From Transactional to Transformational Leadership: Learning to Share the Vision

Bass, Bernard M.
January 1990
Organizational Dynamics;Winter90, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p19
Academic Journal
This article focuses on transformational leadership. The author says that through training, managers can learn the techniques and obtain the qualities they need to become transformational leaders. In many instances, however, such transactional leadership is a prescription for mediocrity. This is particularly true if the leader relies heavily on passive management-by-exception, intervening with his or her group only when procedures and standards for accomplishing tasks are not being met. The author describes that he and his colleagues have arrived at this surprising but consistent finding in a number of research analyses. Moreover, whether the promise of rewards or the avoidance of penalties motivates the employees depends on whether the leader has control of the rewards or penalties, and on whether the employees want the rewards or fear the penalties. In many organizations, pay increases depend mainly on seniority, and promotions depend on qualifications and policies about which the leader has little to say. The breaking of regulations may be the main cause of penalties. Many an executive has found his or her hands tied by contract provisions, organizational politics, and inadequate resources.


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