Organizational Effectiveness Through Transformational Leadership Management Essay

Has a company seek an edge in our global market place today, transformational leadership have became a key concern in todays environment in which leaders are reassessing and restructuring their organizations to meet the demands of today changing global marketplace. Bass and Avolio book “Improving Organizational Effectiveness through Transformational Leadership was funded by a research grant from FIAT auto corporation; the authors examines the theory and practice of the dynamic and innovative style of transformational leadership. The authors discuss transformational leader in several contexts such as developing people through delegation, leadership at a distance, leadership in teams, leadership in decision making, and in human resource management. The authors explore how transformational leadership affects important issues in today’s organizations such as delegation, teamwork, decision making, total quality management and corporate reorganization. Study done by companies like FAIT, IBM, Ford, Toyota, and many others, show on an average poor leadership cost organizations about $140 million dollars per year.


The topic of leadership is of key concern in today’s environment in which leaders are reassessing and restructuring their organizations to meet the demands of a changing global marketplace. The aim of Bass and Avolio work is to show how the concepts of the full range of leadership (transactional and transformational) can apply to specific areas of leadership, management, and organizational development (Bass & Avolio p.1). Bass and Avolio use chapter one and two to compare and contrast transactional and transformational demonstrate how the principles that underlie the model of transformation leadership can be diffused throughout the organization in specific areas of management and organizational development.

Chapter one introduced transactional and transformational within the framework of a full range model of leadership that includes the highly inactive and ineffective laissez-faire (LF) leadership. Bass and Avolio use the theory of physics to give the reader a better understanding of complicated it is in developing leadership theories, they explain the adaptations of these theories take decades. “Thus the theories of team participation that originated in the 1930s resulted in a mass of research in the 1950s; for the most part, they are just now being applied to the wholesale restructuring of many industrial firms (Bass & Avolio).” By pointing this out they were able to show that transformational leadership was one of the exceptions to this rule.

From the introduction of transformational leadership back in (1973 “Rebel Leadership”) transformational leadership have made leaps and bounds. In his efforts to build on Burn’s (1978) work, Bass (1985) proposed a new theory of transformational leadership and outlined its components. To better understand transformational leadership, Bass and Avolio define transformational leaders as leaders that motivate others to do more than they originally intended as and often even more than they thought possible (Bass & Avolio p. 3).

Transformational leadership is seen as: stimulating the interest among colleagues and followers to view their work from a new perspectives, generating awareness of the mission or vision of the team and organization, developing colleagues and followers to higher levels of capability and potential, and motivating colleagues and followers to look beyond their own interests toward those that will benefit the group. Bass and Avolio explain that transformational leadership is an extension of transactional leadership. Transactional leadership emphasizes the transaction or exchange that takes place among leaders, colleagues, and followers. They point out that transformational leaders do more with colleagues and followers than set up simple exchanges or agreements (Bass & Avolio p. 3).

To more differentiate transformational leaders even more from transactional leaders Bass and Avolio expand by saying that transformational leader achieve superior results by employing the four “Is”: idealized influence- to behavior in a way that result in their being role models for their followers, inspirational motivation- leaders behave in ways that motivate and inspire those around them by providing meaning and challenge to their follower’s work, intellectual stimulation-leader stimulate their followers’ efforts to be innovative and creative, and final individualized consideration-leaders pay special attention to each individual’s needs for achievement and growth by acting as coach and mentor.

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Bass and Avolio feathered enforce their theory by using the full range model of leadership to highlight the effectiveness of transformational leadership. The model include the four I’s and it being at the top of model.

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Transactional leadership being next as leadership that depends on contingent reinforcement (CR) either being positive or negative management by exception (MBE-A or MBE-P), which tends to be more ineffective but required in certain situations (Bass & Avolio p. 4). They concluded by saying that the LF style is the absence of leadership and are by definition the most inactive as well as the most ineffective style. The authors link the remaining chapters by using this full range model, by doing this the authors are able to show that yes one leadership style might be stronger than the others but there are no right or wrong way. “The full range model provides a way of thinking and ultimately the actions required for all levels of individual group and organizational change (Kuhnert p. 203).”

The specific focus of the individual chapters starting with delegation, and as Kuhnert put it “The professional development of employee is big business world-wide.” He explain that in the United States corporations invest about $40 billion in classroom training which is a staggering figure if we think about it, 70% or 80% of these manager’s training or on the job training. Kuhnert use the four I’s of transformational leadership to show how delegation can be an effective leadership tool. By separating the individual development into three models, he highlighted the differences between individuals who operate at varying levels of maturity.

The first model is the transactional operator-who operates out of own needs and agenda, manipulates others and situations, model II: The team player- is very sensitive to how he or she is viewed, self-definition derives, and lives in a world of interpersonal roles and connections; model III: The transformational self-defining leader-concerned about values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals, self contained and self defining, and able to grant others autonomy and individuality. By using delegation the leader elevate their followers’ to higher levels of potential.

Chapter three “Direct and indirect leadership” by Yammarino examine the influence that leaders have on followers across several levels like individual, team, department, and organization. Yammarino focus on indirect or transformational leadership at a distance by using the two model of indirect leadership: cascading and bypass models. The cascading model is the idea that leaders also can influence followers by the behaviors they model with both immediate followers and their larger public (Bass & Avolio p. 206).

Yammarino explain that the cascading model contrast the bypass model in which strong leaders at one level generate weak leaders at a lower level, who in turn permit the development of strong leaders at a level below (Yammarino p. 35). The second model the bypass refers to a level of management being skipped in terms of relationship between leaders and followers. It shows how direct leader’s behaviors influence a nonimmediate subordinate that is indirect leadership without operating through his or her direct reports. Yammarino shows us that by understanding these two model we will see how transformational leadership can apply to direct and indirect leadership. The authors were also able to identify three key facet such as indirect leadership culture, communication, and empowerment.

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Chapter four “Team Leadership” by Atwater and Bass look at over 40 years of research on the principle of team or group leadership. They review the group or team behaviors that are related to transformational leadership. They explain that any team under an organizational culture should have establish purpose, normal these purposes are not clearly define; transformational leadership tend to have sharp envision as observed else “team effectiveness may depend on having a clearly defined mission or purpose within the organization (Atwater & Bass p. 50). Atwater and Bass explain that it helps if the members also view their leader as having idealized influence because it respect trust, respect, and faith that the leader is moving the team in the right direction. The critical areas that were examine to respect to team formation are characteristics of the context, task, individual, team, leader, leader and follower interaction, and conflict

Chapter five by Waldman expands the study of team leadership to the examination of leadership in multifunctional team (MFT) settings. Multifunctional teams are groups of individuals from different functional, technical, or professional backgrounds. Waldman show how transformational leadership can work with multifunctional team to speed up the life cycle of product and process innovation and renewal (Waldman p. 84, 85). Waldman made it clear that MFT’s could be composed of managers from various functional areas rather than staff professionals or line workers (Waldman p.86). Like Atwater and Bass team leadership, Waldman MFT provides a complete analysis of team leadership from the perspective of traditional principles of team behavior.

In contrast he focuses on the unique requirements that are face by MFTs, particularly the responsibility of innovation and R&D teams. He said to understand the increase need for MFTs to be effective at innovation, we have to first consider the innovation process and how organizations have traditionally attempted to proceed with innovation and new product development (Waldman p.87). Waldman bottom-line is that MFT leader’s effort to innovate must be coordinated with other leaders and groups from various functional areas and to succeed, such a leader requires more transformational leadership and less transactional leadership.

In chapter six, Bass merge the model of the four I’s of transformational leadership, individualized considerations, intellectual stimulation, inspirational leadership, and idealized influence to discuss a nonlinear model of organizational decision making. By merging these model he was able to show how transformational leadership and its flow would affect both decision making process and the strategies used to collect and disseminate information throughout organizations. Using the example of the sales of firm, the decision making process can begin at any phase. It may move backward and forward from one phase to the next.

Bass merging of the models shows that transformational leaders have greater interest in continuous organizational change and improvement, transcending or aligning self-interests for longer range good of the organization and its members (Bass p.117, 118). The model shows in contrast with transactional leaders, transformational leaders are more likely to be proactive, more flexible, quicker to react, more willing to view a problem in a larger context, less likely to limit focus, more likely to encourage choice and search, more likely to seek informal information, more likely to change the rules and even culture, and more likely to make decisions that favor explorations to achieve higher payoffs (Bass p.118).

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Avolio begins chapter 7 (TQM) by looking the last 40 years and how largely independent the theory of leadership and total quality management developed. Rarely does research on leadership make reference to TQM. He explain until just recently the model of continuous process improvement and leadership research barely came together. He suggest that the alliance of both TQM and leadership would benefit both leadership development and the development of high quality work systems. Avolio explain that first it is going to take upper management to first accept this concept before it can work throughout their organization; “Almost by definition, creating a TQM culture requires that leadership at all levels must be involved in the process of continuous improvement (Avolio p.123).

He explain how quality is defined has a significance to the compatibility or incompatibility of the full range of leadership styles that could contribute to achieving total quality. As a example he explain that it took the failure of Xerox, Chrysler, Massey Fergusson, International Harvester, etc before they realize the important of TQM and leadership. To support his argument Avolio used the argument that Deming first introduced to the United States, is that the most important principles is the idea that systems accounted for much of the variance in performance. Deming was trying to get the organizations to concentrate on variability, in addition to mean differences in performance.

Leanne and David Atwater begin chapter 8 by describing the principle mechanism that can be used to bring about change in many company’s culture, structure, and human resources (HR) procedures. By using the full range model we can parallel these areas. They also explain the methods that organizations use to respond to the need for change have been the focus of much research. They explain that the term organizational development (OD) implies a normative reeducation strategy that is intended to affect systems of beliefs, values, and attitudes within the organization and that it also include formal and informal organizational restructuring (Atwater & Atwater p.148). The importance of building a innovative HR to stimulate the development and continuous improvement of individuals and organization also plays a big part in chapter 8. The bench marks establish in chapter 8 with innovated strategy for handling human resources set the tone for Kroeck work in chapter 9; all the benchmark companies reviewed by Atwater and Atwater have demonstrated the ability and willingness to advance the boundaries of their disciplines. Kroeck study downsizing and how if affect the organization. He use the full range model to deal with this period of hard times (downsizing). With similar ideas in chapter 8 concerning the four I’s of transformational leadership, we can see how HR can deal with a difficult task of reshaping and resizing the corporate structure, why? By placing HR at core of implementing and integrating the reshaping process we are not fighting fires but are actually keeping the process under control.

The chapters often begin with a mixture of the related research and continue with applications which the authors draw from their field work. Although the authors base their writing on theory it exhibits a style technical and instructional type of reading material which is very easy to read and follow. I welcome this type of writing because it appeal to the different level of readers and only to the academic.

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