Least Preferred Coworker

Fiedler, F. E. (1967). A theory of leadership effectiveness. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Comments: The 15-item Least Preferred Coworker (LPC) is a semantic differential instrument based on Fiedler’s contingency theory of leadership effectiveness. It includes three dimensions: the quality of leader-member relations; degree of task structure; and a measure of leader-position power.

Scale Construction: The LPC is a brief and straightforward scale that uses a semantic differential format with 15 bipolar adjectives. In responding to the scale, individuals are instructed to think of a coworker with whom they work least well. It employees an eight-point Likert type response anchor. For each pair of bipolar adjectives (pleasant-unpleasant, friendly-unfriendly), the positive adjective receives the higher score. A person’s LPC score is the sum of the ratings.

Established norms indicate that a score of 63 or less constitutes a low LPC response, and a score of 73 or higher, a high LPC score. A high LPC score represents a more generalized interpersonally oriented leader style. The low LPC is considered to be a more task-oriented style.

Sample: The development of the LPC was based on large samples of adults (2,000 or more subjects) across a variety of adult populations.

Reliability: Split-half reliability estimates ranged from 0.86 to 0.92. Median test-retest reliability coefficients ranged from 0.67 to 0.81.

Validity: Extensive construct validity studies have documented that high LPC leaders are interpersonally oriented and that low LPC scores constitute a task-oriented leader style.

Factor Analysis: Fiedler employed a number of factor analytic studies in the development of the LPC. This information is documented in some detail in the following references.


Fiedler, F. E., and Chemers, M. M. (1984). Improving leadership effectiveness. New York: Wiley. Fiedler, F. E., and Garcia, J. E. (1987). New approaches to effective leadership. New York: Wiley.

Least Preferred Coworker Scale

  1. Pleasant                       Unpleasant
  2. Friendly                         Unfriendly
  3. Rejecting                        Accepting
  4. Helpful                           Frustrating
  5. Unenthusiastic            Enthusiastic
  6. Tense                                 Relaxed
  7. Distant                                Close
  8. Cold                                     Warm
  9. Cooperative              Uncooperative
  10. Supportive                       Hostile
  11. Quarrelsome               Harmonious
  12. Self-Assured                    Hesitant
  13. Efficient                          Inefficient
  14. Gloomy                             Cheerful
  15. Open                                  Guarded

Scoring: See earlier description.