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Going The Sitance Essay

1847 words - 8 pages

In the 1970s through the 80s organisations were seen to be facing the dilemma of employee commitment. [2] Jay Conger (University of Southern California) has observed that in the midst of their change efforts, companies were resorting to extensive downsizing as well as to new organisational arrangements such as flatter hierarchies and strategic business units. While often improving bottom-line performance, these initiatives took their toll on worker satisfaction and empowerment. In the process, the old social contract of long-term employment in return for employee loyalty was broken. The net result was the disenfranchising of many in the workforce. Moreover, this occurred just at the moment ...view middle of the document...

Transformational leaders engaged with followers and sought new ways of working so as to achieve more for both themselves and followers than they would ordinarily. Transactional leaders engaged with followers as part of an exchange process that involved tangible rewards for superior performance and mutual support. Burns drew from the literature on traits, leadership styles and research on the behaviour of leaders and followers, as well as his own observations. [4]

In more detail, the transformational leader was seen as someone who engages with others in such a way that leader and follower raise one another to a higher level of motivation and morality, a level not easily explained by traditional instrumental exchanges. These higher aspirations or goals of the collective group are expected to transcend the individual and result in the achievement of significant change in work unit effectiveness. Burns believed that all managers could be classified by leadership style according to their propensity for transactions with, versus transformation of, subordinates.The transactional leader, on the other hand, was seen as operating within the existing system or culture, had a preference for risk avoidance, paid attention to time constraints and efficiency, and generally preferred process over substance as a means for maintaining control. The skilful transactional leader was likely to be effective in stable, predictable environments where charting activity against prior performance is the most successful strategy. This leader prototype was consistent with an equitable leader-member exchange relationship where the leader fulfilled the needs of followers in exchange for performance meeting basic expectations.

Bernard Bass [5], as much as anyone, has advanced Burns’ theories. In Bass’ view [6], transformational leaders seek new ways of working, seek opportunities in the face of risk, prefer effective to efficient answers and are less likely to support the status quo. Transformational leaders don’t merely react to environmental circumstances, they attempt to shape and create them. They may use transactional strategies when appropriate but tend to use symbolism and imagery to solicit increased effort by raising the level of intellectual awareness about the importance of valued outcomes, by raising or expanding individual needs and by inducing a belief in transcending self-interest for the sake of the team or organisation.

In 1985 Bass developed an instrument to measure both transactional and transformational leader behaviour and to investigate the nature of the relationship between these leader styles and work unit effectiveness and satisfaction. The resulting instrument, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), was conceptually developed and empirically validated to reflect the complementary dimensions of transformational and transactional leadership with sub-scales to further differentiate leader behaviour. [7] The MLQ has since acquired a...

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