Transformational leadership’s influence on job performance, job satisfaction, employee attitudes, and employee engagement has been studied and compared to the influence of transactional leadership on the same. This paper compares three studies by three different researchers. Wright and Pandey (2010), Emery and Barker (2007), and Hechanova and Cementina-Olpoc (2013) conducted empirical research to determine the degree of influence transformational leadership played in each of their sample populations.
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This comparison will examine the purpose of the study, the research questions, the literature review, the sample population, any limitations, and the findings. Purpose of the Study All three articles focus on transformational leadership and one article includes transactional leadership. Wright and Pandey (2010) focused on transformational leadership in the public sector. The authors suggest the organizational structure in the public sector is not as bureaucratic as expected and transformational leadership is as common and as effective as in private organizations.
While previous research suggests human resource functions in the public sector are more bureaucratic, the authors propose this research is not definitive on whether this level of bureaucracy hinders the effectiveness of transformational leadership. Emery and Barker (2007) also studied the effect of transformational leadership on job satisfaction and employee engagement in customer contact positions. They suggested the factors of transformational leadership are linked more closely to higher organizational commitment than the factors of transactional leadership.
Hechanova and Cementina-Olpoc (2013) compared transformational leadership and the commitment to change in academic and business organizations, noting that academic organizations expect more transformational leadership behaviors than business organizations. While the authors noted different factors influencing commitment to change, the academic organizations measured their leaders higher in behaviors associated with transformational leadership. A Comparison of the Research Questions Pandey and Wright (2010) proposed five hypotheses to test in their study.
Four of the hypotheses dealt with transformational leadership behaviors being lower when the organization is more hierarchical and more formalized, communication is weaker, and the organization uses performance measures. One hypothesis dealt with higher transformational leadership behaviors where the public organization blocks extrinsic performance rewards. In contrast, Emery and Barker(2007) proposed two hypotheses for their study. Both dealt with the follower’s perception regarding how they were managed by transformational leadership.
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In these two hypotheses, transformational leadership led to a higher organizational commitment and higher job satisfaction. Finally, Hechanova and Cementina-Olpoc (2013) proposed three hypotheses contrasting academic and businessleaders. Academic settings expect transformational leadership behaviors to be displayed more and change management is handled differently in the two organizations. The relationship between change management and transformational leadership may differ in the two organizations. Literature Review All three articles focused on transformational leadership and all three referenced Burns (1978).
Common themes throughout the three articles were transformational leadership’s impact on motivation, inspiration, credibility, engagement, commitment, empowerment, and innovation. Pandey and Wright (2010) organized their literature review by explaining transformational leadership, referencing Burns (1978), and noting the conditions necessary for transformational leadership to exist. The authors referenced Bass and Riggio (2006) noting successful leaders supplement transformational leadership behaviors for transactional ones, linking those behaviors with employee performance and satisfaction.
They then moved to organizational structure and how that structure can support or obstruct transformational styles such as formalization of processes and procedures, inadequate performance measurement and rewards processes, and a hierarchical chain of command, referencing Bass and Riggio (2006); Howell (1997); Pawar and Eastman (1997); Rainey and Watson (1996); Shamir, House, and Arthur (1993); and Shamir and Howell (1999). Emery and Barker (2007) organized their literature review in subtopics within theoretical issues and hypotheses headings.
They began by discussing employee attitude and customer satisfaction by linking organizational commitment and job satisfaction, referencing Porter, et al. (1974), and Kanungo (1982). They authors reviewed the relationship between organizational commitment and customer satisfaction as being well established citing Morrow (1993), Dornstein & Matalon (1989), and Meyer & Allen (1988). Morris (1995) and Brown & Mitchell (1993) were referenced in providing the elements of employee job satisfaction.
Emery and Barker (2007) compared and contrasted transformational and transactional leadership and linked them to organizational commitment and job satisfaction, citing Burns (1978), Keegan & Hartog (2004), Bass & Avolio (1987), and Conger & Kanungo (1987). The authors suggested the themes of leadership style, employee perception, and customer satisfaction influenced company success, citing Heskett, Sasser, & Hart (1990). Hechanova and Cementina-Olpoc (2012) organized their literature review within the Introduction and in two separate headings following the Introduction and preceding the Methodology.
They discussed the correlation of successful transformation efforts and the people implementing the change, citing Coch and French (1948), Herold et al. (2007), and Herscovitch and Meyer (2002). The authors noted different factors influence employees’ commitment to change, referencing Ghazali et al. (2008) and Devos et al. (2002). Hechanova and Cementina-Olpoc (2012) referenced Kotter (1996), Kouzes & Posner (1995), and Burns (1978) in positively linking transformational leadership with change.
The authors discussed the differences between academic culture and business organizational culture as a reason transformational leadership behaviors differ between the two, citing Schein (2004), Schmuck & Runkel (1985), Walton & Galea (2005), Hellstrom (2004), Keung (2009), and Kouzes & Posner (1995). While Hechanova and Cementina-Olpoc (2012) are the only authors to cite Kouzes & Posner’s (1995) transformational leadership behaviors, specifically challenging the process, modeling the way, and inspiring a shared vision, these behaviors are present in the other two studies.
Wright and Pandey (2010) discuss transformational leaders as being inspirationally motivating, a role model of desired behaviors, and challenging old assumptions. Emery and Barker (2007) discuss transformational leaders as being visionaries, and questioning old ways. Sample Populations The sample populations of the three studies differ in size and composition. Pandey and Wright (2010) identified 3,316 individuals in their study sample of municipalities exceeding 50,000 residents.
An initial response of 1,538 was reduced to 1,322 after excluding city managers who responded. Emery and Barker (2007) identified three regional banking organizations and one national food chain. Of the 496 surveys sent, 308 were to bank tellers and 188 were to food chain checkers. Of the 389 responses received, 292 tellers responded from the banking field and checkers responded from the food chain, along with 77 banking branch managers and 47 food chain store managers.
Hechanova and Cementina-Olpoc (2013) surveyed 305 participants from eight academic organizations and 267 participants from eight business organizations with specific criteria regarding transformational change occurring within the last five years. Eighty-five organizations were invited to participate and 16 responded. The age of the academic organizations was 4 to 32 years, with an average age of 32; the business organizations’ age was 4 to 53 years with an average age of 27. Limitations of the Study
All three studies had limitations in both the sample population and the study itself. For the sample population limitations, Pandey and Wright’s (2010) respondents were mostly Caucasian and had an average age of 50. Many of the public organizations polled had only three responses leading to the possibility that results may only be applicable to those in the study. Emery and Barker’s (2007) sample population suggests gender bias as 43% of the branch managers and 85% of the store managers were male while the respondents were 100% female.
The two populations also had different response rates. Ninety-five percent of the tellers responded compared to 50% of the checkers, weighting the outcome toward the banking industry. Finally, the female respondents all reported to the responding managers which may not take into account differences the relationship between female respondents and female managers when compared to female respondents and male managers. All of these limitations are worth noting especially considering the sample selection was not random.
The sample population limitations in Hechanova and Cementina-Olpoc’s (2013) study involve gender bias, employment tenure, and position. Seventy-five percent of the academic respondents were female while the business respondents were more evenly distributed and the average academic tenure was twice the average business tenure. The academic organizations sample population consisted of 57% faculty, 33% staff, and 10% leaders whereas the business organizations sample population consisted of 67% rank and file, 15% professionals, and 21% leaders The studies themselves have limitations.
In Pandey and Wright’s (2010) study, the authors chose to keep the survey short by reducing the number of questions, potentially creating the false identification of transformational leaders. Definitive proof cannot be made on whether transformational leadership causes less hierarchical organizations or results from them. Emery and Barker’s study (2007) has limitations in that it positioned transformational leadership and transactional leadership against each other. Hechanova and Cementina-Olpoc’s (2013) study has limitations that may be cultural and societal.
The study was conducted in the Philippines and may not be indicative of cultural and societal norms elsewhere. Finally, the nature of the change itself may be a limitation. The academic organizations faced more change in strategy and renovations while the business organizations faced change in process improvement, downsizing, culture building, and mergers. Results Of the five hypotheses in Pandey and Wright’s (2010) study, two were supported. Organizations with hierarchical and bureaucratic structures and the weaker communications had lower transformational leadership behaviors.
Three hypotheses were not supported: (a) transformational leadership behaviors were not lower when formalized structures and procedures were present, (b) the lack of extrinsic performance rewards did not correlate to higher transformational leadership behaviors, and (c) transformational leadership behaviors did not decrease with the use of performance measures. Emery and Barker’s (2007) study supported their hypotheses. Transformational leadership does result in higher organizational commitment and job satisfaction in both sectors surveyed.
Hechanova and Cementina-Olpoc (2013) supported two hypotheses and partially supported the third hypothesis. Employees in academic organizations do expect more transformational leadership behaviors and the relationship between change management and transformational leadership does differ between academic and business organizations. The partially supported hypothesis noted the difference between academic and business change management practices due to the different nature of the change efforts in the respective organizations. Questions This author’s questions for the researchers follow.
What led you to, or interested you in, these studies? Would you consider further studies to address the possible limitations in your studies? Do you see any gaps that need addressing in future research? How do you see your research benefitting your field? Based on your results, what are additional opportunities, or avenues, to study transformational leadership and its impact? Conclusions Transformational leadership behaviors do result in greater job satisfaction, employee engagement, and change commitment, and does exist in hierarchical organizations.
Several discussion items were noted. “’Management matters’ and hierarchical constraints do not have to stand in the way of superior performance and leadership” (Wright & Pandey, 2010, p. 86). Transformational leadership is the preferred leadership style to increase job satisfaction and employee engagement (Emery & Barker, 2007). Business organizations are considered to be more progressive when compared to academic organizations, yet they can learn a few things from their academic counterparts in terms of inspiring shared visions, modeling the way, and encouraging othersSee More on Leadership, Management