Management science is developing increasingly in the area of leadership and management. Various subtopics occur in this category, and researchers and clinicians are researching them in order to achieve new findings. The breadth of the original study is growing, as more areas of discussion, review and administrative significance have been found. Lately, the value of transactional leadership philosophy has been rediscovered in the sense of futuristic management strategies. There is ample space for qualitative and quantitative study of the subject. Academic studies will help to investigate current theories and uncover new consequences. Accordingly, this study proposal provides a summary of the related literature that influenced the selection of the subject. The plan also reflects on the hypothesis to which the research would contribute, the approach to be used and the initial contribution of the research to information.
Leadership and Management: Will Transaction Leadership Philosophy bring additional facets to future leadership practises?
- Explore the concepts of transactional leadership theory.
- Compare transformational and transactional leadership theories.
- Find out innovative implications and methods for organisational learning and knowledge management
- Combine the concepts of the theory with the futuristic idea of empowering leadership.
- Find out innovative ways to apply the theory in today’s global business environment with the help of case studies and academic research.
Review of the Literature
Transactional leadership theory has the potential to develop innovative models in the context of modern and future management practices. Some principal concepts entailed in the theory are:
- People can perform optimally when the commands are clear and definite.
- A justifiable system of punishment and reward motivates the workers.
- Monitoring the subordinates is an imperative so that the business expectations are fulfilled.
- Obedience should be ensured among the subordinates.
For a while, this sort of theoretical approach may appear to be based on the older conventions and beliefs. However, re-emergence of this theory in the sphere of modern management research can be observed in the works of Harman and Bitz (2008). According to them, studies considering knowledge management (which is critical in today’s information-based global business environment) and leadership as rational variables are limited. Future practitioners may consider exploring the concepts of transactional leadership theory and its dimensions in relation to knowledge management. In this context, it must be mentioned that all leaders exhibit both transformational and transactional leadership attributes which can amply help in knowledge transfer, sharing and creation (Harman and Bitz, 2008).
“Some observers view transactional leadership as the poorer version of transformational leadership, noting that the latter has a more noble or moral drive.” (Andrews, Connell and Wescott, 2010). However, this view can be strongly dismissed because “Where transactional leaders foster societies that are open and focused on public value creation, and where learning is accommodated by progressive authorizing mechanisms, agents will have space to explore new beliefs, pursue good struggles, experiment with latent abilities, and ultimately generate change that benefits others (even if there is no transformational leader appealing to higher ideals).” (Andrews, Connell and Wescott, 2010)
Experimental and quasi-experimental studies conducted by Avolio and his associates show that researches on path-goal model and transactional leadership theories are focused rather more on the behavioural changes and outcomes instead of cognitive and affective changes (Avolio et al, 2009). Contextually, it should be borne in mind that less emphasis has been placed on transactional leadership philosophy. Hence, in the light of the recent observations discussed so far, there is ample scope to explore this topic. Empirical derivations on transactional and non-leadership dimensions through multifactor leadership investigation become important and can open up several future options for leadership in management (Hinkin and Schriessheim, 2008).
Moreover, transactional leadership has an impact on organisational learning too. The comparative analysis between transactional and transformational leadership theories reveal that the transactional model can be implemented more practically in the context of organisational learning (Zagorsek, Dimovski and Skerlavaj, 2009). Hence, combining knowledge management, organisational learning and related behavioural patterns, the effects of applying transactional leadership theory can be very productive and innovative in the view of modern management research.
However, the dominant and transactional leadership theories have been discussed under the category of classical theories by Sims, Faraj and Yun (2009). Contemporary view prefers implementation of the charismatic and transformational theories on leadership. But the emerging view is about the concept of empowering leadership, where the leader will not only utilise the abilities of his or her subordinates but also cater to their intellectual, professional and material needs, and hence, empower them. Combining the concepts of transactional leadership and empowering leadership, an innovative and effective model can be derived for continued research and implementation (Sims, Faraj and Yun, 2009).
The socio-psychological implications of transactional leadership theory cannot be overlooked. Implementation of this theory can be trans-national and inter-organisational (Bass, 1997). This fact makes this model more important since today the leaders has to work in a global environment, where his or her approach should be interdisciplinary, international, and if necessary, inter-organisational. Hence, more research in this direction is required.
The Theory to which the Research will Relate
The research will relate to the scope of re-emergence and innovative implementation of the transactional leadership theory. Although some scholars have marked this theory as inferior with respect to the transformational leadership theory, the theory under discussion is more practical and can be readily implemented since its working is relatively simple. Transactional leadership theory is further categorised under classical management practice which can further be contradicted in the light of the recent researches (Andrews, Connell and Wescott, 2010; Zagorsek, Dimovski and Skerlavaj, 2009; and Hinkin and Schriessheim, 2008). The research will focus on the certain features of transactional leadership theory which makes it time tested, independent from any specific society or culture and easy to implement practically. Also, the possibilities of combining the concepts of transactional leadership theory with those of the empowering leadership will be explored so that a more futuristic approach in the sphere of leadership in management can be developed.
The research methodology will put emphasis on a qualitative approach. A qualitative approach will help to assess and analyse the behaviour, emotion, ability to learn and organisational aptitude of the managers, which are the prime areas of focus of the transactional leadership theory. However, quantitative information will also be incorporated in the research as per the specific requirements.
Importance of qualitative research, assessment of management reality, case studies and academic research are the main elements of a comprehensive management research plan (Gummesson, 2000).
Particularly, case study is very important in this context. For example, the cases of the social entrepreneur Fabio Rosa (Dlabay, Burrow and Kleindl, 2008) and the African-American corporate leader Ursula M. Burns (Lussier and Achua, 2009) can be discussed in relation to the research.
Academic research is also important, since the existing literature on the topic would provide the past, present and future perspectives that are contextual to the research. Online databases, libraries, and other scholastic resources would be explored.
Original Contribution to Knowledge
The transactional leadership theory has been under relatively less focus. Many scholars consider this theory under the category of the classical views on leadership in management. However, the situation is changing rapidly. There is now ample scope of extended and innovative research in this sphere. Re-emergence of the transactional leadership theory has already been testified (Harman and Britz, 2008). Hence, fundamental research can be done to co-relate transactional leadership theory to the modern concepts of knowledge management, organisational learning and emotional intelligence of the leader. Finally, the most important and original aspect of the research is to combine the theory under discussion with the futuristic concept of empowering leadership. The case of Fabio Rosa, who is a Brazil-based social entrepreneur, is significant in this context since he successfully endeavoured to empower the rural families of his country and provide them energy security as per their changing needs (Dlabay, Burrow and Kleindl, 2008). The case of Ursula Burns also deserves to be analysed since she handled the financial and managerial turmoil at the Xerox Corporation of USA in most innovative ways (Lussier and Achua, 2009). By applying transactional leadership theory to these and other similar case examples, significant original contributions to the existing knowledge in the field can be made.
- Andrews, M., McConnell, J. and Wescott, A. 2010. Development as Leadership-Led Change: A Report for the Global Leadership Initiative. Washington D.C.: World Bank Publications.
- Avolio, B.J., Reichard, R.J., Hannah, S.T., Chan, A. and Walumbwa, F.O. 2009. A meta-analytical review of leadership impact research: Experimental and quasi-experimental studies, The Leadership Quarterly, 20 (5), pp. 764-784.
- Bass, B.M. 1997. Does the transactional-transformational leadership paradigm transcend organizational and National Boundaries? American Psychologist, 52 (2), pp. 130-139.
- Bass, B.M. 1985. Leadership and Performance beyond Expectations. New York: Free Press.
- Dlabay, L.R., Burrow, J.L. and Kleindl, B. 2008. Intro to Business (7th ed.). Scarborough: Cengage Learning.
- Gummesson, E. 2000. Qualitative Methods in Management Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc.
- Harman, K. and Britz, J (eds.). 2008. Knowledge Management: Research and Application. Santa Rosa: Informing Science.
- Hinkin, T.R. and Schriessheim, C.A. 2008. A theoretical and empirical examination of the transactional and non-leadership dimensions of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), The Leadership Quarterly, 19 (5), pp. 501-513.
- Lussier, R.N. and Achua, C.F. 2009. Leadership: Theory, Application, & Skill Development. Scarborough: Cengage Learning.
- Sims, H.P., Faraj, S. and Yun, S. 2009. When should a leader be directive or empowering? How to develop your own situational theory of leadership? Business Horizons, 52 (2), pp. 149-158.
- Zagorsek, H., Dimovski, V. and Skerlavaj, M. 2009. Transactional and transformational leadership impacts on organizational learning, Journal of East European Management Studies, 14 (2), pp. 144-165.