Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

An exploratory content analysis of situational leadership

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mark Papworth, Dr Derek Milne


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Purpose: Hersey and Blanchard's situational leadership (SL) model is widely utilised, but it has limited empirical support. This paper aims to investigate the model through content analysis of the transcripts of supervision sessions. Design/methodology/approach: Eight transcripts of successful supervision interviews are subjected to in-depth content analysis to investigate the validity of aspects of the SL model, principally that successful leadership interactions would vary systematically according to the level of supervisee experience. The supervisees consist of a novice, four training therapists, and three post-graduate therapist practitioners. Statistical analyses are undertaken to investigate fundamental, predicted differences between the speech behaviours associated with the different developmental levels of these supervisees. Findings: The findings offer only partial support for the model. As predicted, an increased proportion of supervisor speech is observed in the supervision of increasingly less experienced therapists. However, the majority of the more specific speech behaviours associated with supervisee experience level are not in keeping with the model. Originality/value: These results are consistent with the findings of other evaluations of the SL model. As the present results are based on a novel approach, this increases the plausibility of the claim that SL lacks adequate empirical support. Areas of development and exploration are recommended, and limits associated with the model's utility are highlighted. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Papworth M, Milne D, Boak G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Management Development

Year: 2009

Volume: 28

Issue: 7

Pages: 593-606

ISSN (print): 0262-1711

ISSN (electronic): 1758-7492

Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1108/02621710910972706


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Find at Newcastle University icon    Link to this publication