3.5 Cultural Understandings of Transformative and Transactional Leadership

Cross-cultural differences with understanding leadership is a common thread within pedagogical research. What the broad scope of leadership can tell us, is that leadership is not defined by borders or restrictions, rather is free and dynamic to cross many arbitrary boundaries. Examples include entrepreneurial women of China engaging relationship building leadership styles[14], and Indonesian managers using a mixed approach of traditional paternalism and modern transformational leadership[15]. One aspect previously touched upon in the chapter are the concepts of transformational and transactional leadership.


As previously discussed, transformational leadership heightens aspirations, and shifts people towards divergent methods of competency. The personality traits play an important role of a leader who takes on a  transformational style. With average to high scores in strategic thinking, and embracing conceptual concerns paired with moral concerns provides an image of personal leadership[16]. A leader who sees their organization as more than just people showing up to work everyday, allows the strategic and conceptual arguments to flourish. Transformational leaders in many ways are tied to social change through a charismatic approach [17].


Transactional leaders, as discussed, prefer changing styles, adjusting tasks and allocating rewards. The personality trait of a transactional leader seems to follow a passive approach similar to transformational leaders, however transactional leaders are more task oriented, and embracing a more directive than passive approach [16]. A transactional leader sees the value of the people that work for them, but expect their workers to get results based on the rules set out by the leader. The transactional leader keeps the chain of command in tact and provides opportunity through reward for subordinates to climb the ladder [17].

Combining the Styles

Regardless of the management style, both use the concepts charisma, control, and persuasion to enhance influence[18]. This presents that both leadership styles can be used effectively given the time and place it is dependent, however, if the concept of persuasion-to-influence is not present neither style will not be effective. Successful organizational teams have leaders who guide members to achieve expected outcomes [19]. To achieve outcomes within an organization, it takes a team effort, and a leadership style that depends on the situation present within the organization.


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Leadership and Management in Learning Organizations Copyright © by Clayton Smith; Carson Babich; and Mark Lubrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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