Transformational leadership amongst S.A. human resources specialists, and the effect thereof on subordinate performance and perceptions of the leader

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The purpose of this research was to examine whether transformational and transactional leadership would be identifiable amongst a diverse sample of HR specialists. Furthermore, the effects of these leadership styles on subordinates' perceptions, viz., willingness to exert extra effort, satisfaction with the leader and leadership effectiveness, and subordinates' performance ratings were investigated. Both self and subordinate ratings of leadership were obtained (n = 330) in order to overcome single-rater error and enhance rater accuracy. Self-rating and rater forms of Bass and Avolio's (1990b) MLQ (Form 5) were used to collect leadership data. The results of principal components factor analyses partially supported the factor structure identified in previous research. However, the four component factors comprising transformational leadership did not emerge. Descriptive analyses of composite leader and subordinate ratings showed that transformational leadership was more prevalent amongst HR specialists than transactional leadership. As found in previous research, self-ratings were inflated relative to subordinate ratings. Transformational factors of charisma, inspiration, intellectual stimulation and individualised consideration were found to be significantly and positively correlated with the perceptual outcomes, as was the transactional factor of contingent reward. No similar relatedness was found between the transactional factor of management-by-exception and these outcomes. Nonleadership, or laissezfaire leadership, was found to be negatively correlated with all these measures. Charisma and contingent reward were found to be significantly related to subordinates' performance ratings in a positive direction.

Bibliography: leaves 160-183.