Path-goal leadership theory: The long and winding road

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Over 20 years have passed since Robert J. House published his classic article, "A Path-Goal Theory of Leader Effectiveness" in Administrative Science Quarterly (1971). Based on the work of Georgopolous, Mahoney, and Jones (1957) and the doctoral dissertation and earlier work of Evans (1968, 1970), House's path-goal conceptualization of leadership used Vroom's (1964) expectancy theory of motivation to identify the effects of leader behavior on subordinate outcome variables. An obvious question that comes to mind almost 2-12 decades later is: Where has such a road taken those of us in the leadership field? The present paper explores this issue by very briefly describing the theory (for more detail, see House, 1971; House & Dessler, 1974; House & Mitchell, 1974), summarizing the empirical evidence and discussing concerns about the future direction of path-goal leadership research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-321
Number of pages5
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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