Transformational transactional and autocratic leadership styles

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1st Jan 1970 Management Reference this

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This section has contrast and comparison of transformational, transactional and autocratic leadership styles. Transformational leader motivate and inspires his team to perform tasks and to achieve the desired goal. On the other hand transactional leadership portrays direct and effective leadership style, the direct authority given to the leader with regards to punishing and rewarding team members depending on the results of the project.

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On the contrary, autocratic leadership is characterized by individual control over all decisions and little input from group members. It is also known as authoritarian leadership. Autocratic leaders typically make choices based on their own ideas and judgements and rarely accept advice from followers. It involves absolute authoritarian control over a group.

Transformational leadership is a commitment to a vision and empowering others to achieve that vision (burns, 1978).It is a primary style of leading .Efficiency and motives are mandatory for transformational leadership include a commitment to a change as a process, ability to reconceptualize systems, to build networks and tolerance to complexity. In contrast to transformational leadership, transactional leadership is aimed at maintaining equilibrium or the status quo, by performing work according to the policy and procedures, maximizing self interests and personal rewards, emphasizing, interpersonal dependence and routinizing performance.

Authentic transformational leadership is grounded in moral foundations that are based on idealized influence by developing a vision, inspirational motivation by creating high expectations, intellectual stimulation and individualized considration by giving personal attention to followers (bass and avolio, 1994).Apart from that involvement of team members encourages reciprocal clarification of objectives and specification of mutually helpful work process. Transformational leadership is particularly relevant for complex and complicated environments such as healthcare where change is essentially the norm (plsek and greenholgh, 2001).

According to burns transactional leader approaches followers with an eye to exchanging one thing for another, but the transformational leader recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower, and looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs and engages the full person of the follower. On the flip side, autocratic leaders always promote the one sided conversation that restricts the creative and leadership skills of employees which can affect the outcomes of project. It is also believed that an autocratic leader hinders socialization and workplace communication, which can cause disagreements and conflicts.

The most effective factor of the leadership is that a leader should be more energetic, enthusiastic and passionate about his work, concerned and involved in the process and also focused on helping the group members to get success. It is true that great things have been achieved through perfect and accurate leadership. In the process of leadership such leaders become strong role models and encourage followers to emulate them. In transformational leadership, “leaders and followers make each other to advance to a higher level of moral and motivation” (burns 1978).

The major policy of transformational leader is to impart a strong vision that inspires followers to change expectations, perception and motivation of work to accomplish the goals. Transformational leaders are said to engender trust, admiration, loyalty and respect amongst their followers (Barbuto, 2005).It is also based on self reflective changing of values and beliefs by the leader and their followers. Transformational leaders are people who can create significant change in both followers and the organization with which they are associated (griffin, 2003). They lead changes in mission, strategy, structure and culture, in part through a focus on intangible qualities like vision, shared values and ideas, and relationship building. Transformational leaders also find common ground that allows them to enlist followers in processes of change. As every leadership style has both positive and negative aspects. The positive feature of transformational leadership is that, it is very useful in health care area like hospitals and NHS’s. It can be very helpful for fresher staff on practice and also for students on training. Transformational leaders provide guidance, motivation and encouragement about their practice which can assist them to enhance their perception regarding workplace and advanced care work. The leaders create an environment where they can feel comfortable and facilitate them to communicate their concerns about practice and also articulate their viewpoints which can be obliged in research practice. “Leaders have ability to generate enthusiasm and draw people together around a vision through self confidence”(Fisher, 2009).

The negative part of transformational leadership is that, some leaders may have narcissistic inclinations, flourishing on power and manipulation. Moreover, some followers may have dependent characters and form strong and unfortunate bonds with their leaders (stone, Russell and Patterson, 2003). It can create conflicts between the leader and followers which can affect the results. The morality of transformational leadership has been questioned, especially by libertarians and organizational development consultants (Griffin, 2003).A key criticism is that within it transformational leadership has potential for the abuse of power (Hall, Johnson, Wysocki and Kepner 2002).

In transactional leadership, the leader pursues a cost benefit, economic exchange to met subordinates current material and psychic needs in return for “contracted” services rendered by the subordinates (Bass). As exactly said by Bass – “the transactional leaders work within the organizational culture as it exists; the transformational leader changes the organizational culture”. Transformational leader trusts that people rise higher and learn more through positive inspiration than negative inspiration. In autocratic leadership, autocracy thoughts mostly come from great man theories of leadership. This approach stresses the greatness and authority of the leader that inspires subordinates. Transactional leaders bond the target to rewards, provide mandatory assets, illuminate expectations and provide different kinds of rewards for their victorious performance. They set specific, assessable, achievable, practical and appropriate goals for their subordinates. The leader actively observes the work of subordinates, monitor for divergence from rules and standards and take suitable action to prevent mistakes.

The autocratic leadership has also been some positive and negative traits. It can be more beneficial in some instances, such as when decision need to be made quickly without consulting with a large group of people. Some projects require strong leadership in order to get things accomplished quickly and efficiently and when leader’s power has been challenged by the followers. It is also the fact that decision making becomes more fast and simple in autocratic leadership, as the leaders don’t have to convince or discuss with anybody. In such circumstances, people always favour the ability to be told what do next. According to Money Zine, “In fact, in times of stress or emergency, some subordinates may actually prefer an autocratic style-they prefer to be told exactly what to do, the autocratic leadership style is very effective when times are stressful.” For an example, in hospital practice area, in emergency situations doctor needs to take appropriate action to save the life of patient. At that time the whole responsibility is of the doctor and he should have all the qualities of an autocratic leader by which he can provide the suitable command to his team and protect the precious life of patient. In many work settings long discussions have no place and this form of leadership limits arguments. It allows subordinates to have one task and work on it, by which employees can get proficiency to develop the company.

The negative attributes of the autocratic leadership is that the leader usually prefer one side conversation and act as Hitler to order the work assignments. As the leader has all the power there is a chance that he can use his employees. This leadership style can create an environment of fear, offence and absenteeism. According to Money Zine, “The communication style of an autocratic leader is usually described as one way. They tell u exactly what they want done.” The pleasant work environment is very necessary, where everyone is friendly.

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According to leithwood, “transformational leadership is that which facilitates of a redefinition people’s task and vision, a renewal of their commitment and the reorganization of their systems for goal accomplishment. It is a relationship of mutual stimulation and altitude that converts followers into leaders and may converts leaders into moral agents.” Transformational leadership promotes capacity expansion and obtains higher levels of personal obligation amongst ‘followers’ for organizational purpose. Transactional leaders use different type of rewards to swap over followers and this compliance only develop follower’s extrinsic motivations and extrinsic contingent rewards probably decrease the intrinsic incentives. Whereas transformational leaders who motivate followers based on social exchange and use economic exchange to complement leadership practices develop followers’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivations (Cardona, 2000). Moreover transformational leaders use flexible authority, strategies as inspirational appeals and ingratiation, as well as hard tactics, such as barter and power, is more useful in motivating subordinates than transactional leaders use only hard plans. Meta-analytical evidence supports the generalizable findings that transformational leadership is more effective, productive, innovative, and satisfying to followers than is transactional leadership (Lowe, Kroeck & Sivasubrahmaniam, 1996).

The transactional leaders are very effective in providing guidance on competency resolutions which are intended to improving productivity and cutting costs. The relationship of transactional leader with their followers inclined to be temporary and not based on affecting bonds. On the opposite the transformational leaders encourage followers by tempting to strong emotions in spite of the definitive effect on the followers and do not inevitably attend to the positive moral values. The transactional leadership works in most of the cases where it’s provided and the subordinates are motivated by rewards. If the leader of the hierarchy has a strong personality and proficient enough to make important decisions, this verified compliance policy works best for them. For example, subordinates in clinical practice under the transactional leader, work efficiently to get rewards and in the race of getting rewards their skills might be improved. Rewards could be of any type like increment of wages or extra bonus or emotional encouragement etc. Private notes of congratulation to successful followers can also help foster self confidence (Eric, 1992)

The autocratic leadership style is quite different than transformational and transactional leadership. The autocratic leadership style works well during group projects. Many group projects are inclined to fail because members of the group depend on each other to take decisions; here the autocratic leader takes appropriate resolution in the favour of organization. Otherwise this leadership style always criticized by the followers. Some of the autocratic leaders who have caused fear in people’s mind because of their dangerous activities are: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Martha Stewart and Howell Raines. On the other hand, transformational leadership lacks the checks and balances of countervailing interests, influences and power that might help to avoid dictatorship and oppression of a minority by a majority (Bass, 1997). Apart from that a powerful transactional leader always found everything favourable to his way. And when people get used to doing things just the way they are told, what and only as much they are told, their thinking and imagination power stopped working. It will be tough to find new leaders from the lower starters of power hierarchy and it can create stressful work settings. Output can be maintained but originality and breakthroughs will be hard to find.

The transformational leadership style is similar to the charismatic leadership, because these leaders are very active and encourage their subordinates with lot of passion towards the goal. Transformational leadership is a part of the new leadership concept, which gives more interest to the charismatic and affective fundamentals of leadership. Transformational leader have an excellent power of influence that helps followers to achieve more than the leader expect from them. For example, Gronn(1996) remarks on the close relationship between charismatic and transformational leadership while pointing out the absence of notions of charisma in some work transformational leadership (Crawford, Gould & Scott, 2003). There is an argument that transformational leadership is facilitative of change because it contributes to organizational development, success and institutional culture (Barnett, McCormick & Conners, 2001).It is said that “To bring about change, authentic transformational leadership promotes the moral values of integrity, devotion and fairness, as well as the end values of justice, equality, and human rights” (Griffin, 2003, p. 8). Moreover, both transactional and transformational leaders are conscious about the correlation between an attempt and remuneration, their leadership is approachable and its basic concept is to dealing the present issues and leadership is depend on the leader’s authority to support followers for their achievements. Besides it, the transactional leadership focuses on situational power, politics and benefits. It include principles, but characteristically those are essential for successful swap connections (for example, mutuality, honesty). According to Jim Barrett, “In any situation the leader is the one who is the initiator.”

The advantages and disadvantages of autocratic leadership are understandable for certain circumstances. For example, organization needs a strong leader to make fast and right decision in emergency conditions. Though, in less stressful situations, it may be better to discuss on topic before taking action. Sometimes, autocratic leaders have better ideas and adopting this leadership style can lead to the success of the company. However, in most cases it has some undesirable effects like, it is said that autocratic leadership is only accepted when need emerges and these leaders cannot remain popular for more time among their followers. Consequently, autocratic leadership frequently leads to increased absenteeism and staff turnover, which can decrease the productivity and progress of company. In addition to it, transactional leaders inspire followers by alluring to their own self- interest and transformational leaders encourage the followers to transcend their own interest for the group or company. According to burns (1978), transformational leaders motivate followers to move beyond their self interest and to contribute to the overall vision and success of the organization. By doing so, the followers then meet their need for finding meaning and purpose in their work and may become leaders themselves.

There are some implications about the transactional theory that transactional leaders overstress the short-term goals, rules and procedures. This type of leadership may work well where the organizations have simple and clearly defined problems. The only contract between the leader and followers is the money which followers obtain for their compliance and endeavours and after the completion of contract there is no relationship between the leader and followers. Odom and Green (2003) argue that principles of transformational leadership applied to ethical dilemmas faced by leader offers the prospect of less litigation and better ethical outcomes than the more common transactional approach to ethics. The transactional leadership is not a true leadership style it focus on the short-term goals and limited the innovative work of subordinates.

In comparison to transformational leadership, transactional leadership is looking unsatisfactory but not bad, in prospectively developing the leadership. It provide basis for grown-up connections but leaders should not practice it entirely otherwise it can produce an environment pervaded by authority, position, politics and bonuses. While transformational leaders reveal a wide range of proficiencies, contain both technological and people skills. They are forward looking visionaries, expecting potentials for the organization.

At the end we can say that transformational leadership style is best than autocratic and transactional styles. Through great inspiration, vision, charisma and intellectual stimulation transformational leaders prospectively promote the concert beyond expectations and effect vast changes within subordinates and organization. This leadership style is well-suited to the present issues like ambiguity, universal and organizational instability. . As Carlson and Perrewe (1995, p. 834) observe, major changes in the organization’s mission, strategies and level of follower commitment are likely to emerge as a result of transformational leadership.

This section has contrast and comparison of transformational, transactional and autocratic leadership styles. Transformational leader motivate and inspires his team to perform tasks and to achieve the desired goal. On the other hand transactional leadership portrays direct and effective leadership style, the direct authority given to the leader with regards to punishing and rewarding team members depending on the results of the project.

On the contrary, autocratic leadership is characterized by individual control over all decisions and little input from group members. It is also known as authoritarian leadership. Autocratic leaders typically make choices based on their own ideas and judgements and rarely accept advice from followers. It involves absolute authoritarian control over a group.

Transformational leadership is a commitment to a vision and empowering others to achieve that vision (burns, 1978).It is a primary style of leading .Efficiency and motives are mandatory for transformational leadership include a commitment to a change as a process, ability to reconceptualize systems, to build networks and tolerance to complexity. In contrast to transformational leadership, transactional leadership is aimed at maintaining equilibrium or the status quo, by performing work according to the policy and procedures, maximizing self interests and personal rewards, emphasizing, interpersonal dependence and routinizing performance.

Authentic transformational leadership is grounded in moral foundations that are based on idealized influence by developing a vision, inspirational motivation by creating high expectations, intellectual stimulation and individualized considration by giving personal attention to followers (bass and avolio, 1994).Apart from that involvement of team members encourages reciprocal clarification of objectives and specification of mutually helpful work process. Transformational leadership is particularly relevant for complex and complicated environments such as healthcare where change is essentially the norm (plsek and greenholgh, 2001).

According to burns transactional leader approaches followers with an eye to exchanging one thing for another, but the transformational leader recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower, and looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs and engages the full person of the follower. On the flip side, autocratic leaders always promote the one sided conversation that restricts the creative and leadership skills of employees which can affect the outcomes of project. It is also believed that an autocratic leader hinders socialization and workplace communication, which can cause disagreements and conflicts.

The most effective factor of the leadership is that a leader should be more energetic, enthusiastic and passionate about his work, concerned and involved in the process and also focused on helping the group members to get success. It is true that great things have been achieved through perfect and accurate leadership. In the process of leadership such leaders become strong role models and encourage followers to emulate them. In transformational leadership, “leaders and followers make each other to advance to a higher level of moral and motivation” (burns 1978).

The major policy of transformational leader is to impart a strong vision that inspires followers to change expectations, perception and motivation of work to accomplish the goals. Transformational leaders are said to engender trust, admiration, loyalty and respect amongst their followers (Barbuto, 2005).It is also based on self reflective changing of values and beliefs by the leader and their followers. Transformational leaders are people who can create significant change in both followers and the organization with which they are associated (griffin, 2003). They lead changes in mission, strategy, structure and culture, in part through a focus on intangible qualities like vision, shared values and ideas, and relationship building. Transformational leaders also find common ground that allows them to enlist followers in processes of change. As every leadership style has both positive and negative aspects. The positive feature of transformational leadership is that, it is very useful in health care area like hospitals and NHS’s. It can be very helpful for fresher staff on practice and also for students on training. Transformational leaders provide guidance, motivation and encouragement about their practice which can assist them to enhance their perception regarding workplace and advanced care work. The leaders create an environment where they can feel comfortable and facilitate them to communicate their concerns about practice and also articulate their viewpoints which can be obliged in research practice. “Leaders have ability to generate enthusiasm and draw people together around a vision through self confidence”(Fisher, 2009).

The negative part of transformational leadership is that, some leaders may have narcissistic inclinations, flourishing on power and manipulation. Moreover, some followers may have dependent characters and form strong and unfortunate bonds with their leaders (stone, Russell and Patterson, 2003). It can create conflicts between the leader and followers which can affect the results. The morality of transformational leadership has been questioned, especially by libertarians and organizational development consultants (Griffin, 2003).A key criticism is that within it transformational leadership has potential for the abuse of power (Hall, Johnson, Wysocki and Kepner 2002).

In transactional leadership, the leader pursues a cost benefit, economic exchange to met subordinates current material and psychic needs in return for “contracted” services rendered by the subordinates (Bass). As exactly said by Bass – “the transactional leaders work within the organizational culture as it exists; the transformational leader changes the organizational culture”. Transformational leader trusts that people rise higher and learn more through positive inspiration than negative inspiration. In autocratic leadership, autocracy thoughts mostly come from great man theories of leadership. This approach stresses the greatness and authority of the leader that inspires subordinates. Transactional leaders bond the target to rewards, provide mandatory assets, illuminate expectations and provide different kinds of rewards for their victorious performance. They set specific, assessable, achievable, practical and appropriate goals for their subordinates. The leader actively observes the work of subordinates, monitor for divergence from rules and standards and take suitable action to prevent mistakes.

The autocratic leadership has also been some positive and negative traits. It can be more beneficial in some instances, such as when decision need to be made quickly without consulting with a large group of people. Some projects require strong leadership in order to get things accomplished quickly and efficiently and when leader’s power has been challenged by the followers. It is also the fact that decision making becomes more fast and simple in autocratic leadership, as the leaders don’t have to convince or discuss with anybody. In such circumstances, people always favour the ability to be told what do next. According to Money Zine, “In fact, in times of stress or emergency, some subordinates may actually prefer an autocratic style-they prefer to be told exactly what to do, the autocratic leadership style is very effective when times are stressful.” For an example, in hospital practice area, in emergency situations doctor needs to take appropriate action to save the life of patient. At that time the whole responsibility is of the doctor and he should have all the qualities of an autocratic leader by which he can provide the suitable command to his team and protect the precious life of patient. In many work settings long discussions have no place and this form of leadership limits arguments. It allows subordinates to have one task and work on it, by which employees can get proficiency to develop the company.

The negative attributes of the autocratic leadership is that the leader usually prefer one side conversation and act as Hitler to order the work assignments. As the leader has all the power there is a chance that he can use his employees. This leadership style can create an environment of fear, offence and absenteeism. According to Money Zine, “The communication style of an autocratic leader is usually described as one way. They tell u exactly what they want done.” The pleasant work environment is very necessary, where everyone is friendly.

According to leithwood, “transformational leadership is that which facilitates of a redefinition people’s task and vision, a renewal of their commitment and the reorganization of their systems for goal accomplishment. It is a relationship of mutual stimulation and altitude that converts followers into leaders and may converts leaders into moral agents.” Transformational leadership promotes capacity expansion and obtains higher levels of personal obligation amongst ‘followers’ for organizational purpose. Transactional leaders use different type of rewards to swap over followers and this compliance only develop follower’s extrinsic motivations and extrinsic contingent rewards probably decrease the intrinsic incentives. Whereas transformational leaders who motivate followers based on social exchange and use economic exchange to complement leadership practices develop followers’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivations (Cardona, 2000). Moreover transformational leaders use flexible authority, strategies as inspirational appeals and ingratiation, as well as hard tactics, such as barter and power, is more useful in motivating subordinates than transactional leaders use only hard plans. Meta-analytical evidence supports the generalizable findings that transformational leadership is more effective, productive, innovative, and satisfying to followers than is transactional leadership (Lowe, Kroeck & Sivasubrahmaniam, 1996).

The transactional leaders are very effective in providing guidance on competency resolutions which are intended to improving productivity and cutting costs. The relationship of transactional leader with their followers inclined to be temporary and not based on affecting bonds. On the opposite the transformational leaders encourage followers by tempting to strong emotions in spite of the definitive effect on the followers and do not inevitably attend to the positive moral values. The transactional leadership works in most of the cases where it’s provided and the subordinates are motivated by rewards. If the leader of the hierarchy has a strong personality and proficient enough to make important decisions, this verified compliance policy works best for them. For example, subordinates in clinical practice under the transactional leader, work efficiently to get rewards and in the race of getting rewards their skills might be improved. Rewards could be of any type like increment of wages or extra bonus or emotional encouragement etc. Private notes of congratulation to successful followers can also help foster self confidence (Eric, 1992)

The autocratic leadership style is quite different than transformational and transactional leadership. The autocratic leadership style works well during group projects. Many group projects are inclined to fail because members of the group depend on each other to take decisions; here the autocratic leader takes appropriate resolution in the favour of organization. Otherwise this leadership style always criticized by the followers. Some of the autocratic leaders who have caused fear in people’s mind because of their dangerous activities are: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Martha Stewart and Howell Raines. On the other hand, transformational leadership lacks the checks and balances of countervailing interests, influences and power that might help to avoid dictatorship and oppression of a minority by a majority (Bass, 1997). Apart from that a powerful transactional leader always found everything favourable to his way. And when people get used to doing things just the way they are told, what and only as much they are told, their thinking and imagination power stopped working. It will be tough to find new leaders from the lower starters of power hierarchy and it can create stressful work settings. Output can be maintained but originality and breakthroughs will be hard to find.

The transformational leadership style is similar to the charismatic leadership, because these leaders are very active and encourage their subordinates with lot of passion towards the goal. Transformational leadership is a part of the new leadership concept, which gives more interest to the charismatic and affective fundamentals of leadership. Transformational leader have an excellent power of influence that helps followers to achieve more than the leader expect from them. For example, Gronn(1996) remarks on the close relationship between charismatic and transformational leadership while pointing out the absence of notions of charisma in some work transformational leadership (Crawford, Gould & Scott, 2003). There is an argument that transformational leadership is facilitative of change because it contributes to organizational development, success and institutional culture (Barnett, McCormick & Conners, 2001).It is said that “To bring about change, authentic transformational leadership promotes the moral values of integrity, devotion and fairness, as well as the end values of justice, equality, and human rights” (Griffin, 2003, p. 8). Moreover, both transactional and transformational leaders are conscious about the correlation between an attempt and remuneration, their leadership is approachable and its basic concept is to dealing the present issues and leadership is depend on the leader’s authority to support followers for their achievements. Besides it, the transactional leadership focuses on situational power, politics and benefits. It include principles, but characteristically those are essential for successful swap connections (for example, mutuality, honesty). According to Jim Barrett, “In any situation the leader is the one who is the initiator.”

The advantages and disadvantages of autocratic leadership are understandable for certain circumstances. For example, organization needs a strong leader to make fast and right decision in emergency conditions. Though, in less stressful situations, it may be better to discuss on topic before taking action. Sometimes, autocratic leaders have better ideas and adopting this leadership style can lead to the success of the company. However, in most cases it has some undesirable effects like, it is said that autocratic leadership is only accepted when need emerges and these leaders cannot remain popular for more time among their followers. Consequently, autocratic leadership frequently leads to increased absenteeism and staff turnover, which can decrease the productivity and progress of company. In addition to it, transactional leaders inspire followers by alluring to their own self- interest and transformational leaders encourage the followers to transcend their own interest for the group or company. According to burns (1978), transformational leaders motivate followers to move beyond their self interest and to contribute to the overall vision and success of the organization. By doing so, the followers then meet their need for finding meaning and purpose in their work and may become leaders themselves.

There are some implications about the transactional theory that transactional leaders overstress the short-term goals, rules and procedures. This type of leadership may work well where the organizations have simple and clearly defined problems. The only contract between the leader and followers is the money which followers obtain for their compliance and endeavours and after the completion of contract there is no relationship between the leader and followers. Odom and Green (2003) argue that principles of transformational leadership applied to ethical dilemmas faced by leader offers the prospect of less litigation and better ethical outcomes than the more common transactional approach to ethics. The transactional leadership is not a true leadership style it focus on the short-term goals and limited the innovative work of subordinates.

In comparison to transformational leadership, transactional leadership is looking unsatisfactory but not bad, in prospectively developing the leadership. It provide basis for grown-up connections but leaders should not practice it entirely otherwise it can produce an environment pervaded by authority, position, politics and bonuses. While transformational leaders reveal a wide range of proficiencies, contain both technological and people skills. They are forward looking visionaries, expecting potentials for the organization.

At the end we can say that transformational leadership style is best than autocratic and transactional styles. Through great inspiration, vision, charisma and intellectual stimulation transformational leaders prospectively promote the concert beyond expectations and effect vast changes within subordinates and organization. This leadership style is well-suited to the present issues like ambiguity, universal and organizational instability. . As Carlson and Perrewe (1995, p. 834) observe, major changes in the organization’s mission, strategies and level of follower commitment are likely to emerge as a result of transformational leadership.

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