In the case story, Robin Hood and his Merrymen met several problems. In order to overcome their powerful enemies, Robin Hood should set up strong goals for his band which was also needed be reorganized. Therefore, this paper will analyze how and why Robin Hood would be most effective by using the path-goal leadership theory. First, this paper will provide an objective analysis about Robin’s current situation and options. Second, using the path-goal leadership theory as the theoretical foundation, this paper will analyze the feasibility of one of the choices and provide some advices. The third part will make a summary for the whole paper.
According to this case, there are mainly two threatens for Robin Hood. The first one came from the internal factors. Even though the Merrymen was stronger than before, it became the band that lack of discipline and hard to be controlled. In the same time, the growing band asked for more food capacity and money, but robbing money in the forest became much harder. Second the external threatens were terrible. His major enemy was getting more powerful and better organized. Therefore, Robin Hood felt that changing was absolutely necessary. Lacking rich travelers, it was difficult to be robbed; also killing the powerful Sheriff was difficult for the disorganized Merrymen. Comparing with these two options, this paper supports that Robin Hood accepts the barons’ invitation and release the King Richard together. Although this choice contains serious risk, the path-goal leadership style will help Robin to reorganize his band which will very helpful to make Robin be more effective in that court politics.
The path-goal leadership theory is about the leader provide, the path, different kinds of motivation to support followers get goals. This theory asks leader to provide information or reward to employees to help them reach their goals (Northouse, pg.138). As Northouse stated that in this theory, leader should adapt his leadership style to the task characteristic and subordinate characteristic. In other words, the “path” set by leader should be better suit to both the subordinate’s need and the working situation (pg.138). Therefore, this theory examined leader’s behaviors as directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented leadership behaviors (pg.139). For Robin Hood, this paper supports that he should use the directive, supportive and achievement-oriented leadership behaviors. First, for Robin Hood, his tasks were reorganizing Merrymen, overcoming shortage of food and money, and then releasing King Richard. If Robin wants to increase competitiveness and succeed in saving the King, he has to reform his band first.
This task asks Robin Hood providing supports and motivation to subordinates for overcoming some obstacles. The Merrymen was a band with weak formal authority system, so Robin needed use his right leadership as a tool to make rules and clarify requirements. Second, Robin Hood’s subordinates were brave and autonomous, but lacking of discipline and needing affiliation. The Merrmen’s culture was that they were the men with grievances and a deep sense of justice and they rob rich and give to the poor. Based on the analysis about Robin’s subordinate and task characteristics above, in the following part, this paper will points out details about how Robin Hood and the Merrymen would become more effective by the path-goal leadership theory. First, set up strong goal and focus on it.
When Robin Hood chose working with barons to release the King, he should show his confidence to his Merrymen. Because of Prince John’s dangerous spies, Robin might not tell them the goal’s details but at least he should set a strong goal to cheer them up. Robin should be an achievement-oriented leader who established a challenge task for members and show high confidence to work with them. Second, build a new organization structure. There were too many people in Merrymen. As Robin said, he did not know half of the men in the camp. However, one year before, this was a strong disciplined band with good reputation. The reason of that change was that Robin Hood over cared about the increase in number but not the original standard—men with grievances and a deep sense of justice. To be high performance, Robin should ask Little John who was the HR of Merrymen to make the recruitment process in order.
For instance, according to their original band culture, Little John could make some targeted and more serious discipline and rules, and keep increasing training. The path-goal theory seeks increasing motivation to promote subordinates achieve goals. Robin Hood could use the supportive leadership behavior and provide rewards to increase discipline and affiliation. Moreover, based on their rules, if some members still hard to enforce, Little John should give some punishment to him even drive him away. Third, make the most of external conditions. As Robin’s lieutenants stated that the farmers and town people were their most important allies, so Robin Hood should not take tax as the Sheriff did. He should keep good relationship with them, and then let them to give favor to his band.
For instance, Prince John had spies everywhere, but Robin could let town people to gather information and intelligence about John for Merrymen. Moreover, as a leader, Robin should give full of his sociability to solve the food shortage and financial problem. Even though Robin could not use tax to get money, he could negotiate with the barons who had money and power. As they wanted the Merrymen to join their fight, they would not mind to support this band to be stronger. Based on analysis above, the primary task for Robin Hood was organizing his band to be discipline and stronger. For this task, the path-goal leadership theory would seek Robin to set up strong goal and then provide more motivation and supports to his members.
This theory provides scientific leadership skills to support Robin Hood become more effective leader. In summary, at that time, Robin Hood and his band were beset by both inside and outside threatens. The weak band was impossible to kill the powerful Sheriff. Even they killed him; the Prince John was also a tough problem. Balancing each factor, therefore, helping barons to release the King and getting amnesty was the only one choice for Robin Hood. Moreover, to succeed in that choice, Robin Hood needed the path-goal leadership theory to reorganize his band and be more effective.
Labin. A & Miller. R (2009, April 14) Robin Hood Case Analysis. http://www.personal.psu.edu/atl119/blogs/aaron_labin/robinhoodfinal.pdf Northouse. P.G. (2012). Leadership Theory and Practice (5th ed.). Washington DC: SAGE