Pre-Training Motivation and the Effectiveness of Transformational Leadership Training: An Experiment

Article excerpt


Effectiveness of transformational leadership training has often been researched descriptively. This study, using a true experimental design, empirically evaluates the effectiveness of transformational leadership training. Role of training motivation in explaining the training effectiveness is discussed. Consistent with the hypothesis, the results of the study reveal a significant and positive effect of transformational leadership training on employees' satisfaction with the trained supervisors. Furthermore, trainees' (supervisors) motivation towards a transformational leadership training program significantly and positively affects the attitudinal outcomes.


Emotional and symbolic aspects of leadership have remained an avenue of great interest for management researchers since 1980s. The theory of transformational leadership influenced by the work of James MacGregor Burns (1978) and more empirically researched Bass (1985 & 1996), describes this important aspect of leadership. Transformational leadership instigates the moral values of followers while unshackling mental processes to instill a concern for ethical issues and to mobilize energy and resources to reform organizations. Current research on transformational leadership, in contrast to Burns, focuses more on pragmatic task objectives than the moral uplift of followers (Yukl, 2008, p. 267). Transformational Leadership has a positive effect on subordinate's attitude and firm's performance. However effectiveness of Transformational leadership training is a less researched avenue. (Barling, Weber and Kelloway, 1996). This study evaluates the effect of transformational leadership training on subordinate's satisfaction with the supervisors.

On the other hand, training motivation plays a vital role in determining the effectiveness of a training program (Colquitt et, al. 1999). This study extends our understanding about the role of training motivation in transformational leadership training context.

This study substantiates the existing literature by using conceptualizations of transformational leadership to study the effect of such trainings on subordinates' satisfaction. Furthermore, to our knowledge, this study is unique in evaluating the role of training motivation and its impact on transformational leadership training effectiveness.


Transformational Leadership Training

The effectiveness of transformational leadership training intervention have been studied from three different performance oriented perspectives i.e. effect of training on attitudinal outcomes of trainees (Howell & Frost, 1989), task performance of subordinates (Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996) and the impact of training intervention on financial performance (Barling et al, 1996). The dimensions of transformational leadership have been related to the task performance of subordinates. It has been identified that individuals working under a leader exhibiting individualized consideration are lower at task performance than individuals working under charismatic leadership (Howell & Frost, 1989). The effectiveness of transformational leadership training has been evaluated through three different criterions, namely, reaction (Popper, Landau, and Gluskinos, 1992) behavior and performance (Barling et al, 1996). For instance Barling (1996) used a true experimental design to evaluate the effect of transformational leadership training intervention and related it with organizational performance. It has been emphasized that the effect of transformational leadership training should be studied on other individual attitudes like subordinates' satisfaction with their supervisors (Barling et al, 1996).

Training Motivation:

In a training context, motivation is a goal directed inspiration derived from trainees' personal needs and the decision processes they use to satisfy those needs (Blanchard & Thacker, 2004). …