Last Updated 13 Apr 2020

Transformational and Transactional Leadership

Category Leadership
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Transformational and Transactional Leadership Transformational and Transactional Leadership Thomas J. Kenny CRJ-810 Dec 16, 2011 Many styles of leadership exist in the management world. Most of these approaches are very similar to one another. Two very different styles of leadership are the transactional and transformational leadership styles identified by James Burns in 1978. These leadership styles are almost polar opposites of one another, with employees in the transactional leadership style motivated by rewards and benefits, and employees in the transformational style motivated by their charismatic managers.

These two leadership styles, though different from each another, can be very effective tools in the world of policing. Transactional leadership represents “those exchanges in which both the superior and the subordinate influence one another reciprocally so that each derives something of value. ”(Yukl, 1981) This style of leadership can be compared to dangling a carrot in front of someone, or giving officers who write the most tickets steady weekends off. Leaders who use this style give their subordinates something they want in exchange for something that the leader wants.

The reward system of leadership used by the transactional leader can also involve rewards or values that are not as easily tangible such as trust and respect. Burns(1978) referred to these values as modal values; “modal values bond leaders to followers in an attempt to actualize the needs of both parties. ” These rewards such as trust and respect may still be given out by low level police supervisors who may not have the authority to give out overtime or authorize special days off.

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While transactional leadership is concerned with increasing production and motivation through a reward based system, transformational leadership is concerned with making the employee want to succeed. Bass & Steidlmeier (1998) describes this difference as: Transformational leadership is predicated upon the inner dynamics of a freely embraced change of heart in the realm of core values and motivation, upon open-ended intellectual stimulation and a commitment to treating people as ends not mere means.

To bring about change, authentic transformational leadership fosters the modal values of honesty, loyalty and fairness and the end values of justice, equality, and human rights. Transformational leadership contains four components: “idealized influence (attributed or behavioral),inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. ” (Bass, 1985) These four components can be summed up as that of a charismatic leader. Employees will see the qualities of this charismatic leader and try to emulate them.

Bass (1985) describes this emulation of charismatic leaders as: If the leadership is transformational, its charisma or idealized influence is envisioning, confident, and sets high standards for emulation. Its inspirational motivation provides followers with challenges and meaning for engaging in shared goals and undertakings. Its intellectual stimulation helps followers to question assumptions and to generate more creative solutions to problems. Its individualized consideration treats each follower as an individual and provides coaching, mentoring and growth opportunities.

Transformational leadership can be very effective in the world of policing, where the leadership exists from the top down. Officers who work for a transformational leader in a police department must “understand the vision of the department’s direction, appreciate the organization’s potential, believe that the goal of improvement is supported by the entire organization, and support the idea that change is needed. ” (Bynum, 2008) Transformational Leadership can be very effective due to the fact that its motivational and inspirational effects can be long lasting and felt by every employee in the organization.

Transformational leadership encourages its members to be more proactive and more productive without any specific direction or a reward in mind other than that it benefit’s the organization as a whole. With transactional leadership, some of the rewards such as better hours or days off can only be enjoyed by a few of the members. A competition to see who can write the most summonses, with the winner getting better days off, may increase production at first.

The benefit of weekends off can not be given to everyone though, and usually only those who receive the reward will continue to produce as much. Transformational leadership might have a difficult time succeeding in an organization such as the New York City Police Department. The NYPD was founded in 1845, and therefore is deeply rooted in traditions and norms. Even the most charismatic leader, brought into the NYPD to institute change and a new direction, is going to be met with extreme resistance.

Police Officers, who can tend to be very reflexive at times, might not take well to the idea of being self starting, proactive, and productive for their department. This initial resistance by subordinates usually makes the transformational leadership approach a long term solution to a departments problems. Transformational leadership tends to be more effective that transactional leadership, due to the fact that most of the terms in the reward based system of transactional leadership are defined and tangible.

The subordinate is expected to produce a certain amount in order to receive a benefit. This can tend to make the employee cease production once they have met the production requirement. Conversely in transformational leadership the employees are motivated not by a reward, but for the good of the organization as a whole. This motivation can lead employees in a transformational leader organization to produce much more than what is expected of them. The fact that the terms of a transactional leadership arrangement are tangible also makes it effective for a short term production problem.

A precinct with an influx of burglaries, might offer an extra day off to the next officer who makes a burglary arrest. While in the long run they would want the officer to always be vigilant for burglary arrests, the added benefit of a day off will have additional motivational effects. Transformational leadership is most often effective in organizations that have a need for change, or that have undergone a recent crisis. Transformational leaders tend to have uniting qualities, which can bring an organization out of mediocrity.

Adolf Hitler, who was a tremendously charismatic transformational leader, was able to bring Germany back from the brink of total collapse and financial ruin that it was in following World War I. Transformational and transactional leadership can be two of the most effective styles of leadership in policing. By using the transformational leadership style, police managers can foster an group of proactive and motivated police officers, who want to achieve greater results for the good of the team.

By using the transactional leadership approach, they can achieve great results exchanging rewards and benefits with subordinates for increased production. Using a combination of these two approaches to police leadership should lead to great success. References Bass, B. , & Steidlmeier, P. (1998). Ethics, Character, and Authentic Transformational Leadership. Vanguard. edu. Retrieved December 10, 2011, from www. vanguard. edu/uploadedFiles/Faculty/RHeuser/ETHICS,%20MORAL%20CHARACTER%20AND%20AUTHENTIC%20TRANSFORMATIONAL%20LEADERSHIP. df Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations. New York: Free Press ;. Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row. Bynum, R. (2008). Transformational Leadership and Staff Training in the Law Enforcement Profession. The Police Chief. Retrieved December 10, 2011, from www. policechiefmagazine. org/magazine/index. cfm? fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1422&issue_id=22008 Yukl, G. A. (1981). Leadership in organizations. Englewood Cliffs, N. J. : Prentice-Hall.

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