Transactional vs. Transformational Leadership

By Carrison, Dan | Industrial Management, January/February 2016 | Go to article overview

Transactional vs. Transformational Leadership


Carrison, Dan, Industrial Management


A popular Hyundai commercial provides insight into the question of leadership styles. It begins with a young man leaving the office at day's end, followed by the resentful - and, in some cases, envious - stares of his co-workers, who have no intention of leaving their desks at the stroke of 5 p.m.

The narrator asks, "Since when has leaving work on time become an act of courage?" The scene then switches to this same adventurous young man with the wind in his hair, putting miles between him and the cares of the workplace.

Now, why does this commercial, undoubtedly the result of intense focus group research, resonate with the target audience of upwardly mobile young people? It resonates because it ridicules, and even defies, the unspoken expectations of the modern manager.

But it wasn't all that long ago (30 to 40 years or so) when working "9 to 5" was a national convention. There was no such term as work-life balance because the issue didn't exist: Everybody had enough time to keep the competing obligations of the job and the family in perspective. Indeed, the appellation back then for those who couldn't maintain that balance was workaholic.

The predominant leadership style of that time was transactional. The transactional leader set the performance metrics for his or her subordinates and rewarded or reprimanded according to the degree to which those metrics were met. Goals were clear. Management may have been "hands on," but it pretty much honored the traditional hours of the workday, loath to pay "overtime."

Then something happened to the American workplace. In the 1990s, the transformational leadership model became all the rage. Leaders were sought who could "transform" the employee from a "9 to 5'er" into a true believer, willing to go the extra mile for the organization. Transformational leaders had vision and inspired others to rise above their personal concerns. Their mantra was a variant on President John F. Kennedy's famous exhortation: "Ask not what your company can do for you. Ask what you can do for your company."

Transformational leaders, staying late at the office themselves, were not at all displeased to see their people consistently working late, on their own initiative and even showing up, in casual dress, for a few hours on Saturday. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Transactional vs. Transformational Leadership
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.