Two Decades of Research and Development in Transformational Leadership

by Bernard Bass


The interests of the organization and its members need to be aligned. Such is a task for the transformational leader. In contrast to the transactional leader who practises contingent reinforcement of followers, the transformational leader inspires, intellectually stimulates, and is individually considerate of them. Transformational leadership may be directive or participative. Requiring higher moral development, transformational leadership is recognized universally as a concept. Furthermore, contrary to earlier expectations, women leaders tend to be more transformational than their male counterparts. Although a six-factor model of transformational/ transactional leadership best fits a diversity of samples according to confirmatory factor analyses, whether fewer factors are necessary remains an open question. Another important research question that has only been partially answered is why transformational leadership is more effective than transactional leadership in a wide variety of business, military, industrial, hospital, and educational circumstances.

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