Academic Master

Human Resource And Management

Major Differences Between Behavioral and Contingency Leadership Theories

The behavioral theory highlights the nature and complexity of the work that a leader handles. The behavioral theory tests the capacity of the leader whether he is efficient enough to handle tasks or not. The contingency theory tests the impact of the load and nature of the work on the leader, the effect on followers and the environment of the leader.

The behavioral theory assesses the whole organization by splitting the entire system into different compartments. Every component is evaluated for the appropriate management framework. The contingency framework identifies the variables for proper leadership style in the given situation.

The behavioral theory of leadership attempts to find out the best leadership style for all situations, while the contingency theory says that there is no compatible leadership style for any situation. It focuses on the leaders, followers, and the case.

The behavioral theory identifies the specific behavior of the leader and deal behavior as the best predictor for effective management. The behavioral theorist believes that the response of the leader is the predictor of leadership success. The primary behaviors that are categorized in the behavioral assessment of the leader are two types. One is task-oriented leaders, and the other people-oriented leaders. Task-oriented leaders focus on the motivation of the staff along with the standard operating procedures. They will assess behavior in relevance to initiating, organizing tasks, and data collection. The people-oriented leaders pinpoint the interaction among people for motivation. The highlighted expression under focus is encouraging the staff, observation, listening to concerns, and training of the staff members.

The contingency theory identifies and assesses the particular situation of the leader. The focus of this theory is the leader–led case. It emphasizes that there is no specific leadership format for the leaders and there are different styles of leaders in different situations. The theory tests the leader-led case through the assessment of tasks assigned, the behavior of the leader under pressure, the integrity of the system, and environmental influence. Furthermore, contingency theory says that a leader is dependent on the situation, and he has to adjust accordingly.

Behavioral contribution to contingency theory

Behavioral theory contributes to the contingency theory because of the leadership styles used in the contingency leadership model. The element of behaviorism is involved in the application of contingency theory, where the leadership is led by the person assessed by the behaviorism that he projects on the leadership post. Behavior is the style used in the behavioral framework, which is also the base of the contingency leadership framework. The action would add to the organization in the form of outcomes and, thus, the determinant of a successful leadership approach. Behavior and contingency are integrative in relevance.


Lussier RN, Achua Christopher F. Contingency, and behavioral theory. In: Leadership, Theory, Application and Skill Development. 5th ed. USA: Erin Joyner; 25.

Leadership Theories – In Chronological Order. Accessed February 23, 2018.

Behavioral Theories of Leadership. Accessed February 23, 2018.



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