A Review of Transformational 1
Running head: A REVIEW OF TRANSFORMATIONAL
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
Leadership Theories 3
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.
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
Leadership Theories 4
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
Leadership Theories 5
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
Leadership Theories 6
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
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
Leadership Theories 7
(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.
Leadership Theories 8
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
Leadership Theories 9
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
Leadership Theories 10
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
Leadership Theories 11
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
Leadership Theories 12
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.
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
Leadership Theories 13
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.
Leadership Theories 14
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
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
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
Leadership Theories 16
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,
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
Leadership Theories 17
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
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