and the tasks, when the employees consider that their work is their responsibilities and they should be doing it right. The self-managed work teams based organization structure that have to complete the assigned task and them go up the hierarchy also do not need high level of control and supervision as well as the organization with clear and accurate job designs and descriptions.