Transformational Leadership

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A Study on the Applications of Transformational Leadership
in a Real Business Environment
Introduction
A good leader is regarded as an important factor in the success of an organization. Why are some organizations like Apple and General Electric so successful while some other organizations are not? To a great degree, the answer is that those successful organizations usually have a good leader who can motivate the members of the organization and lead them to achieve the right goal. Although what type of leadership is the perfect one is still arguable, a great amount of research evidence has indicated that a type of leadership known as transformational leadership is the one that will improve organizational behaviors and therefore enhance the overall performance of an organization. In this paper, we will first discuss what transformational leadership is and elaborate on how transformational leadership is related to organizational citizenship behavior, creativity and turnover. Then, we will show the extent to which transformational leadership is applied within a certain organization in China and offer our suggestions on how to improve transformational leadership in that organization. To begin with, we are about to explain the definition of transformational leadership and present the empirical evidence on the positive correlation of transformational leadership to organizational citizenship behavior and creativity and the negative correlation relation to turnover.

Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership is one of the most important leadership patterns, and has been widely researched throughout the years since 1978, when James MacGregor Burns first introduced the concept of transforming leadership in his descriptive research on political leaders. “For Burns, leadership is a process of evolving interrelationships in which leaders are constantly influencing and modifying employees’ behavior until organizational goals and the vision of the leader are met. It is a process in which leader and followers proactively raise each other to higher levels of morality and motivation” (Goho, 2006). Johns and Saks (2011) mention that there are four dimensions in transformational leadership: (1) idealized influence, (2) inspirational motivation, (3) individualized consideration, and (4) intellectual stimulation. Idealized influence can simply refer to as “Charisma”, the extent to which the leader can develop personal appeal to employees and influence them to work actively. Inspirational motivation is the component characterized by the leader’s ability to depict a clear vision and successfully motivate employees to work towards that vision. Individualized consideration refers to the trait that a leader can work as a mentor or coach who pays individualized attention to employees’ needs and concerns. Intellectual leadership examines the leader’s ability to fully excavate employees’ innovation and creativity. These four dimensions generate an effective pattern of leadership that is widely used in the workplace around the world. According to Warrick (2011), transformational leadership generates payoffs and benefits towards individuals, teams and organizations as a whole. It increases their performance, commitment, innovation, cohesiveness and outcomes, shapes and reinforces a new culture, builds trust among leaders and employees, decreases employee stress and burn out. One main reason that makes transformational leadership significant is that it is closely related to other organizational behaviors like organizational citizenship behavior, creativity and turnover, which are all important to an organization’s wellbeing and development. In the following sections, these relationships, or more precisely, correlations, will be discussed in details. Organizational Citizenship Behavior

In terms of organizational citizenship behavior, the most significant theory is put forward by Dennis W. Organ who defines OCB as “an individual...
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