An Analysis of Transformational Leadership

Since the early sass, there has been an explosion of interest on transformational leadership among scholars and managers. It is shown with evidence that the desire and effectiveness of transformational leadership style are universal (Den Warthog, et al. , 1999, and Bass, et al. 2006). This leadership style, as its name implies, is a process which tends to change and transform individuals (Morehouse, 2004).

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To help followers grow and develop into leaders, transformational leaders respond to individual followers’ needs and empower hem (Bass, et al. 2006). It is also concerned with emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals (Morehouse, 2004). Recently, some researchers (Carbonized-Virgin, et al. , 2010) mentioned that transformational leaders might have a desire to customize coaching, which could be conducted through telling each associates unique capability and intelligence and inspiring each person’s innovation and critical thinking.

The topic area has been widely discussed and analyses from many different sources and as such provides an interesting topic area to research and discuss further. This report will briefly introduce and outline the development of transformational leadership concept and theory, then examine the conceptual and empirical validity of transformational leadership in a global context. Initially, this report will begin with defining key terms in transformational leadership, compared with transactional leadership and other relevant concepts, in order to better understand the context of the text which will be covered.

The Bass’s transformational model of leadership including its four components and the instrument relating to it, the Multiracial Leadership Questionnaire (MIL), will then be reviewed. After that, both at conceptual and empirical level, analysis will be conducted to evaluate to what extent this model can help with the successful management of people at work, especially in cross-cultural environment. Finally, a summary will be conducted and further implications of findings will be suggested.

Transformational Leadership Model and Measurement Although Downtown first created the term ‘transformational leadership” in 1973, not until 1978 when the political sociologist James MacGregor Burns’ book named Leadership was published, this approach had been emerged with its importance. In his work, Burns (1978) distinguished transactional and transformational leadership. The former one focuses on the social exchanges that occur between leaders and their followers, for example, politicians leading by “exchanging one thing for another: jobs for votes, or subsides for campaign contributions” (Burns 1978).

On the other hand, the latter one refers to the process whereby an individual stimulates and inspires others and creates a connection that leads to an improvement of motivation, morality and capability in both leaders and followers (Morehouse, 2004). At the same time, House (1976) coined a theory of harmonistic leadership which received a widely attention in leadership academic world (Hunt and Conger, 1999). Later, this concept is often used as a similar term of transformational leadership. As House suggested, charismatic leaders act in unique ways and as personal characteristics affecting their followers.

The specific characteristics include being dominant, self-confident, moral and so on (Morehouse, 2004). A more expanded and refined version of transformational leadership was provided by Bass in 1985, which to some extent was based on the prior works of Burns (1978) and House (1976) (Morehouse, 2004). Bass (2006) slighted that, “to engage the follower in true commitment and involvement in the effort at hand”, leaders must deal with the followers sense of self-esteem, which was what transformational leadership went beyond the social exchange in transactional style.

He also emphasized that although charismatic leadership was to a large extent in common with transformational leadership, the former was only part of the latter. As refinements made in both the conceptualization and measurement of transformational leadership, Bass (2006) summarized that, to achieve superior results, transformational leadership is a combination of four sharable components: Idealized Influence (charisma), Inspirational Motivation, Intellectual Stimulation, and Individualized Consideration.

In order to measure these behaviors, the Multiracial Leadership Questionnaire (MIL) was developed and identified the four factors (Bass and Viola, 1990): n Idealized Influence (charisma): Acting as strong role models for followers, transformational leaders behave in ways that make them being “admired, respected and trusted” and “extraordinarily capable, persistent, and determined”, which make their followers want to emulate them. њ Inspirational Motivation: Transformational adders articulate a vision appealing for followers and motivate and inspire them by providing task meaning, communicating optimism and enthusiasm for a future orientation. D Intellectual Stimulation: Transformational leaders stimulate followers to be creative and innovative, to doubt assumptions, to apply old problem solutions in new means. ј Individualized Consideration: Transformational leaders provide a supportive climate by paying attention to each follower’s needs and desires.

They actively help followers grow through personal challenges and create new opportunities for their potential placement (Alamo-Metcalf, Albany-Metcalf, 2002). Two transactional components are also included in the MIL: 0 Contingent reward: Approved follower actions, which mean that followers finish what needs to be done, are rewarded with the payoffs for doing it, and disapproved actions are punished because of the opposite behaviors as an exchange process between leaders and followers. I:] Management by exception: Corrective transactional dimensions.

Active management by exception is the behavior that a leader monitors followers closely for mistakes and intervenes with corrective direction. Passive form involves correction only after requirements have not been met or problems emerge. On the active-passive leadership continuum, the full range places transformational, transactional, and laissez-fairer leadership, of which the last one represents the absence of leadership. Originally from French, “laissez-fairer” is a phrase which implies a “hands-off, let-things-ride” approach. In this way, leaders take no responsibility, provide no feedback, and ignore followers’ needs (Morehouse, 2004).

Considering a global context and culture variation, Bass (1997) argued that transactional and ramifications leadership can transcend all parts of the globe and all forms of organizations. Advantages of Transformational Leadership After a long time development and refinement, the Transformational Leadership model and instrument have been widely used, because it has several strengths as follows: First, plenty of both qualitative and quantitative studies for transformational leadership have been conducted from a wide range of perspectives. The objectives cover from outstanding leaders to multinational corporation Coos (Morehouse, 2004).

A recent keyboards analysis of all the articles published from 1990 to 2003 in the Psychology database showed that the number of studies related to transformational or charismatic leadership was larger than the number of all other well-known theories of leadership (e. G. , least preferred co-worker theory, path-goal theory, normative decision theory, substitutes for leadership) combined Judge and Piccolo, 2004). Second, it is convinced that the effectiveness and validity of transformational leadership is exclusive according to numerous evidences (Yuk, 1999).

It is proven in a meta- analysis of 39 studies (22 published and 1 7 unpublished) which used MIL that individuals in transformational leadership styles were perceived to be more effective leaders with better work outcomes compared with the ones who exhibited only transactional leadership (Lowe, Crock and Submariner’s, 1996). Precisely, for transformational leadership dimensions, validity for charisma was . 71 and validity for intellectual stimulation was . 60; while . 41 for contingent reward and . 05 for management by exception were analyzed for transactional leadership.

Moreover, in order to explore the relative validity between transactional leadership and transformational leadership, Judge and Piccolo (2004) conducted a meta-analysis which covered the whole leadership continuum. Results showed that the validity for transformational leadership was . 44, the highest score overall, whereas the second highest validity was . 39 shown by contingent reward leadership. In addition, it is also approved that transformational leadership model is valid across different environments.

Lowe, Crock and Submariner’s (1996) have shown that either for senior or basic leaders in both public and private context, the transformational leadership findings can be endorsed. Judge and Piccolo (2004) highlighted that in various duty settings, the validity of transformational leadership appears to generalize with slight differences across from business professionals, university students, the military and public participants. Third, transformational leadership have positive relationships with follower satisfaction and organization performance.

Transformational leadership regards leadership as a process. By setting more challenging expectations for followers, transformational leaders motivate others “to go the extra mile” (Leone and Fischer, 2011). Followers act more prominently through the leadership process with an instrumental attribution (Barman, 992). Their needs and desires are more concerned by the leaders. A number of empirical findings from last century have demonstrated that charismatic, transformational and visionary leaders tend to have positive influences on their organizations and followers. The effect scores range from . 35 to . 0 for organizational performance effects and from . 40 to . 80 for effects on follower satisfaction and commitment (Fill, et al, 1999). Another two anticlimactically studies also approve this statement (Fuller, et al, 1996; Lowe, et al 1996). More precisely, in a more recent study, Judge and Piccolo (2004) compared the relation between transformational leadership and follower job satisfaction and the correlation between transformational leadership and organization performance. The results showed that the former relationship (. 58) is stronger than the latter one (. 23) (Judge and Piccolo, 2004).

Besides, transformational leaders tend to motivate and inspire each person’s innovation and critical thinking (Carbonized-Virgin, et al. , 2010). A new study (Wang and GHz, 2011) has focused on the relation between transformational leadership with individual and group creativity. From the survey data which were collected room multiple means in a main city in the southern part of the U. S. A. , it is shown that there are important and positive correlations for aggregated group- level transformational leadership with group creative identity (r = . 34, p< . 01), individual creative identity (r = . 20, p < . 01), and individual creativity (r = . 6, 01). Their findings also proved that individual-level transformational leadership can improve followers' creativity by building individuals' creative identity (Wang and Zhu, 2011). Fourth, transformational leadership differs from other styles on he aspect of its strong emphasis on the followers' needs, values, and morals dimension. Burns (1978) argued that transformational leaders move others by motivating them to take higher moral responsibility and by aligning their own and followers' value systems with significant moral standards. This kind of leaders also demonstrates "high standards of ethical and moral conduct" (Avolio, 1999, p. 3). The influence of transformational leadership on follower moral identity is fundamental and central for this theory (Bass, 1985, 1998; Bass & Riggio, 2006; Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999; Burns, 1978). To fill the gap of only few empirical studies examining to what extent leadership influence followers' moral development, a study using field survey data and experimental data was newly conducted this year by Zhu, Riggio, Avolio and Sosik (2011). The descriptive statistics illustrated an important positive relationship between follower moral identity and transformational leadership (r = . 0, p < . 01 As one of the first empirical studies that focused on the influence of transformational leadership on follower self-reported moral viewpoints, this study also discussed several practical implications. The first approach is to set high moral principles, in that case leaders tend to enhance followers' moral identity, and consequently, follower ethical decision making and behaviours would be developed. It is also shown that leaders' behaviours affected the level of followers' moral identity.

Therefore, the second approach is to develop transformational leadership across boundaries within the organization. An ethical climate would be built with strong moral principles and aims by transformational leaders, through setting policies, procedures and processes. A positive impact on follower moral identity, in that ease, would be likely to happen (GHz, et al, 2011). Fifth, from a practical and applicable perspective, the attributes outlined in transformational leadership and the traits included in the MIL can provide a broad set of concepts as typical transforming leaders.

These components can be utilized in several stages of Human Resource Management process, as standards of recruitment, selections and promotion, or as principles of training and development (Morehouse, 2004). It is found that for low-level leaders, the process of building a vision is particularly valuable in training programs (Lowe, et al. 1996). Additionally, some researchers believe that an expanded picture of leadership is provided by transformational leadership approach, which contains the social exchange between leaders and associates as well as the attention on needs and development of followers (Viola, 1999; Bass, 1985).

Morehouse (2004) states that transformational leadership has intuitive appeal, which means that, as the way described in the transformational perspective, the leader tends to advocate change and consider growth for others, which is consistent with society’s expectation for a typical leader. Criticisms of Transformational Leadership Although transformational leadership model has been widely used and had a great contribution to the leadership literature, it also has several drawbacks: The first criticism is that its conceptual clarity has been criticized in terms of its poorly defined parameters (Morehouse, 2004).

Because it involved a large range of behaviors, such as creating a vision, building trust, acting as a social architect and so on, it is difficult to clearly define the parameters. Tracey and Honking (1998) emphasized on the overlap among the core four components idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration). Yuk (1999) also demonstrated that it is necessary to distinguish the four factors in a theoretical way.

Barman (1992) highlighted that transformational and charismatic leadership are often used as synonymous words, though, Bass (1985) has already cleared that charisma is only one component of transformational leadership. An recent study conducted by Www, Thus and Kicking (2010) indicated that individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation were more suitable for behaviors at an individual level, by contrast, idealized influence and inspirational motivation are more suitable at a group level. Some other criticisms exist on the measurement of transformational leadership.

The validity of MIL has been questioned even if it has been wildly used (Tipper , 1994). The time when MI_Q was designed was criticized by Hunt (1996), because it was before collecting enough data on the nature of transformational leadership in qualitative and quantitative means. Hunt (1996) also stated that descriptions of leader actions and the results of behaviors were both included in the MIL and the model failed to provide sufficient attention o the two-way respects of the relations between leader and follower.

The correlations between the four factors of transformational leadership (idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration) are very close to each other, so they has been questioned as not distinct factors (Tested, Scandal, & Pillar, 2001 Moreover, there is no clear distinction between transactional factors and transformational factors. Hence, some of these factors are not unique to this model. Race and gender invalidity s also concerned, because the MIL came from interview data from 70 South African leaders, while 69 of them were white and all of them were men.

However, although the measure instrument MIL of transformational leadership has been criticized in the way it was used, the MIL is, at the same time, developing. Versions with new, improved items have been generated as promised (Tested, et al, 2001). A third criticism some have made is that in a global context, cultural differences do have an effect on the factors which might be perceived in particular cultural settings (Alamo-Metcalf & Albany-Metcalf, 2002).

Den Warthog ND other researchers (1999) had proven by study that certain attributes of transformational leadership were adoptive across cultures, while others did not; however, they believed that even if some transformational attributes might exhibit in different manners across cultures, a common preference for transformational leadership exists all over the world. Recent findings deeply explored whether transformational leadership dimensions are universal or not.