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THEORY OF TRANSFORMATIONAL

LEADERSHIP REDUX
State University of New
Bernard M. Bass*
York at Binghamton
In 1945, Cal Shartle returned to Ohio State University from Washington, where he
had been responsible for the development of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles
describing some 30,000 jobs in terms of what work done and what was used. At the
same time, trait approaches to leadership were leading to a dead end in lists of required
traits. His mission as Director of Ohio States Personnel Research Board (PRB) was
to describe what leaders did, then to find out why.
Lord Curzons axiom (taken from Count Cavour), If you cant measure it, you dont
know what youre talking about, drove the leadership research effort at PRB.
Operationism and logical positivism were just coming into their own. Sawdust
empiricism raged throughout the Midwestern universities. Clark Hulls conditioned
reinforcement formulas, &R for habit strength, where S = the stimulus, H = the habit
strength, and R = the response, provided quantitative measurement (to the third decimal
point) for empirical testing and theoretical explanations of behavior (mainly of white rats).
Perhaps fitting in view of my upbringing in logical positivism was my first assignment
in 1946 as a graduate assistant-to clean out the cages at the old University Hall Psychol-
ogy Department rat lab at Ohio State. My first American Psychological Association
presentation in Denver in 1949 conceived attitude as a habit strength, SHR, in which the
response acted back on the stimulus (Bass, 1949b). It was so consistent with Hulls thinking
that he wrote me a full-page letter of support. During 1946 and 1947, I kept thinking
of how to design experiments to study white rats leadership of other white rats.
I finally decided that if I could use objective measurements, it would be all right to
study human leadership. I set up leaderless discussions among student volunteers and
*Direct all correspondence to: Bernard M. Bass, Center for Leadership Studies, Binghamton University,
P.O. Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000.
Leadership Quarterly, 6(4), 463478.
Copyright @ 1995 by JAI Press Inc.
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
ISSN: 1048-9843
464 LEADERSHIP QUARTERLY Vol. 6 No. 4 1995
at first used a bank of electric kitchen clocks connected to a bank of telegraph keys
to measure the time that each discussant spoke. However, this technique seemed
fraught with the unreliability of the observers reaction time. So then I obtained
surplus Air Force throat microphones. Strapped to each participants throat, the
microphones turned on whenever participants spoke. They turned off when they
stopped and remained silent. I was amazed to find correlations of .90 between the
time a participant spent talking in leaderless group discussions (LGDs) and observer
and peer ratings of the participants leadership. The silence of reaction to the
publication of the results (Bass, 1949a) was deafening but to this date, no reports
have failed to find a strong association of talk time and leadership. I could only
explain this by using John Hemphills distinctions between attempted, successful, and
effective leadership. (One may try to lead; when successful, others will follow; when
effective, mutual goals will be obtained.) I argued that talking in LGDs was mainly
attempted leadership. To succeed and receive customary ratings as a leader, one had
to attempt leadership.
I was so hooked on measurement and behavioral reinforcement that I simply rejected
the then-current minority point of view of Edward Tolman that rats followed maps
in their head they learned as they navigated mazes. I treated as heresy the defense of
Tolmans cognitive psychology in Donald T. Campbells class in social psychology. We
could only deal with rats behavior, not their cognitions. The rats brain was an empty
organism. So, with measurement, behavioral reinforcement, and logical positivism on
my mind, I launched into developing a theory of leadership.
This interest in developing a theory was a consequence of a six-week seminar at
Dartmouth supported by the Social Science Research Council in which six young
Ph.Ds, all interested in the subject of leadership, met without initial agendas or
schedules. The others were from sociology (Martin Seymour Lipset and Alan Gouldner)
and social, educational, and counseling psychology (Cecil Gibb, John Hemphill, the
late Ben Willerman, and myself). My eyes were opened particularly by the sociologists
to the rich tradition of leadership literature in political science and sociology and by
John Hemphill to the elements required for a good theory.
It took me eight years to produce Leadership, Psychology and Organizational
Behavior (Bass, 1960a), an explanation using contingent reinforcement to account for
who attempts, who is successful, and who is effective as a leader. Figure 1 shows my
effort to diagram the model derived from the theory.
As seen in Figure 1, ones self-accorded status and self-esteem gives rise to ones
attempts to lead. These attempts are reinforced by whether or not one is successful
in influencing others. This success depends on ones status and power and ones esteem
and ability, which in turn generates whether one is coercive, permissive (participative),
or persuasive in successfully motivating others or initiating their actions. The leadership
is effective if followers achieve their goals or meet their needs as a consequence of the
successful leadership.
A multiple-levels approach is displayed in Figure 1. Attempted leadership is at the
individual level. Paralleling it at the group level is interaction potential: the tendencies
of group members to interact with each other. Interaction potential explains situational
contingencies. For example, familiarity and intimacy are predicted to result in
interaction, not contempt. Paralleling the successful leadership of the individual group
Transformational Leadership Redux
465
ATTEMPTED
LEAOERSHlP
iI3
INTERACTION
POtENTlAL
Figure 1
members is the coalescence of the group members. Paralleling the e~~c~~~e leadership
of the individual members is the groups effectiveness.
Testing of the theory was accomplished by analyzing the order in which members
of small groups ranked astandard set of stimuli, such as the size of cities or the familiarity
of words. The mean change in the individual member rankings from before to after
discussion was a measure of how much they had coalesced. The mean increase of the
matching of their rankings with a correct criterion set of rankings was a measure of
the groups effectiveness. The groups decision about the rankings gave another measure
of group effectiveness. The successful leadership of a designated member was calculated
by the extent to which the final rankings of other members correlated with the target
466 LEADERSHIP QUARTERLY Vol. 6 No. 4 1995
members initial rankings rather than vice versa (Bass, 1960b). Measurement and
feedback were facilitated by building an analog-digital computer (Bass, Gaier, Farese,
& Flint, 1957) so that an instantaneous measure could be obtained for feedback
experiments.
Although a number of publications testing hypotheses drawn from the theory (e.g.,
Bass, Haravey, & Pennington, 1958) were published, a book of mainly unpublished
work was completed but never published (Bass, 1962). On the one hand, my thinking
was reinforced by the generally positive findings; on the other hand, the emphasis on
experimentation, small groups, and surveys of supervisory behavior left me somewhat
frustrated. As a history buff, I had enjoyed the interchanges with Lipsit and Gouldner
in 1952, but there seemed little in what I was doing with contingent reinforcement that
could lend itself to studying leadership out in the real world. I could only quote
illustrations of contingent reinforcement (e.g., Julius Caesar both praising and
reprimanding his troops at Alesia in his commentaries on the Gallic wars). As long
as I was limited to contingent reinforcement for explanations, neither I, nor anyone
else, could do much to explain the success and effectiveness of the movers and shakers
of this world. I had to wait another 18 years for James MacGregor Burns (1978) to
lead the way. Although Downton (1973) had included a chapter titled transformational
leadership in his Rebel Leadership, I did not see a copy of this until the early 1980s.
My attitude toward measurement has also changed. In the Age of Paradox, Handy
(1994) provides a much more sophisticated view of measurement than Lord Curzons.
It is known as McNamaras Fallacy:
The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it
goes. The second step is to disregard that which cant be easily measured or to give
it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is
to presume that what cant be measured easily really isnt important. This is blindness.
The fourth step is to say that what cant be easily measured really doesnt exist. This
is suicide (p. 221).
Over the years, I came to appreciate what the nonquantitative scholars in
psychohistory, sociology, and political science had to say about charisma and
transformational leadership. Particularly important to me were Robert Caros
biographies of Lyndon Johnson (1982) and Robert Moses (1974), Sam Hayes and W.N.
Thomas (1967) on military leadership, and Lloyd Demauses (1982) and Abe Zalezniks
(1977) psychoanalytic views of charismatic leadership.
At a chance encounter in 1979 with John A. Miller, one of my most scholarly Ph.D.
students and the long-time chairman of the Management Department at Bucknell, John
asked if 1 had read James MacGregor Burns (1978) book Leadership, which had just
appeared and, according to John, was becoming a best-seller in Washington. No, I
said, but as soon as I could, I purchased a copy, read it, and was never the same again.
Contingent reinforcement was just one pole of a leadership continuum for Burns.
Burns, the historian, labeled transactional leadership as essentially the exchange relation
fundamental to both psychologists and economists. For Burns, political transactional
leaders motivate followers by exchanging with them rewards for services rendered.
Transactional leaders:
Transformational Leadership Redux 467
approach followers with an eye to exchanging one thing for another; jobs for votes,
or subsidies for campaign contributions. Such transactions comprise the bulk of the
relationships among leaders and followers, especially in groups, legislatures and parties
(Burns, 1978, p. 3).
At the other pole of the continuum was transforming leadership. Transforming
leaders convert followers to disciples; they develop followers into leaders. They elevate
the concerns of followers on Maslows (1954) need hierarchy from needs for safety and
security to needs for achievement and self-actualization, increase their awareness and
consciousness of what is really important, and move them to go beyond their own self-
interests for the good of the larger entities to which they belong. The transforming leader
provides followers with a cause around which they can rally.
After reading Burns, as soon as I could, I collected some data. At the time, I thought
transformational leadership was only to be found at the higher reaches of
organizational life. While lecturing in South Africa in 1980, I asked 70 senior executives,
all male, all white except for one black Zimbabwean, if anyone had ever led them
transformationally and, if so, with what kinds of behavior and what kinds of results.
I defined the transformational leader for the executives:
as someone who raised their awareness about issues of consequence, shifted them to
higher-level needs, influenced them to transcend their own self-interests for the good
of the group or organization, and to work harder than they originally had expected
they would Bass, 1985, p. 29).
Then, the respondents were asked to describe anyone whom they had encountered in
their own careers who lit at least some of this description:
All respondents claimed to have known at least one such person. Most cited a former
immediate superior or higher-up in the organization to which the respondents had
belonged at the time. A few mentioned family members, consultants, or counselors..
The transformational leader was seen to lead the respondents to work ridiculous hours
and to do more than they ever expected to do (Bass, 1985, p. 29).
They said that they tried to satisfy the leaders expectations of them and to give the
leader all the support asked for. Other reactions included:
the desire to emulate the leader, increased awareness, higher quality of performance,
greater innovativeness, readiness to extend oneself and to develop oneself further, total
commitment, belief in the organization as a consequence of belief in the leader .
heightened self-confidence, as well as strong liking, admiration, loyalty, and respect
(Bass, 1985, pp. 29-30).
Many indicated that the transformational leader:
was like a benevolent father (all were male) who remained friendly and treated the
respondent as an equal despite the leaders greater knowledge and experience. The leader
provided a model of integrity and fairness with people and also set clear and high
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standards of performance. He encouraged followers with advice, help, support,
recognition, and openness. He gave followers a sense of confidence in his intellect, yet
was a good listener. He gave autonomy to followers and encouraged their self-
development. He was willing to share his greater knowledge and expertise with them.
Yet he could be formal at work when and if necessary. He was seen to be firm and
would reprimand subordinates when necessary. However, most respondents were
inclined to see the transforming leader as informal and close. Such a leader could be
counted on to stand up for his followers (Bass, 1985, p. 30).
From the pilot study, 1 concluded that high-level transformational executives could
move followers to exceed expectations-to generate extra effort, creativity, and
productivity. This conclusion provided the title for my book Leadership and
Performance Beyond Expectations (Bass, 1985). The book presented a theory and
results using a new paradigm of transformational and transactional leadership.
Subordinate competence as an organization member could be developed further as a
consequence of the transformational leaders nurturance and vision.
At this juncture, I went off on three parallel paths. First, Burns concept of
transforming leadership opened the door to making use of sociological, political, and
psychoanalytic understanding of leadership-the leadership of social movements, of
political parties, of bureaucracies, and so forth. Second, it now became possible to
review what I knew from my extensive readings in biography and history over the years
as well as to read new materials with a new framework. Third, I went quantitative
and followed the path of data gathering and analysis.
The literature review took me deep into charisma, from Webers (1947) Theory of
Social and Economic Organizations to Houses (1977) 1976 Theory of Charismatic
kadership. Also particularly important were Wilners (1968) Charismatic Political
Leadership, Zalezniks (1977) Managers and Leaders, and Demauses (1982)
Foundations of Psychohistory.
My own historical musings took me back to the many world class leaders I had read
about over the years, from Alexander the Great to Zoe, the Byzantine empress, and
from my own Great Men or Great Times (Bass, 1959) to the historical anecdotal and
hortatory material 1 had included in Leadership, Psychology, and Organizational
Behavior (Bass, 1960a). In these works, I had examined esteem, status, power,
organizational structure, coercion, persuasion, and permission.
Continuing on the first two paths, 1 moved ahead also on the third path by returning
to my quantitative roots. This path first went up a blind alley. Initial efforts to explain
the difference in behavior and effects of transforming and transactional leaders were
a failure. Based on an arousal and opponent process of motivation, I attempted to show
empirically that transformational leaders would display more intensive leader behavior
than transactional leaders. Results failed to support the hypothesis.
Sheridan, Kerr, and Abelson (1982) had constructed behaviorally anchored rating
scales of the intensity, extremity, and direction of leadership activities on the dimensions
of task direction, participation, consideration, performance feedback, integrity,
performance rewards, and representation. For example, on the performance feedback
scale, the two highest items in intensity, at 90 on a loo-point scale, were The supervisor
lets employees know what performance areas they are good in and what areas need
Transformational Leadership Redux 469
improvement if they are to advance their career plans and The supervisor frequently
tells subordinates his/ her impression of their work performance.
A neutral item in intensity was: The supervisor criticizes employees for unsatisfactory
work, but seldom comments on good work. At the bottom of the performance feedback
scale in intensity were the items The supervisor complains about the performance of
a subordinate to everyone except the individual being criticized and The supervisor
gives all subordinates the same performance evaluation regardless of how well they did
their job.
Transactional leaders were defined for 52 MBA students as those who (1) recognized
what it was you wanted to get from your work and tried to see that you got what you
wanted if your performance warranted it, (2) exchanged rewards and promises of reward
for your effort and good performance, and/or (3) were responsive to your immediate
self-interests if these could be met by your getting the work done. Then, I asked the
students to indicate on the seven leadership activity scales of intensity the highest, usual,
and lowest level of activity of a transactional leader for whom they had worked or
whom they knew well enough to rate.
Similarly, I defined transformational leadership for an additional 50 MBA students
and asked them to rate the activity levels of a supervisor for whom they had worked
or whom knew well enough to rate. Transformational leaders were defined as those
who: (1) motivated you to do more than you originally expected to do, (2) raised your
level of awareness about important matters, (3) increased your level of needs from need
for security or recognition to need for achievement or self-actualization, and/ or (4) led
you to transcend your own self-interests for the good of the team or the organization.
I hypothesized that transformational leaders would be described as displaying a more
intensive pattern of leadership activity levels. But no significant differences were found
in intensity on five of the seven dimensions. And, contrary to expectations, transactional
leaders were described as being significantly higher in intensity of consideration for the
personal needs and feelings of subordinates. They were also described as significantly
higher in intensity of performance feedback-the extent the supervisor evaluates
employees work and keeps them informed about how well they are doing on the job.
In retrospect, the greater intensity of immediate feedback was logically coherent with
the transactional exchange. For a second part of this study, the samples of 50 and 52
MBAs were also asked to complete Stogdills (1963) version of the Leader Behavior
Description Questionnaire (LBDQ) describing the person whom they were rating. Here,
results were the same for the frequency but not the intensity of behavior by the
transactional and transformational leaders. No differences in initiation or consideration
by transformational or transactional leaders appeared.
Although I seemed to be getting nowhere in better understanding of transformational
leadership, I did learn that again-as in the pilot study-people, in retrospect and using
definitions following Burns paradigm, can point out and describe at least one
transformational leader they have known. Transformational leaders are not rare.
Generally, the intensity, extremity, and direction of most leader behaviors were not
what distinguished transactional and transformational leaders. Furthermore, the widely
used LBDQ measures of initiation and consideration did not differentiate between
transformational and transactional leaders. (This was confirmed subsequently in
another survey study by Seltzer & Bass, 1990). I concluded that to gain further
470 LEADERSHIP QUARTERLY Vol. 6 No. 4 1995
understanding, I needed to develop reliable and valid measures of behavior and effects
observed in transactional and transformational leaders. Merely asking respondents to
identify a transformational or transactional leader did not make me confident that I
was adequately discriminating between them. Therefore, 1 moved on to develop a
reliable and valid instrument to discriminate between transformational and
transactional leadership behavior. I began with a response allocation analysis. The open-
ended responses of the 70 executives in the first pilot study were a source of items
describing transformational leaders. A survey of the literature (Bass, 1981) was a source
of additional items about influence processes, charisma, and the dynamics of the
exchange relationship which I hoped described either transformational or transactional
leaders.
I drafted a total of 142 items and submitted them to 11 graduate MBA and social
science students enrolled in a seminar on leadership. Each student was given a detailed
definition of transformational and transactional leadership and also asked to read
pertinent sections on the distinctions in my review (Bass, 1981, pp. 20, 455, 609-611).
They were also asked to clarify the meanings for themselves of such terms as charisma,
idiosyncrasy credit, esteem, and power. Following this, each student separately sorted
the 142 items into three categories: transformational, transactional, or cant say. An
item was selected as transformational if 8 to 11 of the judges identified it as
transformational and none or one identified it as transactional. An item was selected
as transactional if 9 to 11 of the judges identified the item as transactional and none
or one identified it as transformational,
A transformational item about which all 11 judges agreed was: He/ she makes me
go beyond my self-interests for the good of the group. A transactional item about
which all 11 judges agreed was: He/she makes me concentrate on my self-interests
rather than what is good for the group. An example of an ambiguous item which 10
judges marked cant say, was: He/she carries out the promises he/she makes. Of
the 142 items in the pool that was judged, 73 were selected for inclusion in a
questionnaire (Bass, 1985).
The 73 statements were then given to samples of subordinates to describe their current
immediate superior (or another in their recent past whom they knew better). An
innovation here was to make use of magnitude estimation scaling. The subordinates
were asked to judge how often their superior displayed each of the 73 behaviors or
attitudes using the following scale: A - frequently, if not always; B - fairly often; C
- sometimes; D - once in a while; E - not at all. These anchors bore a magnitude-
estimation-based ratio to each other of 4:3:2:1:0. (Bass, Cascio, & OConnor, 1974).
Scoring was therefore A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, E = 0. That is, for instance, once
in a while was scored as one point because it was estimated by respondents who judged
the anchors for Bass, Cascio, and OConnor (1974) to be at values that were just half
of whatever number they personally had attached to sometimes. For our 0 to 4 scale,
sometimes was arbitrarily set at 2, so once in a while, at half the frequency of
sometimes for the average judge then became half of 2, or 1.
A total of 176 U.S. Army colonels attending the U.S. Army War College were
included in the first two samples of respondents to complete the questionnaire. These
samples were used because at that time I thought that transformational leadership would
be found mainly at the higher echelons of organizational life.
Transformational Leadership Redux 471
Principal components factor analysis provided most of the conceptual framework
for what followed. The first factor, which accounted for 66% of the variance in the
correlation matrix among the 73 items, was headed by statements previously judged
by our 11 graduate students to be transformational, such as I have complete faith in
him/ her with a mean of 2.61 or Is a model for me to follow with a mean of 2.25.
(Both items were endorsed as more than sometimes and less than fairly often). The
factor seemed clearly consistent with definitions of charismatic leadership in its extreme
trust of the leader and its identification of the follower with the leader. Both were
transformational items according to the earlier analysis by the 11 judges. Two
transactional factors were identified on the same basis. A laissez-faire factor also
emerged.
The second factor made up of transformational items which emerged was
individualized consideration, which accounted for 6.3% of the variance among the
intercorrelations of the 73 items and was illustrated by the statement Gives personal
attention to members who seem neglected.
The third transformational factor also accounted for 6.3% of the variance. It involved
intellectual stimulation as seen in enabled me to think about old problems in new ways.
At this point, I scrapped sole dependence on the outcomes of the factor analysis.
I extracted some of the items highly loaded and highly intercorrelated (above .80) from
the charismatic factor to create a scale of inspirational motivation. Highly
intercorrelated items such as is an inspiration to us and inspires loyalty in the
organization formed the scale. I did this because I believed that a leader could move
followers toward common goals, provide meaning, and generate acceptance of missions
without necessarily being charismatic. One need not identify with leaders to be aroused
by them about the importance of an effort.
Unfortunately, as in this first analysis, repeated factor analyses have never supported
the extraction of inspiration from charismatic. By 1984, I was ready to abandon the
distinction in favor of a single factor of inspirational influence, but at a symposium
celebrating the Harvard Business Schools 75th Anniversary, Abe Zaleznik convinced
me that maintaining charismatic leadership, as such, was important. Another advantage
was that there were separate bodies of literature for charismatic leadership and for
inspirational leadership to which our work could be connected. I can only argue that
the same leaders who are charismatic are also inspirational but the involved behaviors,
attributions, and effects differ. (See, for instance, chapter 12 in the Bass & Stogdill
Handbook of Leadership [Bass, 19901 on charismatic, charisma-like, and inspirational
leadership. Not only are the behaviors, attributions, and effects different, but the
relevant research literature covers different ground).
There were several disadvantages in continuing the use of the term charismatic.
First, it had come to represent a wide spectrum of meanings in the media and the public
mind ranging from celebrated to flamboyant, exciting, and personable. Second, in many
of the countries in Europe and Asia in which we subsequently used the factor structure
for research and training, charisma was too much associated with Mussolini, Hitler,
Tojo, and dictatorship. And so, for training purposes, Bruce Avolio and I substituted
the term idealized influence for the charismatic factor.
It may be that for purposes of quantitative study, we should revert to a single factor
encompassing charisma and inspirational leadership, as Howell and Avolio (1993) did.
472 LEADERSHIP QUARTERLY Vol. 6 No. 4 1995
However, I was made mindful of McNamaras Fallacy mentioned earlier that something
may exist without it being easy to measure.
Turning to transactional leadership, in the factor analysis, two transactional factors
emerged. These were the two faces of contingent reinforcement: contingent reward and
contingent aversive reinforcement (relabeled management-by-exception).
Contingent reward sopped up 7.2% of the variance among the correlations of the
73 items of the questionnaire. The highest loaded items were Tells me what to do if
I want to be rewarded for my efforts, with a mean of 1.47, and There is close agreement
between what I am expected to put into the group effort and what I can get out of
it, with a mean of 1.68. (Both means were between once in a while and sometimes).
Management-by-Exception was illustrated by the items As long as the old ways work,
he/she is satisfied with my performance (mean = 1.91) and He or she is content to
let me continue doing my job in the same way as always (mean = 2.12).
Finally, again abandoning pure empiricism, I identified a correlated cluster of items
which in meaning denoted the avoidance of leadership. This laissez-faire leadership was
illustrated by statements such as: takes no action even when problems become chronic
and is absent when needed.
Some revising of the factor structure and clusters came with subsequent factor studies.
With a sample of Federal Express managers, Hater and Bass (1988) found it factorially
valid to split management-by-exception into an active factor (e.g., He or she arranges
to know when things go wrong) and a passive factor (e.g., He or she subscribes to
the belief that if it aint broken, dont fix it.)
Hoover (1987) did likewise for Methodist ministers, and Yammarino and Bass (1990),
for junior Naval officers. In continued military work, Yammarino and Bass (1990) also
split contingent reward into promises (e.g., clarifies what I will get if I succeed) and
rewards (e.g., gives me what I want in exchange for showing my support for him/
her.)
Some factor studies, such as of Air Force officers at Maxwell Field, emerged with
only a single factor of charisma or transformational leadership. This is more likely to
happen when short scales are used, and I can only agree that the transformational
factors, particularly inspirational motivation and charisma, are highly intercorrelated.
But the three factors (charisma, intellectual stimulation, and individualized
consideration) emerge in repeated studies using principal components factor analysis
and where partial least squares (PLS) analysis is employed (Howell & Avolio, 1993).
The utility of the conceptual distinctions outweigh the fuzzy quantitative structure.
This becomes apparent in training. Trainees can learn a lot about how to be more
inspirational; they have a harder time authentically reinventing themselves as
charismatic leaders. They can concentrate on being more individually considerate
without affecting to what extent they are intellectually stimulating.
The questionnaire became the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Bass & Avolio,
1990b), which underwent continuing official revisions and special versions from MLQ
1 to MLQ 11 and countless unofficial ones. Some, like MLQs 2 and 6, were short forms.
MLQ 11 is a military version. Experimental Form MLQ 5x attempted for theoretical
reasons to expand coverage to include attributed charisma. Most recently, the lower
reliability of the IO-item laissez-faire leadership of MLQ Form 5 was finally accounted
for. An unpublished factor analysis of the IO-item scale of Form 5 completed by
Transformational Leadership Redux 473
colleagues of community leaders showed two distinct factors: laissez-faire and
empowering (e.g., avoids telling me how to do my job).
Each revision usually took advantage of factor studies of its immediate predecessor
and new research findings. Normative results and computerized feedback were
introduced (Bass & Avolio, 1990a). Translations have appeared in French, Spanish,
Italian, German, Dutch, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.
Criticism began early in the development of the theory and measurement, beginning
with So whats different about transformational leadership and initiation-
consideration? Among the theoretically relevant points that we made (Bass & Avolio,
1993) in refuting these criticisms were the following:
l To the criticism that the MLQ was measuring attributes and effects, not behaviors,
we replied that most of what we currently measure with the MLQ are behaviors. Only
a few items are attributions and effects. But, particularly when assessing charisma, it
remains essential to also measure some attributions and effects on followers, in order
to achieve a full appreciation of the phenomenon of transformational leadership.
l To the criticism that the factors of transformational leadership are correlated,
we argued that the factor structure is empirically supportable. Even as we cross cultures,
the structure remains. Norms on the factors may vary; some behaviors may become
inappropriate. For instance, in Japan, contingent reward is more implicit than explicit.
Nevertheless, the overall factor structure continues to provide a meaningful framework
(Bass, in press)
l While charisma (or idealized influence) is the largest component in
transformational leadership, other components are important theoretically and
practically as they deal with different behaviors, attributions, and effects such as
individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation. The abusive, abrasive,
charismatic leader does not exhibit the same amount of individualized consideration
as does the warm, socially concerned charismatic. The knowledge, skills, and abilities
that may help one become more intellectually stimulating may be unconnected to ones
individualized consideration.
l I ndividualized consideration is conceptually distinct from LBDQ consideration
although empirically correlated with it. Seltzer and Bass (1990) reported a correlation
of .69. LBDQ consideration focuses on friendliness, approachability, and participative
decision-making; individualized consideration focuses on concern for each follower as
an individual and with the followers development. It includes:
knowing your followers needs and raising them to more mature levels . . (and) the
use of delegation to provide opportunities for each follower to self-actualize and to
attain higher standards of moral development. Some leaders can be quite directive rather
than participative in such actions (Bass & Avolio, 1993, p. 64).
l LBDQ initiation and consideration conceptually may substitute for transactional,
but not transformational, leadership, for much additional variance in effectiveness is
accounted for by transformational leadership when multiple regression analyses are
applied. Furthermore, there are:
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highly reliable differences among the conceptions of managers, project supervisors,
CEOs, military officers, principals, and other administrators in the distinctions between
transactional leadership, transformational leadership, LBDQ consideration and
initiation of structure (Bass & Avolio, 1993, p. 65).
l Transformational leaders can be directive or participative, authoritarian, or
democratic. Nelson Mandela is directive when he declares: Forget the past. He can
be participative when he actively supports and involves himself in open, multiracial
consultations and mutual agreements.
l Transformational leadership adds to the contribution of transactional leadership
to effectiveness; transformational leadership does not substitute for transactional
leadership. Numerous empirical studies of this augmentation effect (e.g., Waldman,
Bass, & Yammarino, 1990) support the original theoretical assumption (Bass, 1985).
The best leaders are both transformational and transactional. Franklin Delano
Roosevelt was a consummate politician as well as one of Americas most charismatic
presidents (House, Spangler, & Woyke, 1991).
l To be a transformational leader requires mature moral development (Kuhnert
& Lewis, 1987). Parents moral standards and caring, and their childrens leadership
experiences in school and extracurricular activities, forecast subsequent tendencies of
the children to be more transformational as adult leaders. Avolio and Gibbons (1988)
demonstrated that such life events and experiences help shape individuals to be more
transformational. Thus, industrial executives who were rated by their immediate
subordinates as highly transformational, reported in retrospective interviews that their
parents provided them with difficult challenges but also supported the nascent leaders
efforts whether or not they resulted in success (Gibbons, 1986). Similarly,
transformational community leaders described childhood and adolescent experiences
of caring but challenging parents with high standards and schools to match (Avolio
& Bass, 1994). Yammarino and Bass (1990) noted that those junior naval officers who
were rated as more transformational were more involved in high school sports, especially
team sports.
l Intuitively, teaching and learning about the rules for being constructive and
corrective as a transactional leader should be easy to do. Not as easy, but nevertheless
still doable, are teaching and learning how to be more transformational (Avolio & Bass,
1994). Avolio and 1 routinely collect self-reports, incidents, and collegial ratings from
the workplace to assess the impact of continuing, extensive, and comprehensive training
programs on transformational leadership effectiveness. These Full Range of
Leadership Development programs have already been completed by over 1,000
executives, managers, and administrators in profit and nonprofit organizations.
Followups six months to a year later suggest modest improvements in transformational
leadership, particularly in those components on which participants made plans to
improve. These improvements tend to be accompanied by a reduction in the use of
managing-by-exception (Avolio & Bass, 1994).
Now for the bad news. 1 have been particularly disappointed by the overabundance
of applied research in transformational leadership and the undersupply of basic
research. Let me explain. We have tried to track all published and unpublished studies
Transformational Leadership Redux 475
to maintain the collection of reports, theses, dissertations, and journal articles in our
CLS library. Furthermore by 1991, we were asking all users of the experimental MLQ
5x to send us copies of their results and writings.
On the one hand, of the hundred or so studies to date, a large majority reconfirm
the correlational hierarchy.The transformational factors are usually found to be more
highly correlated with outcomes in effectiveness and satisfaction of colleagues than is
contingent reward. Contingent reward is ordinarily more highly correlated with
outcomes than is managing-by-exception, particularly passive managing-by-exception.
Finally, laissez-faire leadership is almost uniformly negatively correlated with outcomes.
There has been some demonstration of the contributions of transformational leadership
to other criteria such as innovativeness and quality improvement. Nonetheless, there
has been relatively little basic research testing of the many networks of linkages proposed
to explain how transformational leadership works (Bass, 1985). The closest to the
promotion of fundamental understanding with empirical verification has come from
work by Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Morrman, and Fetter (1990), who have shown that
trust is an important intervening construct; by Shamir, House, and Arthur (1993), who
have connected the charismatic behavior of the leader with the self-concept and self-
esteem needs of the follower; and by Howell and Frost (1988), who tested Houses 1976
Theory of Leadership (House, 1977) and found that while initiation but not
consideration could maintain high worker productivity when work group norms
supported such productivity, only charismatic leadership could maintain high
productivity in the face of conflicting low productivity norms.
Other psychometric aspects that have been addressed show the need to consider the
connection between the nonmaterial benefits of contingent reward and individualized
consideration, the cascading of transformational leadership downward in the organiza-
tional hierarchy (Bass, Avolio, Bebb, & Waldman 1987), the relevance of crisis
conditions to charismatic leadership (Rivera, 1994) and the tendency of women to be
more transformational than their male counterparts (Bass & Avolio, in press). However,
empirical examination of explanations of the chains of connections proposed to explain
charismatic leadership, inspirational leadership, intellectual stimulation, and
individualized consideration are still in short supply. I would like to see more research
on: why transformational leadership generates follower commitment, loyalty,
involvement, and performance; why transactional leadership increases follower stress;
what is universal about the paradigm of transactional-transformational leadership and
what is situation-specific; and what thought processes are involved when a leader
attempts to be more transformational.
Curiously, in his quixotic The Age of the Paradox, Handy (1994) was 16 years behind
Burns (1978) in his suggestion that Maslows (1954) hierarchy of needs should be
extended upwards to go beyond ones self-oriented concerns.
Maslow was right when he postulated that there was a hierarchy of needs, that when
you had enough material goods you moved your sights to social prestige and then to
self-realization. Perhaps his hierarchy did not reach far enough. There could be a stage
beyond self-realization, a stage we might call idealization3 the pursuit of an ideal or
a cause that is more than oneself. It is this extra stage that would redeem the self-centered
tone of Maslows thesis, which, for all that it rings true of much of our experience,
has a rather bitter aftertaste (Handy, 1994, p. 275).
476 LEADERSHIP QUARTERLY Vol. 6 No. 4 1995
Burns, of course, had handled this possible bitter aftertaste by describing the
transforming leader as one who not only moves followers up on Maslows hierarchy
but also moves them to transcend their own self-interests. One paradox for us may
be that as we push the transformational process, particularly focusing on development
of followers, we may short-change the transcending of followers self-interests. The
transformational leader needs to do both, by aligning the followers self-interests in
development with the interests of the group, organization or society.
NOTES
1. Presumably, Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, where
body counts were used as measures of battle success.
2. Since one pole of Burns continuum was transactional, for balance, I labeled the other
transformational rather than transforming.
3. Note the choice of term, idealization, which fits well with our substitution of idealized
influence for charisma.
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