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A Review of Transformational 1


A Review of Transformational Leadership Models and its linkage

to the Scholarship/Practice/Leadership Model

Grace S. Thomson

University of Phoenix
A Review of Transformational 2

Leadership Theories and the Scholarly/Practice/Leadership Model

The success of organizations is the result of a combination of factors: financial, material

and technological resources, logistics, and human capital. These factors are put together to

achieve the desired goals consistent with the corporate mission. In this context, firms are in

constant seeking of the best individuals who will lead and carry out this journey to success.

These individuals are expected to have special characteristics that ensure that their actions will

turn out into positive results for the organization. These extraordinary individuals are the leaders.

This document will present a discussion of four leadership theories, their similarities and

differences and their relationship with the Scholarship/Practice/Leadership (SPL) model. The

first section of this paper will present the components of the SPL model and the way they

interrelate. The second section will explain the characteristics of four selected leadership theories

using as focal point the behaviors of leaders and their impact on organizational outcomes. The

third section of the document will address how each theory fit within the SPL model. Finally, in

the fourth section this work presents a discussion about contemporary leadership issues and

challenges that might be addressed using the cited leadership theories.

The Scholarship/Practice/Leadership model

The Scholarship/Practice/Leadership (SPL) model is a pertinent framework for the

discussion of leadership styles and outcomes, as it offers a three-fold perspective that leaders

may incorporate in order to be more effective in their organizational performance.

At one hand leaders need to have a scholarly view of the issues that organizations face.

Having a scholarly view means applying critical thinking when making decisions. Critical

thinking is defined as “skillful, responsible thinking that facilitates good judgment” (Lipman,

2002). By using critical thinking, leaders are able to critically analyze theories and methods that
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could be useful to address a problem in their organizations, and beyond that they will have the

ability to think about their own thinking process and self-correct it, in order to develop effective

criteria for their decisions (Lipman, 2002)

On the other hand leaders have to show ability to incorporate these views in a practical

way. They then become practitioners who connect the results of their research to their practice,

challenging their assumptions and triggering new ideas to change their strategies and actions

(Winter, Griffiths & Green, 2000). Scholarly work offers innovative insights and facilitates a

clear articulation between research and practice, adding value to the performance of practitioners

and leaders (Winter et al., 2000, p.32). The SPL model offers a relevant framework to analyze

the impact of leadership theories and their fit to the model.

Leadership theories

The leadership literature is extensively rich of theories, models and research approaches.

Some authors have classified these theories using different criteria. Clawson (2006) for example,

identified 26 models and theories within six research approaches: (1) trait approach (2) behavior

approach (3) power and influence (4) situational approach (5) charismatic approach, and (6)

transformational approach. An expansion of this list is included in Appendix A.

This document will address four of these theories and models, comparing them based on

characteristics of leadership behavior and leadership outcomes. The theories and models chosen

are: House’s Theory of Charismatic Leadership, Bass’s Theory of Transformational Leadership,

Bass’s Transactional Leadership Theory, a short reference to the integrative Full-Range

Leadership Theory model (FRLT) and Schein’s model of organizational culture and leadership.

House’s Theory of Charismatic Leadership

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House’s theory of charismatic leadership had its origin in Weber’s work (1947). House’s

view contrasted the former Weberian view characterized by high power, low affiliation and

demanding responsibilities that followers had to fulfill (Antonakis & House, 2002). House

(1976) presented an alternate view of charisma which he called organizational charisma where

the core element was “an extraordinary relationship between an individual (leader) and others

(followers) based on shared deeply-held ideological values” (House, 1999).

In 1997, House introduced the Neo-Charismatic Leadership Paradigm (NLP) to explain

how leaders lead organizations to accomplish extraordinary results in critical situations, and how

they obtain overwhelming followership (House, 1999). House identified five behaviors of a

charismatic leader: (1) goal articulation, (2) role modeling, (3) image modeling, (4) high

expectations and (5) confidence in the followers.

House’s theory has been criticized for the apparent limited scope of action restricted to

the leader/follower interaction, however, House showed that charismatic leaders possessed

consistent communication skills that influenced their followers’ beliefs in different contexts,

whether it was a nation or a corporation’s agenda (Fiol, Harris and House, 1999).

In a contemporary approach Kim, Danserau & Kim (2002) used the five behaviors stated

by House and correlated them with three dimensions of behavior of charismatic leaders: (a)

vision-related behavior, (b) personal behavior and (c) empowering behavior.

The concept of charisma and the five behaviors of charismatic leaders were later used by

transformational leadership theorists to explain the concept of idealized influence as one

predictor of leadership effectiveness (Antonakis & House, 2002). Charisma and vision become

common elements in both transformational and charismatic leadership theories, however, the

different factor is the inclusion of organizational climate missing in the transformational theory

and included in the Charismatic model. Other of the limitations of House’s theory is the absence
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of discussion about how charismatic leaders achieve specific goals in their organizations, which

is an element present in the transactional theory of leadership. An indirect reunion of

transactional and charismatic leadership styles occurs when Bass proposes the Full-Range

Leadership Theory addressed in the following sections.

Bass’s Theory of Transformational Leadership

The transformational leadership theory originated with the work of Burns (1978) and was

later supported by the research of Bass (1985), Tichy & Devanna (1990), Shamir (1993), Kark &

Shamir (2002), Conger and Kanungo (1998) and others (Antonakis & House, 2002).

Bass (1985) made the original concept of Burns’s about transformational leadership more

operational. Bass and Avolio (1998) created a set of five categories based on Bass (1985) to

characterize a transformational leader: (a) idealized influence or attributed charisma, (b)

idealized influence or behavioral charisma, (c) inspirational motivation, (d) intellectual

stimulation and (e) individualized consideration (Antonakis & House, 2002).

Idealized influence or attributed charisma is the emotional component of leaders’

behavior that moves followers from their self-interest to a major purpose. Idealized influence or

behavioral charisma is the leader’s sense of mission that drives the ethics and moral of the

followers. Inspirational motivation is an intangible behavior that impresses confidence to reach

the unreachable. Intellectual stimulation is what makes leaders challenge the status quo and

influences the intellect of the followers. Lastly, individualized consideration ensures that leaders

become coaches and counselors to their followers (Bryant, 2003).

The transformation is triggered by these five behaviors that “raise followers’ awareness

of the significance of designated outcomes and gets them to transcend their self-interests for the

good of the organization” (Wittington, 2004) provoking a dual effect on behavior and

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The similarities of transformational leadership and charismatic leadership are expressed

by the inclusion of the concept of charisma, inspiration, and stimulation as behaviors of

transformational leaders. However, they differ because charismatic leadership has a sociological

component derived from the original Weberian proposal. Criticisms to the model relate to the

apparent absence of organizational context as a relevant factor in leadership effectiveness,

however, Bass (1998) has proved the validity of the model in different settings, especially in

organizations in crisis where transformational leaders are needed to challenge the status quo

(Antonakis & House, 2002). Another important criticism related to the incapability of

transformational leaders to make their followers meet certain outcomes, an attribute of

transactional leaders. Bass and Avolio (1994, 1997) would create the Full-Range Leadership

Theory (FRLT) to respond to these observations.

Bass’s Transactional Leadership Theory

The study of transactional leadership was introduced by James MacGregor Burns in

1978. The basis of this theory is the relationship between leaders and followers, which is

supported by exchanges or contingent rewards defined by the leader to praise accomplishments

(Whittington, 2004).

Bass (1985) and Bass & Avolio (1997) expanded Burns’s theory and defined

characteristics of this transactional relationship, proposing three styles of leadership: (a)

contingent reward leadership, (b) management by exception (active) and (c) management by

exception (passive). Contingent reward leadership is based on a constructive transaction between

followers and leaders where leaders clarify the roles and desired outcomes of the process

motivating them to meet these outcomes contingent to a reward. Management by exception

(active) is a relationship where leaders monitor any deviations from the norm and focus on errors

and mistakes acting appropriately to solve the problems. Lastly, management by exception
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(passive) operates by acting on errors or mistakes only when they occur (Antonakis & House,


Bass (1998) argued that management by exception (active) appeared necessary in risky

situations where the correction of errors was necessary to meet the outcomes. However, an

overuse of this style might create dissatisfaction and stress in the followers. Management by

exception (passive) has been found effective in cases when leaders had to supervise large number

of followers. Transactional leadership may be prevalent in organizations where activities are

performed as a routine or in poorly structured organizations where leaders are needed to create

policies and procedures (Antonakis & House, 2002).

The most severe criticisms to this leadership style relate to the limited motivation it has in

creative followers. Even though pre-determined goal helps followers to stay focused on its

achievement, it might discourage extra efforts as these would not be rewarded (Bryant, 2003). In

such cases a transformational leadership style that praises creativity and outstanding performance

is more suitable to reinforce the performance of these creative individuals (Spinelli, 2005).

In 1988 Bass proposed that transactional and transformational leadership competencies

could be integrated in a different model. This expansion opposed Burns’s position who viewed

transformational and transactional leadership as substitutes (Spinelli, 2005).

The full-range leadership theory (FRLT) model.

Bass and Avolio (1994, 1997) developed the Full Range Leadership Theory (FRLT)

integrating nine leadership factors taken from the transformational and transactional style, to

enhance the effectiveness of leaders. Table 1 shows five factors (scales) related to

transformational leadership, three factors related to transactional leadership and one related to

non-leadership (Laissez-Faire) that make this model operational.

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Table 1 Full-Range Leadership Theory. Components of the Bass & Avolio (1997) Model

Leadership Leadership scales of FRLT

Transformational 1. Idealized influence or attributed charisma
Leadership 2. Idealized influence or behavioral charisma
3. Inspirational motivation
4. Intellectual stimulation
5. Individualized consideration
Transactional 6. Contingent Reward
Leadership 7. Management by exception (passive)
8. Management by exception (active)
Laissez-Faire 9. Laissez-Faire

Studies conducted by Bass and Avolio (1997) show strong positive correlations between

transformational and contingent reward scales and effectiveness, and negative or zero

correlations for the controlling styles of transactional leadership and laissez faire and

effectiveness (Spinelli, 2005). Bass proposes that effective leaders use both transformational and

transactional competencies with the following hierarchy of frequency: Transformational,

contingent reward, management by exception active, management by exception (passive) and in

rare cases, laissez-faire (Antonakis & House, 2002)

Yukl (1999) has strongly criticized the transformational model because of the overlap

between individualized consideration and inspirational behavior. Beyer and Yukl (1999) have

also argued the confusion created by the model when concepts such as charismatic, visionary and

transformational are used indistinctly (Khatri, 2005).

Schein’s Model of organizational culture and leadership

This model of leadership is based on the premise that a leader is a culture manager whose

leadership style is a two-fold function of the stages of organizational development and strategic

issues (Schein, 2003). Schein makes a distinction of leadership styles in different stages of the
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organization. In growing organizations the leader is a culture creator, whereas in the midlife

stage leaders are culture enhancers and supporters; in maturity, leaders are who renew the

cultural paradigms and search for new values (Schein, 2003).

Schein argues that new leaders coming in organizations have to learn to notice changes in

the organization and find ways to address them before attempting to change the culture. In this

sense Schein views leaders as perpetual learners who are required to meet the following

expectations: (1) New perception and insights; (2) Motivation, (3) emotional strength, (4) skills

in analyzing and changing assumptions, (5) involve others and (6) learn the insights of the

organization (Schein, 2003)

The model proposed by Schein appears flexible and dynamic enough to address the

influence of information age in the development of effective leaders. Using an extensive research

in American corporations during the 70s and 80s, Schein concluded that the main role of a leader

-a learning leader for that matter- is to be aware of changes and be able to guide the organization

at the same speed of information and changes in technology (Schein, 2003).

Schein bases most of his assertions in the theory of transformational leadership and in the

charismatic leadership style (Schein, 2003). The expectations about learning leaders include

elements of motivation and emotional strength that are similar to the elements of inspirational

motivation included in Bass’s theory and charisma and inspiration included in House’s

charismatic theory (Antonakis & House, 2002). An element that is not clear in Schein’s theory is

how a cultural manager (leader) plans and designs strategies to achieve specific outcomes. What

is visible in Schein’s Theory is the inclusion of the organizational context, the global context and

the inclusion of contemporary issues that other theories do not have (Schein, 2003).

The Scholarship/Practice/Leadership (SPL) Model and Leadership Theories

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Each of the leadership theories addressed in this document has important implications in

the SPL model in a dual manner. First, the adaptability of the SPL model provides leaders with a

three-fold perspective to assess the impact of leadership theories in their own performance.

Second, the leadership theories receive potential effect from the SPL model, when

leaders/scholars/practitioners reflect, challenge and propose new theories. Appendix B presents a

proposal of attributes of scholars, practitioners and leaders critically derived from the articles

used in this document.

This section presents an analysis of the leadership theories from the three-fold

perspective of SPL.

Charismatic Leadership Theory and the SPL model

The inspiring vision of the charismatic theory allows leaders to exercise profound

changes in their followers to accomplish success in their organizations (House, 1999). A leader

with scholarly view possesses critical thinking skills that assist in determining the limitations of

the charismatic approach for cases where inspiration has to be complemented by measurable

outcomes (Fiol, Harris, House, 1999).

Transformational leadership theory and the SPL model

Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that fosters freedom of creativity.

Creativity, innovation and self-motivation are characteristics of knowledge workers that make

them very difficult to deal with. Transformational leaders are the perfect fit for these cases

(Bryant, 2003). When leaders are also scholars and active practitioners of their fields of

expertise, they are able to recognize these individual needs.

Transactional leadership theory and the SPL model

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Transactional leadership is a style that stresses the importance of rewards and detailed

goals to ensure that followers meet predetermined outcomes. This was reflected in a study

conducted in 2004 in a hospital in Pennsylvania that tested the perceptions of 150 subordinate

managers about their CEOs leadership style using FRLT. The results replicated the findings of

Bass & Avolio (1997). The author used his role as a leader and a practitioner in Healthcare to

identify leaders that had both transactional and transformational characteristics (Spinelli, 2005).

Schein’s model of organization culture and leadership

Schein affirms that leaders are culture managers, able to adapt to the changing

environment and the leaps in cultural settings. In his work, Schein cites Atari and the failed

attempt of their new president – marketing executive from the food industry- a transactional

leader who used incentives to elicit profitable inventive ideas from the engineers. What he did

not know is that in computing fields, team work is the common culture and not individual

protagonists (Schein, 2003). He could have been more successful by using a scholarly approach

to learn about the new organization, and adapt his practitioner expertise to the new setting.

Leaders who are scholars are able to identify opportunities of research and enhance the

results of models, or propose new theoretical models that respond to the development of the


Leadership Theories and Contemporary Leadership Issues and Challenges

The four theories cited in this document have the potential to face the following

contemporary leadership issues and challenges successfully:


Organizations have to be ready to face aggressive competitiveness and globalization of

their markets. Leaders and managers will be not only responsible for comparing their end-of-year
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results to their own record, but to their competitors' (Schein, 1990). This requires both

transactional and transformational styles to manage internal changes, and a combination of

culture management to open the organization to new markets, as proposed by Schein.

Information age

The relevance of the Internet and virtual work teams as a new culture of the organizations

will create an impact in leaders (Bryant, 2003). Studies conducted in knowledge-based

organizations, especially in the information technology and computer-related fields, show that

transformational leadership is an appropriate style to stimulate creativity and innovation (Bryant,

2003). A clear example of this is Michael Dell and his inspiring vision that drives his company in

a dynamic industry generating $5 billion per year for Dell (Tichy & DeVanna, 1990).

Corporate Governance and pressures in accountability

Changes in corporate governance and levels of accountability arisen after Enron and

Worldcom’s scandals for the past seven years have provoked changes in the profile of managers.

Now, CEOs need to have a combination of transformational style to reduce the tensions created

at all levels of management, and a transactional style to work with followers in meeting the

organizational goals of profit (Tichy & Devanna, 1990).


The goals of the organizations expressed in profits, growth in the market, or innovation

are met through a combination of resources that are organized and mobilized by leaders.

Leadership theorists have proposed a myriad of characteristics, behaviors and styles to profile

effective leaders. Leadership is a dynamic concept, is about transformation, inspiration, vision,

goals, cultural adaptation, and knowledge. Leadership styles change with the type of
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organization, the characteristics of followership, the relationship between followers and leaders,

the resources used to generate actions from the followers and environmental factors.

This document presented a discussion of four leadership theories: Charismatic,

transformational, transactional and organizational culture and leadership and provided an

explanation of how they fit into the Scholarship/Practice/Leadership (SPL) model. The SPL

model offers leaders a tri-fold perspective of their role in the successful achievement of

organizational goals, by providing them with critical thinking skills to objectively analyze

leadership theories, reflect on their adaptability and choose from the different styles the one or

ones that pertain to their reality or practice.

Leaders who have assumed their role as scholars have the possibility to augment current

theories and propose new ways to impact their followers, their behavior and their performance.

Leaders who have additionally incorporated their practitioner side to their leadership style are

more adaptive to change by using the findings of existing research to improve their performance.

Due to the changes that contemporary organizations face, such as globalization and

strong competition, technology advances and corporate governance, leaders have to use their

different leadership styles to adapt to these changes and guide their followers to an enhanced

state of well being.

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Antonakis, J. & House, R. (2002). The Full-Range Leadership Theory: The way forward.

Transformational and charismatic leadership: The road ahead. New York: Elsevier.

Bryant, S. (2003). The role of transformational and transactional leadership in creating, sharing

and exploiting organizational knowledge. The Journal of Leadership and Organizational

Studies, 9 (4). Retrieved April 15, 2007, from EBSCOhost database.

Clawson, J.G. (2006). Level Three leadership. Getting below the surface (3rd. edition). Upper

Saddle River: Pearson.

Fiol, M., Harris, D., & House, R.(1999). Charismatic leadership: Strategies for effecting social

change. Leadership quarterly, 10(3), 449-482. Retrieved April 13, 2007, from

EBSCOhost database.

House, R. (1999). Weber and the neo-charismatic leadership paradigm: A response to Beyer.

Leadership quarterly,10 (4), 563-574. Retrieved April 13, 2007 from EBSCOhost


Kark, R. & Shamir, B.(2002). The dual effect of transformational leadership: priming relational

and collective selves and further effects on followers. Transformational and charismatic

leadership: The road ahead. New York: Elsevier.

Khatri, N. (2005). An alternative model of transformational leadership. The Journal of Business

Perspective, 9(2). Retrieved April 13 2007 from EBSCOhost database.

Kim, K., Dansereau, F. & Kim, I.(2002). Extending the concept of charismatic leadership: An

illustration using Bass's (1990) categories. Transformational and Charismatic

Leadership: The road ahead. F.J. New York. Elsevier.

Kinkead, C. (2006). Transformational leadership: A practice needed for first-year success.

Online Submission, 14. Retrieved April 5, 2007 from EBSCOhost database.

Leadership Theories 15

Lipman, M. (1995). Critical thinking: What can it be? In A. L. Ornstein, & L. S. Behar (Eds.),

Contemporary issues in curriculum. Retrieved April 12, 2007 from EBSCOhost.

McFadden, Ch., Eakin, R., et al.(2005). Major approaches to the study of leadership. Academic

Exchange Quarterly, Summer, p. 71. Retrieved April 5, 2007 from Thomson Gale

PowerSearch database.

Schein, E. (2003). The learning leader as culture manager. Business Leadership: A Jossey-Bass

reader. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass.

Spinelli, R. (2005). The Applicability of Bass’s Model of Transformational, Transactional, and

Laissez-Fair Leadership in the Hospital Administrative Environment. Hospital Topics.

Retrieved April 13, 2007 from EBSCOhost database.

Tichy, N.M. & Devanna, M.A.(1990). The transformational leader. New York: John Wiley &


Winter, R., & Griffiths, M. (2000). The academic qualities of practice: What are the criteria for a

practice-based PhD? Studies in Higher Education 25, 1-13.

Wittington, J.L. (2004). Corporate executives as beleaguered rulers: The leader’s motive matters.

Problems and Perspectives in Management, (3). Retrieved February 15, 2007 from

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Appendix A

Clawson’s classification of leadership theories based on research approach

1. Trait approach (2): The Great Man Theory of Leadership, Stogdill's Leadership Traits,

2. Behavior approach (5): Mintzberg's Ten Managerial Roles, Kotter's Leadership factor,

Stewart's Three-part Theory of Management, Kouzes and Posner's Leadership Challenge,

Results-Focused Leadership.

3. Power and Influence approach (5): Two faces of power, Winter's Theory of Leadership,

The West Point Way of Leadership, Social Exchange Theory, Strategic Contingencies


4. Situational approach 6): Hersey and Blanchard's Situational Theory of Leadership,

House's Path-Goal Theory of Leadership, Fiedler's Contingency Model of Leadership,

Leadership Substitutes Theory, The Multiple-Linkage Model, Cognitive Resources Theory.

5. Charismatic approach (3): House's Theory of Charismatic Leadership, Attribution Theory

of Charisma, Self-Concept Theory of Charismatic Leadership.

6. Transformational approach (5): Warren Bennis's Theory of Leadership, James McGregor

Burns's Theory of Leadership, Bass's Theory of Transformational Leadership, Tichy and

Devanna's Transformational Leadership process, Schein's Model of Organizational Culture

and Leadership.
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Appendix B

Table 2 Proposed attributes of scholars, practitioners and leaders in the Business


Based on leadership theories

Attributes of a scholar Attributes of a practitioner Attributes of a leader

(Faculty and manager)
Analytical Constant developer of skills for Agent of change
the job
Collaboration Constant learner Challenging
Commitment Globally-oriented Charismatic
Constant learner Goal achiever Coach
Critical thinker High standards of performance Constant learner
Effective communicator Organizer Driven
Globally-oriented Outgoing Empowering
Highly-Cognitive skills Planner Globally-oriented
Inquisitional spirit Problem –solver Honest
Objective Profit-seeker Inspiring
Open to new knowledge Responsible for learning process Intellectual
Persistence Results-oriented Risk-taker
Team worker Skilled Role model
Team worker Self-determined