The Self-Efficacy Component of the 21st Century Organizational Leader facing Multivariate Challenges of the Highly Volatile Global Environment.

29 05 2010

– By Dr. Mark Ellis

Decades ago, Dr. Albert Bandura of Stanford University introduced a concept identified as the self-efficacy. Self-efficacy extends far beyond self-esteem or self-confidence. The resiliency level of global leaders have been directly related to the internal factors of self-efficacy as indicated by established self report measures. As the author suggests in this article there is a direct relation between self-efficacy and the effectiveness of the global organizational leader.


Conceptually, researchers have proposed that self-efficacy has a positive correlation with task performance, organization-wide performance and effective leadership (Bandura, 1988; Bandura & Wood, 1989; Smith, Kass, Rotunda & Schneider, 2006). Further, how a leader who thinks and feels about their abilities to effectively lead has been established as predictor of leadership effectiveness (Bandura & Wood, 1989; Gist & Mitchell, 1992; Hartsfield, 2003; Woods, 2004). Additionally, McCormick (2001) posits that one of the most frequently reported findings in leadership literature is the relationship between a leader self-confidence and successful leadership in just about any organizational context. Further, McCormick (2001) bases his hypotheses on Bandura’s (1986) research that leadership self-efficacy is a key factor which plays an important role in a leader’s ability to be effective in a complex, adversarial, challenging, or dynamic environment. He further indicates the importance of considering self-efficacy as it relates to leadership behaviors amid various situations as it may result in a broader view of the leadership process.

At the end of the 20th century there was only a minor amount of research conducted which studied the impact of self-efficacy as it relates to various leadership models (Bandura, 1997; Gist, 1987, 1989; Gist & Mitchell, 1992; Locke & Latham, 1990; Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998). Since that time, further research has been conducted in order to give a clearer understanding of how self-efficacy has relates to, and is associated with performance and effective leadership (Chemers et al., 2000; Chen & Bliese, 2002; Locke & Latham, 2004; McCormick, 2001). The literature suggests that self-efficacy may be an important ingredient for effective leadership in the area of performance and positive follower influence (Gist, 1987, 1989; Gist & Mitchell, 1992; Locke & Latham, 2004; Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998).

Bandura (1994) defines self-efficacy as a person’s belief in their capability to exercise control over their own functioning and over events that affect their lives. In his earlier research, Bandura suggested that there was a growing body of evidence that success and accomplishments required an optimistic self-belief (1991). He further notes that finding show that people who are socially anxious are prone to depression are often just as socially skilled as those who do not suffer such problems. While nondepressed people also have a stronger believe that the exercise some control over situations (p.3). Moreover, Bandura (1994) suggests that individuals developed in self-efficacy are able to master experiences, be efficient in social persuasion, and possess personal strengths. Bandura (1994) further posits that because of opposition, complexities, impediments, adversities, and apparent setbacks, it is crucial for a person to have a robust sense of efficacy in order to sustain perseverance, tenacity and determination essential to success. Further, he indicates that successes which are experienced in life also bring about new types of challenges thereby requiring new types of competency and development of personal efficacy for successful functioning (1994).

Later research reveals that self-efficacy involves a judgment of how well a person may execute of course of action when such an individual is required to do so with the prospect of situation (Chowdhury, 1993; Srivastava, Rajesh, Pelton & Strutton, 2001). Past research has revealed that self-efficacy refers to an individual’s perception of his or her own mastery within a limited task domain (Chowdhury, 1993). Further, as the literature suggests, the effacious individual should be typically motivated to allocate higher effort if he or she believe their efforts will result in higher performance (Srivastava, Rajesh, Pelton & Strutton, 2001).

In the early part of the 21st century, a study conducted by Srivastava, Rajesh, Pelton and Strutton (2001) revealed that individuals with a higher level of self-efficacy perceptions exhibited a greater level of persistence in their efforts. Further, they also note that similar effects have been observed for individuals in terms of the relationships between their self-efficacy perceptions and quivering persistence (Srivistava & Sager, 1999). Further, individuals with a strong level of self-efficacy when encountering situations or events they feel capable of leading or managing to generally behave a substantial assurance. Further self-efficacy expectations may influence how much effort and individual will put forth when faced with complexity, challenges, obstacles, and unfavorable circumstances. Further, Rajesh, Pelton & Strutton (2001) found that individuals might work order when they realize their limitations and attempt to compensate for them (p.3).

Empirical research has also been associated with work performance and a person’s ability to adapt to the technological changes which have been prevalent in the last two decades (Hill, Smith, & Mann, 1987). Self-efficacy is also been found to be related to effective leadership performance under stressful situations (Murphy, 1992). Further, self- efficacy has been shown to have a positive influence on an individual’s ability to effectively function in an environment of a rapid change (Judge, Thoresen, Pucik & Welbourne, 1999).

Bandura (1986) asserts that confident, persevering individuals who have a robust sense of self-efficacy are driven by inner forces rather than merely influenced by external pressures. Moreover, Bandura also notes that having knowledge skill and ability is not enough as individuals who may possess knowledge, skill and ability may also be a person who doubts their own ability to accomplish a given task (1986). Bandura (1997) also clarifies that self-efficacy is based on a person’s perception of their capability and not knowledge skill and ability alone. This is supported by research which reveals that a spacious individuals draw from their perceived it ability and past performance as their source of efficacy as personal successes as well as positive vicarious experiences serve to augment self-efficacy (Chen et al., 2001; Lee & Bobko, 1994; Locke & Latham, 1990; Podsakoff & Farh, 1989; Wood & Bandura, 1989). Self-efficacy has a direct correlation between self-confidence or self-doubt (Bandura & Wood, 1989). Such self-doubt is generally destructive and may be attributed to individuals who dwell on their personal deficiencies, viewing them as obstacles were rather than opportunities to overcome and excel in a given situation (Carver, Peterson, Follansbee & Scheier, 1983; Martocchio, 1994; Wood & Bandura, 1989).

General versus Task Specific Self-Efficacy

As Smith, Kass, Rotunda and Schneider (2006) observe, there is a considerable difference between general and task specific self-efficacy. Accordingly, Bandura (1977) posits that efficacy expectations vary on three dimensions consisting of magnitude, strength, and generality. Of the three dimensions identified by Bandura, generality has been shown to produce the most controversy in the literature (Smith, Kass, Rotunda & Schneider, 2006, p. 2). Some researchers contend that the measurement of self-efficacy must be task specific (Weigand & Stockham, 2000) while others argue that self-efficacy is a measurable trait that picks behavior across domains (Smith, Kass, Rotunda & Schneider, 2006). Further, Bandura posits that self-efficacy is primarily task specific (1986). Further, the research reveals that the strength of efficacy expectations varies as individuals with stronger expectations of mastery persevere are longer than those with weaker expectations (Bandura, 1995).

Self-Efficacy Construct

As the literature suggests, there remains a considerable amount of debate over the concept of the self-efficacy construct (Chen, Gully & Eden, 2001; Chen, Gully, Whiteman, & Kilcullen, 2000; Scholz, Dona, Sud & Schwarzer, 2002; Schwarzer, 1992; Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995). As such, researchers have suggested that there are trait like characteristics that exist within a person whom possesses a strong level of positive self-efficacy. Further, other researchers have presented strong evidence, producing a convincing argument that general self-efficacy is a uni-dimensional universal trait (Scholz et al., 2002). While Bandura, (1977) was adamantly opposed to generalized beliefs about the self, he purported that such generalized beliefs are not good proximal predictors of behavior (Smith, Kass, Rotunda & Schneider, 2006) while others like Chand et al., (2000) supporting Bandura (1997) argued that task specific self-efficacy and a general self-efficacy were highly correlated, and that the effects of trait like general self-efficacy on performance were mediated by task specific self-efficacy which Chand et al., (2000) asserts are considered to be a more direct measure of motivational state (Smith et al., 2006).

Others suggest that self-efficacy consists of one’s estimates of one’s capabilities to mobilize the motivation, cognitive resources, and course of action needed to exercise general control over events in one’s life (Judge, Locke, Durham & Kluger, 1998). While Chen (2001) purports that self-efficacy may be viewed for different types of tasks and different types of settings, Eden (1988) goes on to argue by contending that self-efficacy may spill over into specific situations. As such, the debate has continued to seek out as to whether self-efficacy is situation specific or a generalized trait in which an individual who possesses a specific level of self-efficacy may function in any situation and under a variety of conditions, regardless of external environment (Judge, Locke, Durham, & Kluger, 1998). Whether the construct of self-efficacy is concerned with trade or task orientation, the literature does suggest that self-efficacy may be linked to effective leadership found in the behaviors of an individual considered to be transformational (Chemers et al., 2000; Hartsfield, 2003; McCormick, 2001 Woods, 2004).

Linking Self-Efficacy and Organizational Leadership

Mintzberg (2006) suggests that it is critical for a leader who is dealing with complexity to understand that performance improvement, and efficient organizational efficiency is pulled together through the process of change. Critical to that change is the ability of a leader and the organization to effectively deal with change. Further, Massyn (2006) observes that the most leadership roles require the same basics and successful leaders are experienced as being self-confident, highly analytical, conceptual, and driven to improve performance (p.112).

Research indicates that leaders under the strain of bringing about organizational change should score high in self-efficacy in order to prevent harmful reactions as a result of such strains Schaubroeck et al., (2000). Moreover, they suggest that organizations should focus on increasing self-efficacy as suggested by Gist and Mitchell (1992) and Wood and Bandura, (1989). Moreover, Chen and Bliese (2002) found that positive atmosphere created by the leader of the positive impact on followers, revealing the leader behavior to the employers was a greater predictor of collective efficacy than an employee self-efficacy.

As previous research has revealed, transformational leaders possess the necessary components to bring about positive collective efficacy in an organization undergoing transformation and change. Further, a study conducted by Paglis and Green (2001) developed and tested a leadership model that focused on individuals attempts at leading organizational change. They suggested that leadership self-efficacy could be comprised of direction setting, gaining followers commitment, and overcoming obstacles to change.

They based their research on Bandura’s, (1986) social cognitive theory purporting that the primary hypothesis is that leaders who scored high in self-efficacy would be engaged not only ineffective leadership, but also such leaders would exhibit more leadership attempts. Their findings demonstrated that leaders who scored high in self-efficacy were involved in a higher level of organizational commitment, overcame obstacles, and were more effective at motivating and cultivating subordinates performance abilities.

The above mentioned studies support the research conducted by Chemers et al., (2000) and McCormick (2001), which linked self-efficacy with effective leadership utilizing the data collected from a variety of leadership samples. A high confidence level of the leader appears to have an effect on the confidence level of the follower thereby having a positive impact on organization wide constituency (Bohn, 2002). Moreover, their studies revealed that an individual’s confidence in their ability to lead or carry out a specific task in a team environment is more important than merely having a good self- image. McCormick (2001) suggests, effective leadership consists of a high-level of self- efficacy and is critical to the leadership process as it has a tremendous effect on motivation, leadership strategies, and goals. As such self-efficacy which exists in a leader may positively or negatively influence on followers, job satisfaction, performance level of employees as well as organizational outcomes (McCormick, 2001; Srivastava, Rajesh, Pelton & Strutton, 2001).


As previously mentioned, there has been debate among researchers in regard to general or a task specific self-efficacy (Smith, Kass, Rotunda & Schneider, 2006). Measurement instruments to determine levels of self-efficacy has developed over the last 20 years (Chen, Gully & Eden, 2001; Chen, Gully, Whiteman, & Kilcullen, 2000). Earlier instruments developed as a self-efficacy scale was designed to facilitate the task specific self-efficacy rather than general (Lucas, Wanberg, & Zytowski, 1997) seeking to operationalize a self-efficacy construct. The Kuder Task Self-Efficacy scale was constructed as a 30 item scale measuring a person’s self-efficacy for specific occupational tasks. Other similar instruments were developed earlier such as the Career Decision Making Self-Efficacy Scale (Taylor & Betz, 1983) and later the task specific Occupational Self-Efficacy Scale presented by Osipow and Temple (1996).

However, a prominent self-efficacy measurement instrument such as the self- efficacy scale (SGSE) was designed to measure the general dimension of self-efficacy consisting of a 17 item scale in which Chen et al., reported that the instrument had been used or cited in more than 200 published studies (Chen, 2001). Further Chen suggested that the self-efficacy scale did not sufficiently measure factors related to global self- esteem, although self-efficacy and self-esteem are conceptually distinct (Bandura, 1998). Chen developed a new General self-efficacy scale which is seen to be a unidimensional measurement instrument created to measure the General self-efficacy. Moreover since the development of the instrument there has been evidence that purports that the new General self-efficacy scale has a higher content validity and predictive validity compared with the self-efficacy scale. As noted by Woods (2004) the instrument is still in its infant stage and requires further research to determine whether the initial findings obtained by developers of this instrument holds true and generalize to other sample settings.


Based on the previous research, the literature reveals enough empirical evidence to suggest that self-efficacy may have a significant relationship to transformational leadership. Moreover, as seen in Hartsfield’s internal dynamics (2003) there was an indication that there was a positive correlation that existed between self-efficacy and the organizational leader. An effective leader who believes that they have the ability to bring about organizational change, effectively handle resistance and flourish in a dynamic environment. The literature indicates that leader self-efficacy affects the leader’s ability to determine the possibilities of success in an organization which is undergoing change. Further, a transformational leader will be faced with resisters, challenges, and strains which are prevalent in organizational transformation and change. It is suggested that a strong, positive level of self-efficacy evident in the organizational leader will produce a positive correlation between self-efficacy and organizational leadership.


The Emotionally Intelligent Leader of the 21st Century – by Dr. Mark Ellis

10 05 2010

Dr. Daniel Goleman of Harvard University raised considerable interest in the area of emotional intelligence when he suggested that emotionally intelligent leaders were more effective and successful in various organizations as opposed to leaders who had a relatively high IQ. Despite various opposing views, Goleman’s research has been established as highly reputable and credible among various researchers of leadership studies. As such, the author suggests that there is a relatively strong relation between transformational leadership and emotional intelligence. Further, the author also suggests that emotional intelligence can be developed over time as the leader matures and develops. It is not suggested that emotional intelligence replaces IQ, but rather, is a separate construct within the leader which helps the leader to effectively lead.

Emotional Intelligence

Salovey and Mayer defined emotional intelligence as a form of social intelligence (1990). This form of a social intelligence mirrors the observations of Thorndike (1920) who suggested that such social intelligence involves the ability to monitor one’s own feelings and emotions and to discriminate among them. Such ability to monitor, discriminate, and govern such emotions was suggested to guide one’s thinking and actions of an individual (Thorndike & Stein, 1937). Moreover, it has been suggested that emotional intelligence is directly related to a leader’s ability to manage their emotions as well as effectively respond to the emotions of others amid pressures and complexities (Goleman, 1998; Caruso & Salovey, 2004).

Further, as the research indicates, a successful leader may be highly developed in emotional intelligence, causing effective leadership skills to be demonstrated in high- performance, complex, or successful organizations (Goleman, 1998; MacGillivray, 2006). Moreover, the literature suggests that a leader who is developed in emotional intelligence is more apt to be able to successfully lead in groups, communities, and large modern organizations than a leader who is identified as having a high I.Q. (Goleman, 1995; 1998; 2001; Cann, 2004; Mayer, DiPaolo & Salovey, 1990; Weisinger, 1998). As such, emotional intelligence is a set of abilities (Côté & Miners, 2006). These abilities include the perception of emotions in the self and in others, the use emotions to facilitate performance, understanding emotions and emotional knowledge, and the regulation of emotions in the self and in others (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). This highly researched concept of emotional intelligence which has developed substantially since the end of the 20th century has had an unusually important impact on managerial practice.

The concept of emotional intelligence began in the intelligence testing movement as EL Thorndike (1920), professor of educational psychology at alumni or university teachers College coined a term called social intelligence (Harrison, 2006). Thorndike (1920) originally distinguished social intelligence from other forms of intelligence and defined it as the ability to understand and inter-act wisely and human relations (p.231). Initially, Thorndike (1920) formulated early theories by defining social intelligence is the ability to perceive one’s own and others’ internal states, motives, and behaviors, and to act toward them optimally on the basis of that information (p. 37). Further, Thorndike and Stein were the early pioneers to develop an early method to measure social intelligence (1937).

This theory, perception, and characteristic of social intelligence, was later identified as emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman (1995) professor of psychology at Harvard University. In his empirical research, Goleman (1995) builds on the previous research conducted by Thorndike (1920). In doing so, Goleman (1995) affirms and validates Thorndike’s findings suggesting that emotional intelligence is a viable model of an intelligence construct (1995; 1998). Thorndike’s early theories reflect that of Goleman’s research as Thorndike’s social intelligence consisted of a keen understanding and mastery of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. As Goleman suggests (1995; 1998; 2001) these factors are strong components and characteristics of emotional intelligence. In Goleman’s research, he suggested that there are four main components of emotional intelligence (1995). These four main components consisted of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation and empathy.

According to Goleman (1995, 1998) emotional intelligence may be more important than a leader’s IQ. A leader who is highly developed an emotional intelligence possesses the skills necessary to be able to manage their own emotions. Further, a leader who is developed in emotional intelligence has the ability to perceive the emotional state of others and effectively engage (Goleman, 1998; Caudron, 1999). Goleman describes several factors that are evident in emotional intelligence such as self-awareness, self- management, motivation, empathy, and social skills. A leader who is considered to be well-developed in emotional intelligence has the ability to accurately perform self- assessments, have a deep personal understanding of the inner self and personal confidence (Goleman, 1995).

A leader who is developed in emotional intelligence has the innate ability to avoid or subdue disruptive emotions or impulses while maintaining a standard of personal integrity (Goleman, 1995). The third factor identified as motivation is the innate ability to have an inner drive to achieve a standard of excellence while maintaining an optimistic attitude while persisting in striving for excellence and reaching goals despite the pressures of complexity and challenges (Goleman, 1998). Moreover, Goleman discusses empathy as the ability to understand the personal needs of others, while perceiving the moods, emotions, feelings while being aware of their personal needs (1995). Further, Goleman discusses the importance of social skill required which may include the ability to effectively communicate collaborate influence and inspire others through effective and positive influence (Goleman, 1995; 1998).

Emotional Intelligence as an Intelligence Construct

The literature indicates that over the last two decades there has been debate as to the validity of emotional intelligence being categorized as an intelligence construct (Ashkanasy & Daus, 2005; Ciarrochi, Chan & Caputi, 2000; Hemmati, Mills & Kroner, 2004; Locke, 2005; Van Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2004;Van Rooy, Viswesvaran & Pluta, 2005). As Smollan (2006) notes, the relationship between emotion and cognition has been debated for centuries by philosophers, psychologists and organizational theorists, forming different camps and suggesting a number of different conclusions. Some researchers have suggested that emotion is the opposite of reason (Weber, 1946), while others argue that emotion is deeply interwoven with reason (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1995; Smollan, 2006). Yet others present the idea that emotion can occur independently of reason (Zajonc, 1980; Izard, 1992).

Barbuto and Burbach (2006) note that some researchers have identified emotional intelligence as an aptitude (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). Further, they acknowledge that most scholars have conceptualized emotional intelligence is a mix of skills and traits Goleman, 1995; Petrides, 2004; Schutte et al., 1998). Further, Barbuto and Burbach (2006) discuss emotional intelligence as containing five underlying factors which are empathetic response, mood regulation, interpersonal skill, internal motivation, and self- awareness Carson, Carson, and Birkenmeier (2000). Empathetic response is described as the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people, mood regulation is the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and interpersonal skill is the proficiency in managing and building networks while internal motivation is a passion for work for reasons that go beyond money and status that involves the ability to delay gratification and pursuit of a goal and finally self-awareness is the person’s ability to recognize and understand his or her own moods, emotions, and drives and their effects on others (Barbuto & Burbach, 2006, p. 53).

Researchers have suggested that such debate may legitimize emotional intelligence theory all the more as empirical evidence reveals emotional intelligence has a legitimate model (Côté & Miners, 2006). As the literature suggests, there has been extensive empirical research conducted in order to find out whether or not emotional intelligence should even be conceptualized as a type of intelligence (Roberts, Zeidner & Matthews, 2001; Becker, 2003; Brody, 2004).

Over the last two decades of research, empirical evidence, and peer review; it appears that emotional intelligence has been established as a viable construct of intelligence (Goleman, 1998; Mayer, Salovey, Caruso, & Sitarenios, 2003; Caruso & Salovey, 2004; Bar-On, 2001; Tett, Fox & Wang, 2005). Research conducted by Mayor and Salovey (1997) formulated a model of emotional intelligence which Côté and Miners (2006) identifies as a construct which focuses strictly on abilities therefore satisfying the conceptual criterion of an intelligence (p.3). They base their position of emotional intelligence as being a form of intelligence based on research conducted by Schmidt and Hunter (2000) which suggested that intelligence is the ability to grasp and reason correctly with abstractions and solve problems (p. 3).

Further, Côté and Miners (2006) suggest that beyond the ability to grasp and reason correctly with abstractions, emotional intelligence can be conceptualized as the ability to grasp and reason correctly with emotional abstractions and solve emotional problems. Further, they also suggest that the construct of emotional intelligence according to research conducted by Mayer, Caruso, and Salovey (2000) is a viable construct as it meets the conceptual, correlational, and developmental criteria of an intelligence (Côté & Miners, 2006, p.4). They further note that in order to meet the conceptual criterion of an intelligence, a construct must reflect abilities rather than tendencies to act in certain ways; this criterion is based on important distinction between abilities and personality traits (Carroll,1993).

Researchers suggest that in order for emotional intelligence to be classified as an intelligence it must meet the correlational criterion of an intelligence, be different from other intelligence is, if the construct must correlate with cognitive and verbal intelligence (Côté & Miners, 2006; Carroll, 1993; Neisser et al., 1996) as such, research conducted by Ciarrochi, Chan, and Caputi, (2000) and Schulte, Ree, and Carretta, (2004) found that as much as 20% of emotional intelligence overlaps with other intelligences and therefore, over 80% of emotional intelligence is separate from other intelligences as suggested by Côté and Miners (2006). Further, as the literature suggests, these findings reveal that emotional intelligence meets the correlational criterion of an intelligence, therefore establishing emotional intelligence as a valid conceptual model of intelligence which may be operationalized within the inner construct of a transformational leader (Barbuto & Burbach, 2006).


Over the years there have been several instruments constructed to measure emotional intelligence. One of the earliest measurement tools was developed in 1997 entitled the emotional quotient inventory, or better known as the EQI (Bar-On, 1977). The EQ line is a self-administered test which is comprised of 133 questions also consisting of 15 subscales and to validity subscales which are used to evaluating empathy, self-awareness, self-control, assertiveness, independence, and happiness.

This instrument was used in earlier years to predict potential top-performing managers in organizations by assessing in the area of psychological health rather than measuring the individuals ability (Bar-On, 1977; Mayer, Caruso & Salovey, 1999; Schutte & Malouff, 1999). As Mayer, Caruso & Salovey (1999) posit, the measurements assessed of emotional intelligence are more closely related to ego strength and social competence rather than ability intellectual skills or other non-emotional traits. Further, Mayer, Caruso & Salovey (2001) as influenced by the 1997 model designed a performance-based measure which assesses and individuals ability to perceive, understand, and manage emotions which brought about the creation of the multifactor of emotional intelligence scale. This measurement instrument measures 12 tasks including two tasks to measure of simulating emotions, two tasks to measure of understanding emotion, two tasks to measure and managing feelings of self and for tasks which measure perceiving emotions (Mayer, Caruso & Salovey, 2001).

Boyatis and Goleman (1999) later developed an instrument called the emotional competency inventory. This instrument was developed as a 360° instrument based on 12 responses. This instrument provided extensive feedback assessing the individual strengths and weaknesses giving the individual the necessary data needed to bring about improvement. Moreover, Wong and Law (2002) further developed the ability to measure emotional intelligence by developing the TI scale. The TI scale is a 16 item measurement instrument which measures for emotional intelligence factors of self-promotion appraisal, others emotional appraisal use of a motion in the regulation of emotion (Wong & Law, 2002).

Current studies are underway in order to bring about further understanding in regard to emotional intelligence as it relates to effective leadership. Further, as Gardner (1983) and Goleman (1995), note, emotions govern decision-making more so than logical rationality (Goleman, 1998). It has been strongly suggested that emotional intelligence has a strong influence on effective leadership transcending various organizations.

Linking Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership behaviors have been established as the characteristic of a change agent who has undergone the task of leading organizational change. Moreover, research conducted by Barbuto and Burbach, (2006) revealed that there is a definite relationship between emotional intelligence and the transformational leader. The findings of their study was consistent with past studies which show the positive significant relationships between emotional intelligence and the transformational leadership model as purported by previous researchers (Barling et al., 2000; Gardner & Stough, 2002). In fact, Barbuto and Burbach (2006) found that a leader’s interpersonal skills were positively related to individualized consideration, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence (p. 59). Their findings were consistent with the research on the importance of interpersonal skills and social astuteness and positive leadership practices, revealing that leaders to develop strong interpersonal skills have a greater likelihood of exhibiting transformational leadership behaviors (Barling et al., 2000; Forgas & George, 2001; Redmond et al., 1993).

While a transformational leader may possess a high IQ, (Goleman, 1995; 1998) it may be suggested that that having a high IQ is not enough to be an effective leader. An effective leader who is serving as a change agent must be able to connect effectively with organizational constituency gaining their support, compliance and motivation to become involved in the change process. As Piderit (2000) suggests, leaders expect organizational members to comply with the change initiative and enthusiastically support the organizational change with appropriate action (Smollan, 2006). Further, Duck (1993) purports that organizations that introduce change need to gain the hearts and minds of their members if the change is to be successful.

According to Smollan (2006), a number of researchers involved in organizational behavior have criticized the neglect of emotion, both by managers and fellow researchers (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1995; Fisher & Ashkanasy, 2000). Such neglect has spawned criticism for excluding the affective domain and focusing on cognitive and behavioral aspects (Mossholder et al., 2000). Since change is often an affective event (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996; Basch & Fisher, 2000) analyzing its emotional impacts is critical (Smollan, 2006). It is suggested that these observations further validate Goleman’s assertion (1998) that emotional intelligence is directly linked to effective leadership characteristics, most notably the characteristics that are evident in the behaviors of the transformational leader.

Barbuto and Burbach (2006) studied and tested the relationships between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. They found several correlations that reinforce the role of emotional intelligence in the effective model of transformational leadership. According to their findings, emotional intelligence shared positive relationships with each self-reported subscale of transformational leadership. Their findings were consistent with past studies that showed positive significant relationships between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership (Barling et al., 2000; Gardner & Stough, 2002). They further note that a vital aspect of effective leadership lies in the leader’s ability to gain the emotional commitment of his or her followers (Barbudo & Burbach, 2006). As their study revealed, emotional intelligence, which encompasses the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions, is hypothesized to be related to transformational leadership (p.1).

While little research directly examines the relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership, Barbuto and Burbach (2006) as well as Hartsfield (2003) suggest that the little that has been done has demonstrated that produced evidence that there is a link between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. Critics of emotional intelligence have suggested that there has been too much shared variance with traditional measures of personality. However, as Barbuto and Burbach (2006) purport, subsequent research has indicated that this shared variance is likely due to broad definitions of emotional intelligence that encompass motivation, assertiveness, empathy as well as the use of self-report measures (Hartsfield, 2003). Nevertheless, Abraham (2000), Cooper and Sawaf (1996), Goleman (1998), Ryback (1998), and Weisinger (1998) all suggest that success in today’s ever-changing environment demands a high level of emotional intelligence which is evident in the characteristics and behaviors of the transformational leader.

Sosik and Megerian (1999) examined the self-awareness component of emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. The findings revealed in their empirical study supported the hypothesis that emotional intelligence is one of the foundational components of effective transformational leadership evident in the behaviors of transformational leaders who were serving as change agents. In the study, the leaders reported their assessment of their emotional intelligence and leadership behavior while their subordinates who observed the leadership characteristics of their supervisors reported from their perspective their supervisors transformational leadership behavior and performance outcomes (p. 368-369).

The empirical evidence revealed that there was a high level of emotional intelligence operation in the transformational leader who was considered effective and brought about a high level of performance in the company. Further, it was found that supervisors who were more transactional, demonstrating less transformational leadership behaviors, scored lower, showing little evidence of emotional intelligence. The study revealed that effective leadership which was transformational while bringing about a high level of performance outcomes in the organization, also had a high-level of emotional intelligence.

In research conducted by Barbuto and Burbach, (2006), the authors surveyed eight elected public officials in the United States. Together, they compose 388 leader — member dyads. The purpose of the study was to explore the relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. Again, the results of the study were that there was a high level of emotional intelligence at work with him the public officials who functioned as transformational leaders (pp. 57-61). The results reflected that emotional intelligence of transformational leaders was highly evident and the results also supported the hypothesis that emotional intelligence is linked to the behaviors, nature, and character that is prevalent in the transformational leader.

As the literature suggests, conclusions drawn from extensive research over the last two decades, there is a definite link between emotional intelligence and the transformational leader. Moreover, the various research findings have been conducted in multiple environments consisting of a broad range of samples. As such, the author posits that one of the bilateral dimensions of transformational leadership identified as emotional intelligence is seen to be at work in the transformational leader. The hypotheses presented by the author may be supported by credible, peer-reviewed empirical studies and meta- analytical research.


As the literature suggests, there is strong empirical evidence linking emotional intelligence to transformational leadership. Effectively managing one’s emotions in a volatile, dynamic or complex environment may be considered as crucial for an effective leader (Goleman, 1998). It is a very strong characteristic of a transformational leader to show individualized attention, being sensitive to follow her needs and effectively relating to teams, groups, or organization wide constituency. This leadership style goes beyond the traditional transactional leadership behaviors which primarily deals and functions in the bargain for exchange. In assessing the emotional intelligence literature there may be a correlation between transformational leadership and individualized attention, intellectual stimulation, idealized influence and inspirational motivation. The author suggests that the literature does reveal that there is a relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership.

So, What is Leadership?

10 01 2010

Overview of Leadership Theory – By Dr Mark Ellis

So, what is leadership? If you ask six different people, you are likely to get six different answers. This brief discourse attempts to shed some light on leadership theory based on previously established research that has developed over the last 40-50 years.

In his efforts to develop a leadership construct, Burns (1979) formulated his theory from research that examined leadership from the description of traits, contingency, behaviors, and styles; coining the terms transactional and transformational leadership.

What makes a leader is still highly debated in academic and practitioner circles, however, according to Bennis (1994) all leaders seem to share some very similar characteristics. As Stodgil (1974) observes, there are as many definitions of leadership as there have been individual who have attempted to define it. Burns (1978) perceived leadership as one of the most observed, yet most misunderstood phenomenon on earth.

Further, Maxwell (1998) states, there are leadership publications that deal with management issues that do not define or adequately discuss leadership, while others are a hodge podge mixture of both. However, the literature suggests that there is a definite distinction between management and leadership (Zaleznik, 1992). Kotter (1988; 1990; 2001) suggests that many organizations today are over managed and under lead. He also asserts that organizations, in order to be successful, need to develop their capacity to exercise leadership (p.103).

Moreover, Kotter (2001) indicates the importance of both management and leadership in an organization and is careful to assert that leadership and management are both necessary components in a successful organization. Moreover, he indicates that leadership complements management; it does not replace it. Further, he makes a clear distinction between management and leadership by suggesting that good management controls complexity while effective leadership produces useful change (Kotter, 1990).

Gardner (1990) defined leadership as “the process of persuasion or example by which an individual induces a group to pursue objectives held by the leader or shared by the leader and his or her followers” (p. 1). Chemers (2000) defined leadership as “a process of social influence in which one person is able to enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task” (p. 27). As the literature suggests, leadership may be defined in terms of the power relationship between leaders and followers (Burns, 1978; Heller & Van Till, 1983; Hollander, 1992; Jago, 1982).

Current sociological trends, globalization, and the knowledge explosion of the information age have called for an understanding of leadership, not only in organizations with institutions of higher learning as well (Gibbons, 1998). Researchers have indicated that effective, strong, and ethical leadership is in high demand (Caldwell, Corrinne, Shapiro, Poliner, Gross & Jay, 2004). As a result of such demands, there has been a huge interest in leadership studies and many colleges, universities, and professional development organizations. This influx of interest in the area of leadership has created a huge volume of literature that tends to agree that not all leadership styles are the same (Burns, 1978).

There are certain leadership styles that are effective and others who are not (Maxwell, 1993). Moreover, the literature indicates that transformational leadership may be identified as a highly effective leadership model that is prevalent in high performing organizations (Bass, 1990; Kouzes & Posner, 2002; Maxwell, 1993).

A review of various and current studies on leadership reveal that there is a wide variety of different theoretical approaches to explain the complexities of leadership process (e.g., Bass, 1990; Bryman, 1992; Gardner, 1990; Hickman, 1998; Rost, 1991). Different researchers conceptualize leadership as a trait, behavior, or style. Further leadership studies have been conducted in many different contexts ranging anywhere from societies to small groups to political structures and large organizations (Kouzes & Posner, 2003).

Based on early research which approached leadership studies according to traits, behaviors, style, and contingency theories; James MacGregor Burns (1978) based his premise on these early methods of leadership research. Leadership theory and research has developed significantly since those early days. Moreover, scholars and practitioners have contributed significantly to the advancement of leadership studies. As more contributions are being made to the Academy no doubt more leadership research will greatly enhance our understanding of leadership – both theory and practice.

The Transformational Leader

9 01 2010

Leading the way in uncertain times – a call to transformational leadership.        –By Dr. Mark Ellis

Just a brief look in the newspaper or a few minutes watching the evening news, anyone can tell that we are facing undeniable change — not only in America but also around the world. I would like to suggest that we have no greater time to demonstrate effective leadership during difficult times. What do you see? Problems, or opportunities? While challenges are undeniable, a transformational leader will face challenges head-on and bring about positive and profitable change – even in the midst of the most extreme circumstances.

What is a transformational leader?

The transformational leadership paradigm has been an established and highly recognized form effective leadership (Avolio & Bass, 1988; Bass, 1990; Yammarino & Bass, 1990; Bass & Avolio, 1993; Yammarino & Bass, 1993; Yammarino, Spangler, & Bass, 1993). The theory of transformational leadership was developed by Burns (1978) and further developed by Bass (1990). This theory came from a qualitative analysis of biographies of various political and military leaders.

Burns (1978) identified transformational leadership as significantly effective as the transformational leader has the ability to raise the consciousness of followers to higher ideals. Moreover, the literature suggests that the transformational leadership model has been identified as a key component in bringing change to organizations seeking to implement change and higher levels of performance. Transformational leadership has often been contrasted with transactional leadership (Burns, 1978; Yammarino & Bass, 1990).

Bass (1985) states that transactional leadership is based on contingent reinforcement of self-interest. However, Bass states that transactional leadership may be necessary in the preliminary stages of transformational leadership (1985). Avolio and Bass (1988) also identified three elements of transformational leadership: charisma, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration, while Burns (1978) claimed that transformational leadership brings social change (p. 4).

Moreover, transformational leadership brings about change and organizational effectiveness (Bass, 1985; Avolio, Waldman & Einstien, 1988; Yammarino & Bass, 1990). Moreover, subordinates are more willing to exert more effort when transformational leadership exists (Singer, 1985). Further, Burns (1978) also states that transformational leadership brings both leader and follower to a higher level of motivation and morality (p. 20). As such, transformational leadership has the positive impact on organizations and subordinates that make it a desired form of leadership.

Wolfe (2001) states that leading change requires transformational leaders who can exemplify skill which will overcome resistance in an organization undergoing change. Further, Kouzes and Posner (2005) describe transformational leaders as being future oriented, open-minded, dynamic, and concerned about strategic planning (Harris, 1985). Further, transformational leaders focus on transforming employees causing them to have a higher level of commitment to the organization (Roberts, 1985). Bass (1985) suggests that transformational leaders have the ability to transform followers into becoming leaders themselves. This phenomenon is caused by the transformational leader in developing the follower to the point where they are willing to think beyond themselves and become high performers (p. 155).

The literature also shows that transformational leaders utilize idealized influence, individualized consideration, inspirational motivation, and intellectual stimulation to induce change, enhancing employees’ capacity to be innovative, make strategic decisions, and develop their leadership skills. Further, transformational leaders seek to unite organizations that consist of many departments, employees, cultures and subcultures, encouraging them to make the organization’s vision a reality (Bryman, 1992).

As suggested by the literature presented above, the transformational leader can have a positive impact on any organization, business entity, or society as a whole. As a business entrepreneur, organizational, or community leader, consider the transformational leadership model as your approach to leadership. Never before has there been a greater need for transformational leaders in the global marketplace who have the ability to challenge followers to raise their expectations, perform at a higher standard, and pave the way toward a greater future.

Can the Transactional Leader survive?

9 01 2010
Transactional Leadership amid Current Trends –By Dr. Mark Ellis
In previous years, the transactional leadership model was the prominent leadership style throughout the 20th century. The rise of corporate America, no doubt, formed some of the most astounding business organizations in the history of humanity. Various transactional leaders formed what is identified as a bargained for exchange, based on reward and punishment of subordinates. This approach seemed to be the norm. However, due to the extreme changes in the 21th century can the transactional leadership model even survive? There seems to be a mixed consensus among scholar-practitioners who either endorse or decry transactional forms of leadership.
The assumptions of transactional leadership are that the performance of subordinates is based on a system of reward and punishment (Burns, 1979; Bass, 1985). Further, the assumption is also that leadership is highly effective in an organizational environment where there is a clear chain of command. As Bass (1985) observes, compliance clear and direct objectives and completion are all important factors that underlie a transactional leadership. Clarification of goals in the completion of tasks is an essential component of transactional leadership (Friedman, 2004).
The transactional leadership basically engages in a transaction with their subordinates requiring them to perform based on a previously negotiated compensation of reward (Bass, 1990). Expectations of the leader are communicated to the subordinate in clear and definite terms. Further, punitive action against subordinates is likewise communicated from the leader to the follower in the event that the follower fails to meet a certain criteria as set forth by the leader.
Unlike transformational leadership that encourages followers to look beyond self-interests the transactional leadership model requires compliance to specific standards which may appeal to the self-interests of individual stakeholders which in turn is motivated through incentives and rewards (Friedman, 2004). In the transactional environment, the emphasis is more management, rather than leadership oriented (Burns, 1978). The transactional leader may intervene and take corrective action and in essence, managed by exception when standards are not met or tasks are not completed or workers deviate from the rules and standards within the organization (Bass, 1990). Further Bass asserts that transactional leadership is a prescription for mediocrity (p. 20).
In an environment that is under the influence of a transactional leader, it is presumed that subordinates their authority to their leaders, whether it is immediate mid level or senior level superiors. In this model is the duty of the subordinates to comply with the leader’s directives as agreed on within the leader-follower contract. Avolio, Bass, Berson and Jung, (2003) identify a transactional leadership relationship with followers as such followers received praise, rewards, and resources or the avoidance of disciplinary action based on the follower’s performance.
One of the key characteristics of transactional leadership is that there is an exchange between the leader and the follower. Further, as Bass (1985) suggests, transactional leadership, unlike its transformational leadership counterpart is mostly based on contingent reward and order management by exception. According to Yammarino and Bass (1990), over the last several decades the dominant leadership style which has been prevalent in the world of modern business, has been transactional. Further, the transactional leader who induces a contingent reward system has a direct impact on followers affecting attitudes and performance as a result of a reward and punishment system (Avolio, Waldman, & Einstein, 1988; Waldman, Bass, & Yammarino, 1990). motivated through incentives and rewards (Friedman, 2004).
 In the transactional environment, the emphasis is more management, rather than leadership oriented (Burns, 1978). The transactional leader may intervene and take corrective action and in essence, managed by exception when standards are not met or tasks are not completed or workers deviate from the rules and standards within the organization (Bass, 1990). Further Bass asserts that transactional leadership is a prescription for mediocrity (p. 20).
In an environment that is under the influence of a transactional leader, it is presumed that subordinates their authority to their leaders, whether it is immediate mid level or senior level superiors. In this model is the duty of the subordinates to comply with the leader’s directives as agreed on within the leader-follower contract. Avolio, Bass, Berson and Jung, (2003) identify a transactional leadership relationship with followers as such followers received praise, rewards, and resources or the avoidance of disciplinary action based on the follower’s performance.
One of the key characteristics of transactional leadership is that there is an exchange between the leader and the follower. Further, as Bass (1985) suggests, transactional leadership, unlike its transformational leadership counterpart is mostly based on contingent reward and order management by exception. According to Yammarino and Bass (1990), over the last several decades the dominant leadership style which has been prevalent in the world of modern business, has been transactional. Further, the transactional leader who induces a contingent reward system has a direct impact on followers affecting attitudes and performance as a result of a reward and punishment system (Avolio, Waldman, & Einstein, 1988; Waldman, Bass, & Yammarino, 1990).
In closing, it will be interesting to see whether or not the transactional leadership style even survives over the course of the next several decades. With transformational, situational, pragmatic, and path-goal theories still at the table; the transactional leadership approach may give way to a more conducive leadership paradigm in order to facilitate the needs of organizations in the 21st century.


Launching 2010

21 11 2009

Our small contribution to the academic blogsphere designed for MBA students. Thankfully, the internet has leveled the playing field for information and resources unavailable before. Here, we will be discussing anything from management – leadership theory and trends, to development in case-law and the legal business environment.

As the course progresses, students are encouraged to interact and discuss the various topics presented.