Last Updated 07 May 2020

Organizational Behavior – Transformational Leadership

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A Brief study on Transformational Leadership in HR Practices Organizational behavior may be defined as a study of human behavior within an organized setting. Organizations are managed by several forms of leadership based on the exertion of authority within the organization. Two main, but interconnected types of leadership in organizations are the transformational leadership and the transactional leadership, both having strong philosophical and ethical foundations.

Transformational leadership gives followers the opportunity to assess the leader’s view, to seek explanations and provide solutions, while transactional leadership is more based on imposition, where followers are driven by the praise, promise or reward of the leader. In the transactional leadership, the followers are confronted by reproof, threats and disciplinary actions. Transformational leadership has become more familiar in the last three decades primarily due to the changing global economy.

Advanced technological changes, higher competition, pricing strategies created an environment requiring organizational change and many large organizations implemented far-reaching changes in their business approach. Transformational leadership promotes equality, justice and human rights through loyalty and fairness. The leader’s moral obligations are rooted on a broader base of individuals within the organization, cultural beliefs and the social norms. The followers and leaders involved in the transformational leadership raise the levels of mutual motivation among themselves.

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This is because the leader attributes due recognition and importance to the perspectives put forth by his subordinates. The followers or subordinates who are lesser needed are gradually transformed to a higher needed level by good transformational leaders. The subordinates become more aware of the surroundings and the effect of action on the surroundings. Idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration are the main aspects of transformational leadership (Bass, 1985). Transformational leaders are more capable to handle even technical aspects of work than transactional leaders.

Recent findings suggest that team performance and communication are improved under transformational leadership. An important aspect of transformational leadership is pseudotransformational leadership. These leaders project a particular image of themselves and on the contrary do something else, (Bass and Steidlmeier). They support something publicly while opposing it in private. They resort to various ways for pursuing their personal agenda by either imposing if possible or delaying it, if not possible. They would initiate projects, which they are against and delay its execution such that it is not realized.

Although these leaders behave as transformational, they pursue private interests by intently projecting fantasies on followers, withholding the feasibility of the idea. There is relevance here to authentic transformational leaders who sometimes have a differing personal judgment in their intention to do common good. Here the manipulation is rare while it is very frequent in pseudotransformational leadership. True and authentic transformational leaders uphold moral values and are concerned about the common good, in the interests of all concerned.

Transformational leadership has been found to be influenced by gender, although to a very small extent. Transformational leadership has been found to allow women without any hindrance, to perform both, their leadership and gender roles. Studies suggest that women are better transformational than their male colleagues, with women exhibiting more interpersonal–transformational leadership. While males were found to be superior in terms of vision generation, women were more successful in vision implementation, follow-up, employee and team development.

When differences crop up, women managers adopt a more relationship-based type of leadership, which emphasizes on the support and development of their employees (Manning). An interesting point in self rating among women leaders was noticed when women leaders were found to rate themselves much lower to what standard raters, rated them. The men however rated themselves on par with their ratings by standard raters. A significant correlation is found between transformational leadership and organizational functioning. Transformational leadership is more successful in many businesses, hospital, industry, and education and military.

Transformational leaders identify ways in which their subordinates can achieve higher goals. They transform organizations and their people by their appeal of exhibiting self-confidence, self-esteem and self-determination. These leaders set goals and inculcate awareness on the setting and achieving of goals by subordinates to pull them from unworthy preoccupations. The transformational leaders, who face low conflict and are more effective, have evaded all studies to relate their leadership with demographic, social or personal characteristics (Linda et al).

They cannot be classified on the any single criteria and so prediction of individuals as to who would be successful transformational leaders is not valid. However factors like drive, desire to lead, and knowledge of business, integrity and self-confidence are some traits, which distinguish leaders from the rest. As said earlier transformational leadership elevates levels of morality and motivation among leaders and followers. People generally do whatever they want to do or, are motivated to do. Employee motivation is another vital component associated with productivity in workplaces.

Suitable theories and principles of employee motivation are applied with basic logic to address the psyche of employees who are to be motivated. Motivation can also be described as a crucial skill for any business to succeed. Transformational leadership provides inspirational motivation to employees and induces individuals from their actual and deviant state to a required desired state in a specific way. Each motivational system is specifically designed according to the organization and prevailing circumstances (McNamara). Recognizing and understanding the motivational factors for each employee is very important.

It would be surprising to know that things like job security, money etc. cannot help in motivating people, emphasizing the importance of inspirational motivation. The strategic goals of an organization are achieved by appropriate human resource planning, which is considered an important element of business planning. Transformational leadership encourages personal commitments among followers to the organization’s goals. The human resource requirements of an organization are identified and met by HR planning (Armstrong), which recognizes an organization’s people as the most important strategic resource of that organization.

Planning has a crucial role in strategic human resource management and ensures that both, qualitative and quantitative aspects of human resource requirements are met. Strategic business planning is translated into people requirements by identifying the skills needed to meet the organization’s goals. Human resource planning under transformational leadership can influence strategic business plans by determining ways in which people can be developed and utilized more efficiently. Transformational leadership has become a cost effective and a feasible way to improve business objectives like increasing profits and reducing expenses.

Today organizations, increasingly face staffing crises, owing to skills shortages. Just like employers selected their employees, employees too begin to select organizations they would work for. Transformational leadership plays a vital role in recruiting and retaining of skilled staff. Under transformational leadership a new aspect of employment relationship is developed in which employers feel the need for a mutual understanding of each other’s expectations, with their employees. Employees selected for their deep skill sets, acceptance of responsibility and commitment were considered to provide a competitive edge to the organization.

Employees exhibit greater confidence and enthusiasm under transformational leadership as their skills and job knowledge are more sought and heard. With time, the selected employees moved up on the hierarchy scale within that organization, ensuring career development. Success of transformational leadership has been observed in various establishments, irrespective of culture and geography. The link between transformational leadership and leader effectiveness is weak among people with cultural values, compared to this link in people without cultural values.

In educational institutions, transformational leadership helps teachers to collaborate more and maintain a positive outlook to developments and improvements. Transformational leaders have the strength to improve the performance of organizations beyond expectations and is seen to be the answer to today’s world of organizational instability and uncertainty. As transformational leaders shape social and institutional cultures, organizational transformation must be associated with moral responsibility.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bass Bernard M. ; 1985, Leadership and Performance beyond expectations; Free Press Bernard M. Bass and Paul Steidlmeier; Ethics, character and authentic transformational leadership; Center for Leadership Studies, School of Management Binghamton University Tracy T. Manning; 2002, Gender, managerial level, transformational leadership and work satisfaction.

Women in Management Review, Vol 17-Number 5 Linda et al. , 2001;Organizational Behavior; A Management Challenge, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Carter McNamara; Basics About Employee Motivation; Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Michael Armstrong; 2003 A Handbook of Human Resource management Practice; Kogan Page Limited; 9th edition.

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