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Literature Review on Transformational Leadership

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Published: Thu, 15 Mar 2018

According to Nicholas and Ghobadian leadership is “ the process of transforming organisations from what they are to what the leader would have them come” (Nicholas and Ghobadian, 2004). In todays environment for any business there is a need of qualified individuals possessing the qualities of leader, more than a supervisor, taking charge of the groups or organisation (1 K)

A review of leadership literature discloses that the early theories were focussing on the behaviour and quality of Leaders on contrast to the later theories which is focussed on the contextual nature of leadership and role of followers. Based on the behaviourial patterns of particular leader leadership can be categorised as – Transformational and charismatic leadership as compared to the classical study of transactional leadership. (2 k)

In the current trend , there is an increasing interest in Transformational leadership. There is also a concern about the progress of delegating power and about the followers responsibility. In the following section we will discuss about different leadership styles and focus on the very demanding leadership style with individualistic views of the successful leaders with a great importance to the development of the management and leadership standards


I have opted to to do a report on transformational leadership style, the reason is transformational leadership style is very successful in recent times in many organisations around the world. Bass( ) suggests , transformational leadership is an act to promote and create interest of the employee in bringing in benefit to the firm, to create knowledge and getting acceptance of the groups target and to motivate the employees to perform ahead of their self-interst. Bontis, distefano and Boehnke (5k)explains transformational leadership pattern as stimulating, training, inspiring, and team-building

Transformational leadership has been successfully tested and also achieved success in many business organisation. There are many evidence for the success and positive outcome of the transformational leadership, later part of this report describes the positive outcome of the transformational leadership in an organisation X. the reseach methodology used in this report is deductive method.

Macgregor Burns proposed transformational leadership , in his researches this style of leadership was used in political science and then after with further developments on this leadership style is being used in organisational psychology. According to burns, transformational leadership theory suggests about the ethics, values, morals and the purpose of human existence in terms of achieving long term organisational goals without compromising on the values.

Burns reflects transformational leadership is the phenomenon where the leaders and the followers move ahead to a higher level of morale and motivation by helping each other. In his literature Burns discusses about the difference between the leadership and management and explained the difference in their characteristics and individual behaviour. Burns argued that there are two main elements of the leadership concept – Transformational leadership and Transactional leadership. Transformational leadership brings positive changes in the performance of the employee in the organisation and to the particular organisation tself. Burns had a firm opinion that transformational leadership style would attempt to redesign the understanding of organisational structure, culture, moral values and would strive to bring a radical change in the employee’s life by enhancing the standard of thinking and their expectetions. Thus transformational leadership brings higher level of commitments from the employee towards the organisation. The second element transactional leadership only has concerns about the work and motivates the employee towards work through monetary benefits.

Avolio, Einstein & Waldman (1998) and Bernard M. Bass (1985) explains that transformational leadership can bring transformational change by the leader’s influencing capabilities. The followers or employees of a transformational leader feels secured and well taken care of their needs and requirements and , trusted and well respected by the management , and also feel that the leader will provide better environmental conditions to work. Under such environment, employees would feel good and also makes the work place more pleasurable, inturn the employees work with extra effort and extend their capabilities beyond their limits. The employees will become more responsible and thus the outputs would be more than the expected one.

There are four elements of Transformational leadership. They are

  1. Charishma/ idealised Influence
  2. Inspirational Motivation
  3. Intellectual Simulation
  4. Individual Consideration.

The Above elements are called as Four I’s of transformational leadership and brief description of these are given below –

Charishma/Idealised Influence : Avolio ( 1998) argues that transformational leaders are gifted ones having a natural ability to influence others with their charishma in an organisation and in public. With their charishma transformational leaders can earn the trust and confidence of their followers . this charishma impregnates a sense of trust and commitment towards the task and well defined vision and sets a mission of the organisation, with a well defined path to follow

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