Evolution of Leadership Style Theories

  • Early Studies of Supervisor-Subordinate Relationships (Average Leadership Style)

    Focus on supervisor qualities and behaviors that lead to improved employee attitudes, motivation, and job performance. Focus was on traits or styles of leaders. Subordinates were irrelevant in these theories.
  • Vertical Dyad Linkage (VDL Theory)

    Questioned the idea that employees were passive and everything was under the supervior's control. This theory maintained supervisors form different types of relationships with various employees and these relationships vary with respect to quality. Introduced concepts of "in and out groups."
  • VDL Theory renamed Leader-Member Exchange (LMX)

    Supervisor-subordinate relationship repesents a type of "exchange" relationship where both partners negotiate the relationship on an ongoing basis.