Transform into Super Leaders:


and See Charismatic Leadership

David M. Boje  December 25, 2000

INDEX TO THIS PAGE (Click and go)

Introduction: How Story was Stolen from Charismatic Leadership
Weber (1948)
Figure 1 - Weber's Types and X/Y Dimensions of Traits
Burns 1978 Transforming
Figure 2 - Plotting Burn's Types on X, Y & Z Dimensions of Traits
Bass 1985 Transformational
Bennis & Nanus 1985 Transformational
Schein 1985 Culture Change
Also see Charismatic Leadership 
Problems from a critical postmodern perspective

Introduction: How Story was Stolen from Charismatic Leadership

    In the beginning there was Max Weber's (1947) story of charismatic leaders, heroes that transformed and changed the world, until they were ousted or succeeded by bureaucratic or traditional authority.  Sir MacGregor Burns (1978) studied Weber and reasoned that transactional leaders were like the bureaucrats, and charismatic heroic leaders were the transformation leaders.  Burns set sail from the Isle of Behavior, already having sailed to the Isle of Traits, and had heard of the Isle of Situation (but did not go there). Burns came to settle on the Isle of Transformational Leadership (there is an out island there called Charisma).

Like Weber, Burns reasoned that moral values were important to leadership. For Burns, the transforming leaders focused on ends, while the transactional leaders negotiated and bargained over the means.  Burns studied the historical, social, economic, and political context of the stories of great leaders to develop subcategories of bother transactional and transformational leaders (See Table Two). However, Burns dismissed Machiavelli and Nietzsche's theories of power as being amoral. Burns favored what he considered moral leaders, those without WILL TO POWER. They all had what he called "the Spur of Ambition."

    The Earl of Bass had also sailed from the Isle of Behavior and quickly decided that Burns' stories were too messy, too hard to interpret, and instructed his magicians to concoct technologies and instruments to convert story to factor analytic survey questions.  Bass accused Burns of three atrocities: (1) Burns did not pay attention to the portfolio of followers' needs and wants, (2) Burns restricted transformational leadership to moral ends, and worst of all, (3) Burns set up a single continuum running from transactional to transformational leaderly types (Bass, 1985: 20-22). These are serious charges and mostly a wrong reading of Burns (1978) and Weber (1947).

    First, both Bass, and to a less extent Burns, neglected the transactional aspects of Weber. Second, while Burns did take of moral leadership, his approach was to look at the high and low morality of both transactional and transformational leaders.  Third, Bass' critiques Burns for setting up a continuum from transactional to transformational, but ends up doing the same thing. In addition Bass' theory becomes of a dualistic hierarchy of transformation over transaction (see study guide on deconstruction). 

These are some of the intrigues of the Isle of Transformation, currently the most popular island of all.

Max Weber's (1947) Model of Transactional and Transformational Leaders

Table One: Max Weber's (1947) Model of Transaction and Transformation Leadership Authority

THREE FRAMES FOR THE Capitalist Entrepreneur

2. Bureaucratic (Transactional)

Bureaucracy is "the exercise of control on the basis of knowledge: (p. 339). It is the stuff of rational legal hierarchical power, the Bureaucratic leader.

1. Charistmatic/ Hero (Transformer)

An individual personality  set apart form ordinary  people and endowed with supernatural, superhaman powers, and heroic Charismatic leadership qualities. In short part Hero, and part Superman/ Superwoman.

3. Traditional (Feudal/ Prince) 

Traditional is an arbitrary exercise of Sultan power bound to loyalty, favoritism, and politics. It is stuff of Princely leadership.

Figure One: X & Y Leader Model

Introduction - Few, if any, leadership theorists have noted the transactional aspects of Weber's (1947) model of the three leaderly authorities. Yet, what Weber theorized is quite consistent (though not identical) with the transactional theory of Burns (1978) and Bass (1985). Further, Burns, Bass, and then House (1977) all but ignore the routinization of charisma aspects of Weber's theory, handing over a partial reading of Weber.  Most of all, what is missed about Weber by these and other leadership theorists, is the dynamic quality of the triadic Weberian model of leadership (See Table One). It is assumed that the Traditional authority can be ignored, as the bureaucratic gets subsumed under transactional, and the the charismatic, partially appropriated as transformational.  For me, Weber's Traditional form picks up many of the political aspects that Burns differentiates into several subcategories of transactional leaders (i.e. opinion, legislative, and party leader). Finally, the leadership theorists prefer to ignore Machiavelli's Prince, where the Traditional form continues to play the politics of power in modern organizations. 

 About Weber - Max Weber was born 1864 and died 1920 (See Weber Page). Weber asks how is it a leader can "legitimately" give a command and have actions carried out? He answered the question by classifying claims to the "legitimacy" in the exercise of authority. Except for slavery, people entered into one of three kinds of leader/follower relations (Weber, 1947: 328-349, summarized). This is an idela type model, where Weber lays out each ideal type, but also shows how in his inductive observations lead him to believe that they occur in combination (such as a mixture of charismatic and bureaucratic and traditional components of authority and leadership, see p. 333). Only in the ideal world is the bureaucracy "free of the necessity of compromise between different opinions and also free of shifting majorities" (p. 336). Weber also argues that "there may be gradual transitions between these types" of leadership and authority systems (p. 336). 

Here are the ideal types:

  1. Bureaucratic/ Rational Grounds - resting on a belief in the 'legality' of patterns of normative rules and the right of those elevated to authority under such rules to issue commands (legal authority). The ideal (pure abstract) type of bureaucracy (p. 333-336) is free of transaction negotiation and bargaining for resources and power, but what Weber terms the "monocratic" (p. 337-341) and "modern" (capitalistic) types are much more transactional. The bureaucratic type of leadership operates in a transaction economy. 
    The leader is subject to strict and systematic discipline and control in the conduct of the office. 
    Claims to obedience based on rational values and rules and established by agreement (or imposition). The office holder is restricted to impersonal official obligations and commands.
    Consistent system of abstract rules to apply to particular cases and governing the limits laid down on the corporate group.
    There is a clearly defined hierarchy of offices. Persons exercise the authority of their office and are subject to an impersonal order; officials, not persons exercise authority. They have the necessary authority to carry out their specialized functions.
    Each office is defined sphere of competence and is filled by a free contractual relationship (free selection based on technical qualifications or examination). Each office is a career, a full time occupation. 
    People are remunerated by fixed salaries, in money and in pensions. Salary scales are graded according to rank in the hierarchy. 
    There is a system of promotion based upon seniority or achievement (dependent on judgment of  superiors). 
    Person who obeys authority does so in their capacity as a member of the corporate group. 
    Person does not owe obedience to the individual, but to the impersonal order.
    A specified sphere of competence involves a sphere of obligations to perform functions marked off in the division of labor. Not every administrative organ is provided with compulsory powers.
    The means of compulsion are clearly defined and their use is subject to definite conditions.
    There are rules that regulate the conduct of an office (either technical rules or norms). 
    Only people demonstrating adequate technical training qualification can be selected to be administrative staff or placed in official positions. 
    There is a right to appeal and a right to state grievances from the lower to the higher. 
    Sometimes administrative heads are elected. But in the pure form, the hierarchy is dominated by the principle of appointment.  Appointment by free selection and and free contract is essential to modern bureaucracy.  
    Administrative staff should be completely separated from ownership of the means of production or administration. Workers, staff, and administrators do not own the means of production. There is a complete separation of property belonging to the personal and to the organization. The exception is the peasantry who still owns the means of subsistence (p. 338). 
    People do not own their positions
    Administrative acts, decisions, and rules are formulated and recorded in writing.  
    At the op of the business corporation is a position that is not purely bureaucratic.  It is more the position of a monarch (p. 3350. 
    Capitalism fosters bureaucratic development, though bureaucracy arises in other settings (e.g. socialist).  "Capitalism is the most rational economic basis for bureaucratic administration and enables it to develop in the most rational form...". (p. 339). Weber foresaw that socialism would require a higher degree of formal bureaucracy than capitalism (p. 339). 
    EXAMPLES: The Catholic Church, hospitals, religious orders, profit-making business, large-scale capitalistic enterprise, modern army, the modern state, trade union, and charitable organizations (p. 334-335).
    ADVANTAGES - capable of attaining the highest degree of efficiency. Technical efficiency. The corporate control over coercive leaders. Favors the leveling of social classes.
    DISADVANTAGES - powerful interests co-opt the offices and turn them into feudal kingdoms. 
    1. Leveling in the interest of broadest possible basis of recruitment in terms of technical competence.
    2. Tendency to plutocracy growing out of interest in greater length of technical training.
    3. Formalistic spirit of impersonality that stunts enthusiasm and passion; Duty over personal considerations.
  2. Traditional Grounds (e.g. the Prince)- resting on an established belief in the sanctity of immemorial traditions and the legitimacy of the status of those exercising authority under them (traditional authority).
    Legitimacy and power to control is handed down from the past. This power can be exercised in quite arbitrary ways (Chief can declare himself above the jurisdiction of the court).
    Office held by virtue of traditional status and be recruiting favorites or by patrimony. 
    Obligations are not by office but personal loyalty to the chief. contracts of fealty. 
    Promotion is by the arbitrary grace of the chief (no technical training of skill required). 
    Commands are legitimized by traditions
    Obligations of obedience on the basis of personal loyalty (kinship, slaves, or dependents).
    Chief if free to confer or withhold his personal pleasure or displeasure according to personal likes and dislikes that  can be arbitrary. 
    The traditional exercise of authority is only limited by resistance aroused in the subjects. Or, but pointing to a failure to act according to the traditions. 
    Vassals are sorts of favorite people of the chief. This is termed Sultanism (the organization responds to arbitrariness and irrationality, rather than to the rationality of economic activity, p. 355).
    Functions are defined in terms of competition among the interest of those seeking favors, income, and other advantage. Fees can be paid to the Royal courts to purchase functions, such as shipping or taxation. This allows some mobility among the classes. It also results in bribery and corruption as well as disorganization. 
    There is an irrational division of official functions (established by rights or fees, as described above). 
    EXAMPLES - ruling families, feudal kingdoms in China Egypt and Africa, family business, Roman and other nobilities, clans and armies of the coloni. 
    DISADVANTAGES:  The development of capitalism is obstructed (p. 355). In Traditional authority, the following Bureaucratic facets are ABSENT that facilitate capitalism (p. 343):
    1. Clearly defined sphere of competence subject to impersonal rules
    2. Rational ordering of relations of superiority and inferiority
    3. A regular system of appointment and promotion on the basis of free contract
    4. Technical training as a regular requirement
    5. Fixed salaries


  3. Charismatic Grounds (e.g. the Hero) - resting on devotion to the specific and exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him (Charismatic authority). 
    Charismatically qualified leader is obeyed by virtue of personal trust in him and his revelation, their heroism or exemplary qualities so far as they fall within the scope of the individual's belief in his charisma.
    The words mission and spiritual duty are used q lot, as are words like heroic warrior, prophet, and visionary. 
    Charisma regarded as of divine origin, the person is treated as a leader. 
    Hero worship. Heroism begins with proof of charismatic qualification.  The hero must fight, and must be successful in brining benefit to followers, or charismatic authority will disappear. Acts of misfortune can be signs that the 'gift' has been withdrawn by the gods. 
    Deference to heroes in a war, leaders of a hunt, people of legal wisdom or a shaman. founds of religions such as Mormonism (Joseph Smith) or Christianity (Christ) or Islam (Muhammad). 
    "What is alone important is how the individual is actually regarded by those subject to charismatic authority, but his 'followers' or 'disciples' "(p. 359). 
    Set apart from ordinary people and endowed with supernatural and superhuman powers and abilities. 
    one type of charisma is a hereditary monarchy; Another is patriarchcal authority. A third is religious charismatic. A fourth is the military hero.
    Charismatic leaders choose members not for technical training, but on the basis of social privilege and the charismatic qualities of disciples. People are not promoted, they are only called or summoned on the basis of their charismatic qualification.  
    Followers live in communistic relationship with their leaders on means provided as voluntary gifts. 
    There are no established administrative organs.
    There is no system of formal rules. the only basis of authority is personal charisma.
    There is no abstract legal principle.
    The leader preaches, creates, or demands new obligations.  There are revelations and then there is the leaders will to power (Nietzsche).
    Charismatic authority repudiates the past and is in this sense a revolutionary force (in contrast to traditional authority). 
    Charismatic authority is radically opposed to both rational and particularly bureaucratic authority (p. 361). 
    The charismatic is also, in pure for, an anti-economic force (p. 362).  At the same time it is the greatest revolutionary force. 
    Charisma can not be taught, learned or acquired in discipleship. charisma can only be tested for, as in the Jedi Knights of Star Wars. And there is all kinds of magical asceticism to the Jedi Knights that is proof of their charisma, not to mention their heroic journeys of adventure. 
    When two charismatic leaders oppose one another, the only recourse is to some kind of a contest, by magical means or even an actual physical battle of the leaders (p. 361). 
    the biggest challenge is for the charismatic administrative staff to transition to a bureaucratic and rational administration (p. 370-371). 
    ADVANTAGES - escape the control of bureaucratic apparatus. Escape the bonds of traditional inertia. 

    Weber is careful to point out that none of the three ideal types occurs in "pure" form (p. 329, 333) and that transitions and combinations can be observed. And he noted that any pure charisma went through a process of routinization (a move from autocratic charisma to its democratization). There can be a combination of bureaucratic, traditional, and charismatic leadership (p. 333). And Weber was quite clear in stating that at the top of the bureaucracy, sits a CEO who fits the category of the monarch (p. 335); what Machiavelli calls the Prince. And at the top of the military command, is an officer who is "clearly marked off by certain class distinctions" (p. 356).  Officers differ radically from charismatic leaders (though General Douglas MacArthur was said to combine position, class elitism, and charisma).  Mercenary armies could be dispatched for private capitalistic purposes (p. 356).  In short the ideal (pure) types transmute one into the other. 

    Weber observed that there can be gradual transitions between the three types. The capitalistic entrepreneur could charismatically organize an enterprise with loyal followers vested in their vision and mission. Then as the hierarchy, rules, contracts, and other apparatus are applied, the charismatic leader sits a top a bureaucracy.  The bureaucracy set constraints upon his exercise of authority and leadership.  It may even replace him with an office-holder.  As the bureaucracy turns to stone, it becomes increasingly feudalistic, based on precedent, ritual and tradition.  Soon people look about for a charismatic leader to transform the feudal situation into a charismatic cause. There is a decentralization of authority, more delegation, and professionalization of appointments. Thus through charismatic transformation, the traditional authority becomes a bureaucracy, and turns feudal, and the endless cycle continues on till the present moment. Only small firms escape the influence of bureaucracy, but as they grown there is no escape. 

    Yet while the cycle continues, the spread of bureaucratic administration in church, military, court, state, corporation, and university is foretold by Weber. Bureaucracy to Weber was the first knowledge organizations. 

Bureaucratic administration means fundamentally the exercise o control on the basis of knowledge.  This is the feature of it which makes it specifically rational.  This consists on the one hand in technical knowledge which, by itself, is sufficient to ensure it a position of extraordinary power.  But in addition... holders of power... increase their power... by the knowledge growing out of experience... technical knowledge is somewhat the same position as commercial secrets to to technological training. It is a product of the striving for power (p. 339). 

What is interesting and pioneering about Weber's knowledge organization, is that it is based on a theory of power. Technical and experience knowledge and the control of it is part of the striving for power. And "the capitalistic entrepreneur is, in our society, the only type who has been able to maintain at least relative immunity from subjection to the control of rational bureaucratic knowledge: (p. 339). The charismatic has divine and magical power to inspire devotion and to return successfully from heroic journeys. 

    Overtime, there is routinization of charisma.  The charismatic leader and following can not remain stable, and will turn to either traditional or bureaucratic authority. The bureaucracy may need a charismatic leader to initiate reform, even revolution, but once the change is made, the charismatic personality has to go. Other interest become conspicuously evident.

    There can be a search for a new charismatic leader. Techniques of succession are based on finding someone with a calling, but not by rational selection criteria. The designated one must attain the recognition of the community. It is not a matter of majority vote, unanimity is required. Charismatic rule is sometimes transferred by heredity, but the bearer must prove they have charisma. Kings and Queens anoint their successor in coronations with great official ritual and public spectacle.  In the weak form, charismatic legitimacy is given to the position, as in the succession of popes and their divine right to rule being decided by ritual means.  If the personal charismatic leader can not find another charismatic person to succeed them, they the corporation will turn to a Prince or Bureaucrat. 

    There are several main points. 

  1. Weber present more than an ideal type model of bureaucratic, traditional and charismatic authority. His is a dynamic model showing how one form of leadership and organization reverts into the other.
  2. Therefore, the model is cyclical, with charismatic being the most unstable form, and bureaucratic ending up as a hybrid of monarchy at the top and bureaucracy everywhere else. When the charismatic revolution happen, there is a reversion to either bureaucracy or traditional fiefdoms in the corporate world. After revolutions directed against favoritism and powers of the bureaucratic office, the charismatic hero is displaced in favor of a bureaucrat or a prince. 
  3. The model is quite situational.  Weber specified the economic and social conditions that support the selection of each type of leaderly authority. But it is an unstable situational theory. 
  4. Weber writes eloquently about the transformation of charisma into an anti-authoritarian direction. The legitimacy becomes democratic, once leaders are selected by plebiscite (vote).  The new charismatic authority is based on the legitimacy of public acclaim. For Weber the anti-authoritarian direction of the transformation of charisma is into the path of greater rationality (p. 390). 

James MacGregor Burns (1978) Model of Transactional and Transformational Leaders

Burns bases his theory of transactional and transformational leadership on Kohlberg's stages of moral development and Weber's (1947) theory of leadership and authority.  

For a leadership paper on Nike Corporation applying Kohlberg's moral stages of reasoning, please see Boje (2000c)

Table Two: James MacGregor Burns (1978) Model of Moral, Transaction & Transformational Leaders

MORAL VALUE LEADER - emerges from, and always returns to, the fundamental wants and needs, aspirations, and values of the followers (p. 4). For Burns his project is to "deal with leadership as distinct from mere power-holding and as the opposite of brute power" (p. 4). 

  1. is lead to have a relationship not only of power but of mutual needs, aspirations, and higher values

  2. in responding to leaders, followers have adequate knowledge of alternative leaders and programs and the capacity to choose among those alternatives

  3. leaders take responsibility for their commitments - if they promise certain kinds of economic, social, and political change, they assume leadership in the bringing about of that change. 

Burns sets up a duality between amoral and moral leaders, and only the moral leaders with higher purpose can be transactional or transformational leader.  Thus Burns' theory of morality drives the duality.  The hierarchy is as follows: amoral leaders are coercive with a strong will to power, transactional leaders have the moral means to lead, and transformational leaders add to transaction what is lacking, the moral ends of leadership. 

THE AMORAL LEADER is for Burns neither transactional or transformational. Amoral leader is for Burns and oxymoron. First, he rejects the "naked power wielding coercive" dictators and fascists are rejected as being "true" leaders (1978: 20). "For Burns (1978: 20, italics mine) "naked power-wielding can be neither transformational nor transactional; only leadership can be."  Second, to be a moral leader, for Burns is to be sensitive to the needs and motives of potential followers. Third, the "crucial variable" for Burns is the "purpose" (p. 19) of the leader. Fourth, Burns rejects the "gee whiz" personality cult of celebrities as an elitist theory of power (p. 1, 22).  Finally, Burns rejects the kinds of Traditional Legitimating rulers (or Sultans) that Weber (1947) writes about. This serves to appropriate Weber's charisma as transformational, bureaucratic as transactional, but exorcises traditional (feudal) authority and leadership as being outside the duality of amoral, moral-transactional (means), and moral-transformational (ends) leadership. Burns, therefore uses us moral/amoral theory of leadership and power to reject the following persons as non-leaders:






Also rejected is Gandhi (the question is why?).

THE MORAL VALUE LEADER is both transactional and transformational but in different ways (but never amoral).

Transactional Moral Value Leaders - lead with modal values (the means over ends).  Modal values include:




Honoring one's commitments 

Princes are less honest, responsible, fair or willing to honor a commitment that gets in the way of their power.  Bureaucrat leaders define themselves by the modal values, unless they become Princes.

Transformational Moral Value Leaders - lead with transcendent values (the ends over means). Transcendent values include:




Collective Well Being

Heroic charismatic leaders 


Transactional Leader

 approaches followers with an eye to exchanging one thing for another: jobs for votes, or subsidies for campaign contributions. 

  1. Opinion
  2. Group
    Whyte's Street Corner Society
  3. Party
  4. Legislative
  5. Executive
    de Gaulle

Transformational Leader

 "recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower... (and) looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower" (p. 4). 

  1. Intellectuals
  2. Reformers
  3. Revolutionaries
    Louis XVI
  4. Heroes (Charismatics)
    Joan of Arc

    In Table Two (above), Burns' (1978) theory is summarized. Amoral values drive people who can wield power but are not by Burns' definition, leaders. Moral values (means versus ends) drive the transactional and transformational leadership differently than the "evil: and brut power" of the amoral ones (p. 10). In short, Burns sets up a duality, a dichotomy between "saints" and "sinners" (p. 10). 

Table Two includes lists of leaders mentioned by Burns to exemplify his typologies of subsets of transactional and transformational leaders, as well as the excluded amoral "evil" sinners. It is important, however, to note, that the leader can embrace different kinds of leadership (subsets of either transactional transformational categories, such as Lenin) as the situations, times, and conditions merit (such as Roosevelt's treatment of the senior Kennedy). Hitler, Gandhi, and Roosevelt seem to fit all the categories in different situations, each able to be transactional, appealing to the varied interests and norms of groups, or transformational, staging spectacles of heroism with charismatic speeches. In short the leader wears many masks. Yet Roosevelt, but not Hitler and Gandhi actually get written into the transformational and transactional theory of leadership. For Burns Hitler is easy to reject as a simple despot, "Hitler... was no leader, he was a tyrant" (p. 2-3).  To me, this sets up an incredible mystery: why is Gandhi marginalized by Burns, and left out of his recitation of transformation and transaction leadership?

    The Forgotten Moral Dimension of Burn's Model - Burns (1978) studied the stories of great and lesser leaders to develop a taxonomy of amoral (power wilders) and moral (transactional and transformational leadership), and only moral leaders are admitted to his typology.  The typology is a duality in that amoral leaders are not admitted to be "real leaders," and the real leaders are either transactional or transformational. Further transformational has hierarchical position over transactional, transformational being defined as being "more potent," "more complex" and of "higher moral" agency than transitional (p. 4). The hierarchy is Transformational is more than transactional, and these more than amoral uses of power. For example, Hitler's death camps and " holocaust of terror" disqualify him as leader, as does the gulag of Stalin's prisons, an "apparatus of power" (p. 9). Nehru is also rejected, since she "jails her political adversaries" (p. 9).  Burns rejects their naked power as the will to power of the dictator. 

Figure Two: Combining Leader Traits of Weber's (Bureaucrat, Hero & Prince) with Burn's (Opinion, Revolutionary, Reform, Government Party) leaders, using 3D

  Table 1

SEPTET Theatrics

In the box

3  Dimensions of Leadership Box

 X Plot s (behaviors & events)

X Behavior dimension (transaction/transformation)

Y Themes of will to service & will to power

Y Power dimension (will to serve/will to power)

Z Dialogs   of participation

Z Participation dimension (1 voice/many voices)

Inside Box we can locate two elements

Characters and their traits

Traits (Myers & Briggs)

Frames of organizing

Organizing processes

Situation of the  Box has two dimensions

Rhythms of time

Situation (time & place)

Spectacle s of place

The transactional and transformational choices of leaders in Burns' typology do not include naked power wilders. And the transformational ones have modal (means over ends) motives, while the transformational leaders make means consistent with attaining higher ends.  The amoral leaders also lack the intent to bring followers to a higher level of moral reasoning (as in Kohlberg's or Maslow's hierarchies). Many readers miss the fact that for Burns, leadership, be it transactional or transformational was about moral values, and amoral power-wielders did not qualify as leaders (p. 20). In this sense, the duality and hierarchy of amoral, transactional-means, and transformational-ends is based on Burns' theory of power and psychological motives. "All leaders are actual or potential power holders, but not all power holders are leaders" (p. 18). And psychological the power wielders are distinguished from leaders, because the former "treat people as things" and real "leaders do not obliterate followers' motives" (p. 18). At the top of the leadership pyramid is the transformational leader who "converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents" (P. 4). 

For transactional leaders, the negotiation of resources and transactions was monitored by modal values, "that is values of means - honesty, responsibility, fairness, the honoring of commitments - without which transactional leadership could not work" (Burns, 1978: 426). Transformational leadership was more about end-values, such as "liberty, justice, equality" and collective well being (p. 426). For burns both transactional and transformational leadership have moral implications. Burns sought a moral use of power, and looked at the transactional and transformational resources of power holders responding in power relationships within some collective.  Leaders and followers were in exchange relationships, based in power and moral values.

    Deconstructing the Typology The Typology in Table Two can be deconstructed in various ways.  Most interesting, in my view, is how Mahatma Gandhi and Adolph Hitler are not included in Chapters 6 to 9 of Transformational Leadership or chapters 10 to 14 of Transactional Leadership. They appear here and there in discussions of other leaders, but do not become sketches for the subcategories ob Burns' typology (Table Two).  Both Gandhi and Hitler, along with Lenin (who is sketched as both transformational as a revolutionary leader, and transactional as a party leader) -- are however central leader figures in the chapters on the origins of leadership (chapters 3 to 5). The question arises, why does Burns leave Gandhi and Hitler (as well as Nehru, Mussolini, and Stalin) out of his famous typology of great leaders?  

    Leaving out Gandhi is a conspicuous silence. Meanwhile, Lenin, unlike Gandhi (or Hitler), is given a prominent place in the actual transaction and transformation typology, even though all three are analyzed as the foundation of the typology (chapters 1 to 5). Lenin is given a pivotal position in the typology, as perhaps the only leader (other than Roosevelt), who has the qualities of both transactional (party) and transformational (revolutionary) leadership. 

    Why is Gandhi left outside the transformational/ transactional typology?  The answer for Burns is one of motive, the ambition of each leader is different.  Lenin, Hitler, and Gandhi each have "ambition" and ambition for Burns has something to do with Nietzsche's "will to power (p. 13-15), Hobbes' power through fear (p. 15), and McClelland's need for power (p. 14). For Burns to exercise a will to power, is a naked, brute, and despotic use of amoral power and can not be considered as leadership. But then why is Gandhi left out?

    What does Burns say about Gandhi? A clue to Burns' own psychosocial theory of leadership is" "Long before Gandhi, Christian thinkers were preaching non-violence" (p. 2). Burns relies on Erikson's psychoanalysis of the family circumstance of Gandhi, Lenin, and Hitler to decide the differences among the three, and who will ultimately be admitted to Burns' (1978) new pantheon of leadership. 

Gandhi, Lenin, and Hitler all felt close to their mothers (p. 58).
Gandhi, Lenin and Hitler all lost their father at an early age (p. 93). 
Gandhi, Lenin and Hitler each were shaped early in their manhood by the "spur of ambition" (p. 106-111). 

The Spur of Ambition -  the spur of ambition (p. 107) is the characteristic motive that unites Hitler, Lenin, and Gandhi. "If ambition is a ceaseless spur, we must know more about its consequences" (Burns, 1978: 111). 

At several points Burns, admits that Gandhi is a transformational leader. 

Gandhi "created followers who were also leaders" (p. 129-130). 
Gandhi is an example of "transforming leadership" (p. 20). 
"Gandhi almost perfectly exemplified" what Burns summaries as "egocentric self-actualization" (p. 449). 

It is this last quote that, to me, explains why Burns is so conflicted about Gandhi, as a leader, and ultimately, must resort to exorcising Gandhi from his noble transformational and transactional leadership theory. Gandhi failed Burns' leadership test, because he not only suffered the spur of ambition, but was a self-actualizer.  And self-actualizing leaders are too close to the Nietzschean will to power to ever be admitted to the pantheon. 

   Please refer to Myers-Briggs site for my attempt to integrate M-B traits of leaders we have discussed with Figures One and Two leader dimensions.

    X DIMENSION (See Figure One and Two) Transaction/ Transformation Theory and Weber. As TRANSACTIONAL/ TRANSFORMATIONAL (X) becomes less about managerial capitalism (command and control hierarchies, pushing about the rewards and punishments, and playing the corporate game), and more about intellectual capitalism (knowledge networks, diversity, pushing about information systems, and changing the game rules), we move from one end of the X-axis to the other. Everybody predicts a move away from bureaucratic, to post-bureaucratic settings, and a need for leaders who can manage the transformation process to get us there.

Burns, in my view, based his overall exchange model on Weber's approach to charisma, bureaucracy, and power (p. 12, 243).  We can see that transactional exchange is Weber's bureaucratic authority and transformational exchange is the charismatic heroic authority. But Weber had a category, that Burns did not include, that of traditional (feudal) authority. Weber (1947) overall model distinguished between bureaucratic, charismatic (heroic), and traditional (feudal fiefdom or what I call Princely) leadership and authority. Burns did rely on Weber for a theory of power.  Burns had very little to say about Machiavelli or Nietzsche's theories of power. Power for Burns, was Weber's power theory, the probability one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out is own will despite resistance, regardless of the basis on which this probability rests.

    Here and there Burns misreads Weber. For examples Burns (p. 243) asserts "Weber did not make clear whether this give of grace (charisma) was a quality possessed by leaders independent of society or a quality dependent on its recognition by followers."  My own reading is Weber was quite clear on this point.  "What is alone important is how the individual is actually regarded by those subject to charismatic authority, but his 'followers' or 'disciples' "(Weber, 1947: 359). Further Weber argued that followers expected continued proof of charisma, particular in leaders succession. Further, the routinization of charisma was a way to make charismatic more defined by the affirmation of followers (even votes) than by divine inspiration. 

    Burns extends the heroic role of leaders in Weber by looking at contemporary leaders who had a role in the transition of developing societies and economies.  His main contribution is to develop a typology of categories of transaction and transformational leaders, based on his analysis of great historical leaders (See Table Two). Both Weber and Burns look at Napoleon as charismatic. Burns adds Joan of Arc, and Moses to the list of heroes, as well as John F. Kennedy. 

    Mao is part hero and part revolutionary. Other revolutionaries included by Burns are Castro and Lenin, and Louis XVI, who is the recipient of a revolution and is decapitated.  In additional to heroes and revolutionaries Burns includes leaders who enact reform and bring about change through ideas. 

    Transaction leaders are typed into categories such as opinion, group, party, legislative, and executive. 



Transactional leadership "requires a shrewd eye for opportunity, a good hand at bargaining, persuading, reciprocating" (p. 169). 

    Opinion Leaders and Spectacle - In public opinion leadership, the transactions are less tangible, like the exchange of a political office for electoral support (p. 258). Voters get psychic rewards from vicarious participation in the spectacle of the campaign and election. No one expects opinion leaders to fulfill promises anymore.  We watch the presidential campaigns, knowing full well the every facet is orchestrated to arouse this opinion or some other one. Speeches are drafted and redrafted to reflect the latest opinion polls. In the postmodern corporation, leaders change ad campaigns in response to consumer demand, and in the case of Nike and Phil Knight, in response to campus protests over campus apparel, and focus groups with young teens who have heard about sweatshops. Increasingly corporations such as Disney, McDonalds, Monsanto, and Nike control the formal media of communication. Disney buys ABC. Nike puts its swoosh on Mel Gibson in the recent movie "What do women want?" (Answer: they want Nike). corporations are rivals competing for the identical audiences.  Corporations hire media managers and conduct public opinion polls about their products and executives. The manipulation of public opinion is the full time job of opinion-leader CEOs of the postmodern corporation. The spin is everything, and it is the staffers job to put a positive spin on every piece of bad news, and where possible keep bad news off the air (ownership of TV, radio, and newspapers helps).  The public in the age of the WTO protest is increasingly skeptical of opinion-corporate leaders. The interactions and transactions over time of opinion leaders and all types of followers (employees, customers, workers, unions, suppliers, subcontractors, investors, legislatures, and even activists) constitute the structure of political opinion leadership.  Each faction seeks to sway public opinion in its direction. 


    Group Leaders  - the bargainers and bureaucrats.  Burns starts with William F. Whyte's Street Corner Society, a group of young men in their 20s, the Norton Street boys led by Doc. Beneath him are Mike and Dany and also Long John, and beneath them are Nutsy and Angelos and Frank and a half dozen other followers.  Whyte examines the exchange relationships and transactions of this group. Docs part in the transaction was to to offer protection to the group in exchange for their heeding his commands. Transactions consisted of mutual support and mutual promises, expectations, obligations and rewards (p. 288-289).  For Burns, leaders such as Lenin, Hitler, and Gandhi remain part of a system of complex group relationships, where group memberships influence leader, and vice versa. Hitler's troops, for example, followed Hitler out of "dedication to Hitler as a strong, even immortal personality who would ensure their physical strength and protection... Hitler was a brute power wielder, but his role was transactional for certain groups at certain times" (p. 292). In this example, Burns emphasizes the situational aspects of transaction and transformational leadership. 

Leaders can use charisma and transaction to enhance cohesion, solidarity, and conformity, as the situation demands. Leaders are at the center of the groups' communications. The overt exercise of leader power in a group promotes group conflict, heightens competing group claims, and thereby weakens solidarity. 

Burns, in his chapter on group leaders, turns from Whyte's street gang leadership to a renewed discussion of bureaucracy . The tie-in is Whyte's observation that the gang engaged in much repetitive behavior, had self-maintaining tendencies, and a stable equilibrium. There was also a powerful tendency toward conformity in the gang, that is a common characteristic of bureaucracy. "Groups, like nation-states, may regard deviation as disloyalty, noncompliance as treason" (Burns, 1978: 291).

Members of groups usually rank one another informally on the basis of such factors as the recognized ability of the group member to relate to group goals, the extent to which the person lives up to group norms and follows group-approved procedures, and personal qualities that have no special relevance to the group but are highly valued in the culture (p. 291). 

More recent studies of self-managing teams and leaderless groups such as Barker's (1993, 1999) studies of concertive control, find that the conformity norms and coercive sanctions of group can lead to concertive control, in which the group becomes more oppressive and panoptic than any lead by an authoritarian supervisor. 

Bureaucracy favors consensus and discredits clash and controversy, as a threat to its stability (p. 296). As Weber points out bureaucracy discourages charismatic  personalities, favoring a depersonalized hierarchy, with rules, norms, paperwork, and standards, a leadership vested in offices not in persons. Bureaucracy is anti-heroic. The most disciplined, impersonal, and rigid bureaucracy, is however full of Princely power, the jockeying for personal power and competitive advantage of one fiefdom group over another.  At the root of bureaucracy is the Prince, the struggle for power and the politics of power. Rules, originally conceived to be valued ends become transformed into ends, and thus the modal (means over ends) situation of bureaucracy. In the end the groups and divisions of a bureaucracy become political interest groups.  

Leaders of bureaucratic groups and organizations can change social norms by adjusting transactions, conform, be deviate and divisive until a new bargain is struck, or just leave. 


    Government Political - Party Leadership - (See Figure Three) parties contend and conflict in the struggle for power. Leaders face a perpetual battle of combative parties seeking power.  Leaders discover their own interests and activate interests, wants, needs, and expectations of followers, and then promise to meet them, resulting in mobilized demands for economic, social and psychological resources. Power is channeled and distributed, creating the basis of transactional structures of political and party leadership (p. 311). The tendency in such transaction structures is towards oligarchy, as leaders of fighting groups are pitted against one another. In any organization the leader competes and bargains and compromises with competing parties of conflicting group interests. The oligarchy fights against fragmented and decentralization of power into splintered and diverse group interests. The populace resists strong centralized party leadership. The oligarchy resists by forming coalitions. This is Robert Michel's "iron law of oligarchy." Parties begin with transformational, even charismatic leadership and revolution and reform and end up as anti-democratic, bureaucratic, and political organizations. "Bureaucratic timidity replaced the old daring and creativity" (p. 314). Leaders in today's corporate empires engage in bargaining, coalition building, and compromise to get any movement at all among deadlocked political power groups. 

    In short there is a basic conflict between transactional and transformational forces that is being worked out and sorted out in complex organizations. And in this chapter, Burns ignores Machiavelli, but posits the politics of power. Burns' examples are mostly from Parliament and US democracy, but the corporation can bee seen as an unstable coalition of political groups, vying for power, in Princely leadership. 


    Legislative Leadership: The Price of Consensus - Bargaining, reciprocity, and payoff is the transactional trading system of legislative leadership.  None did legislative leadership better than Lyndon B. Johnson. His transactional leadership exploited channels of obligation, expectation, awarding and denying prize committee assignments and chairmanships, allotting congressional funds, amassing and distributing credits, and hinting at threat through scorn and accusation to get his way. Huey Long was also a legislative leader, able to throw up roadblocks, politicize the environment, and organize the rank-and-file. Burns did not remark at all on the relationship between legislative leadership and corporate power.  Today's behind the scenes back-benchers are political action committees, where to finance legislative campaigns, legislators trade their allegiance from constituency to corporate interests. 


    Executive Leadership - "The distinguishing characteristics of executive leaders, in contrast with party or parliamentary leaders, are their lack of reliable political and institutional support, their dependence on bureaucratic resources such as staff and budget, and most of all their use of themselves - their own talent and character, prestige and popularity, in the clash of political interests and values" (p.372). Burns' hero of executive leadership is Charles de Gaulle. De Gaulle had little patience for party of legislative leadership. "De Gaulle drew his political power not from traditional political institutions but from his own resources of self-confidence and indomitability and from direct, personal contact with the French people" (p. 370). De Gaulle and more recently Ronald Ragan used the press conference to assemble journalists for a spectacle they would report to sway popular opinion by depicting dramatic leaderly poses and sound bites, and when popularity crested, the legislature was influenced to support the will of the people. de Gaulle was a theatrical leader, full of pomp and ceremony, using sound bites about the dignity of the office. 

De Gaulle's use of the press conference epitomized his personal approach. In a vast hall used for galas, before six hundred journalists and two or three hundred cabinet members, officials, diplomats, and guests, and in the blaze of television lights, the general would enter through red curtains held apart by ushers in white time and tails. Answering mainly anticipated questions de Gaulle used the conferences less for the edification of the press than to inform and reassure his public (p. 370). 

Spectacle is a powerful arbitrator to concentrate power. Philip Selznick, for Burns, provided the image of the total enterprise as a kind of polity embracing a number of sub organizations (p. 372). In such a polity, some executives cultivate conflict among their staff to better control them.  Others look to available penalties, rewords and inducements to influence their staff (promotions, work assignments, appreciation, etc.). And some set up their own intelligence apparatus for their own unique purposes (p. 373). The accumulation of such power is necessary to overcome resistance to executive plans and techniques.

    Few were better at executive leadership than Franklin Roosevelt. He displayed an intuitive grasp of the needs and motivations of each cabinet member, agency chief, legislator, and ambassador. He would use charm, flattery, manipulation or whatever mask it took to get the mission or task accomplished. 



 "... recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower... (and) looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower" (Burns, 1978: 4). 

Burns saw four categories in his typology: Intellectual, Reform, Revolutionary, and Heroic (charismatic).

Intellectual - An intellectual leader is devoted to seeing ideas and values that transcend immediate practical needs and still change and transform their social milieu. "The concept of intellectual leadership brings in the role of conscious purpose drawn from values" (p. 142).  The intellectual leader is out of step with their own time, in conflict with the status quo. The intellectual leader is a person with a vision that can transform society by raising social consciousness.


Reform - leadership of reform movements requires participation of a large number of allies with various reform and nonreform goals of their own, which means dealing with endless divisions in the ranks, and a collective that is anti-leadership. Reform leadership by definition implies moral leadership, which means an attention to matching the means to the ends (p. 170). Reform leaders transform parts of society to realize moral principles.  Burns uses the example of Charles Grey (born 1764) was the first Earl Grey of Howick.  Grey in 1792 proposed a bill to reform Parliament that would split the Whig party.  He undertook the illegalization of the slave trade, a poor act, the India Bill, and a factory act. Grey put together coalitions and put through reforms that were selected instead of revolution. The combined Reform Bill became law after much posturing and debate in 1832. Grey displayed timing, steadiness of purpose, and mediation skills as a reform leader. 


Revolutionary - "revolutionary leadership demands commitment, persistence, courage, perhaps selflessness and even self-abnegation (the ultimate sacrifice for solipsistic leadership)" (p. 169). Where the reformer operated on the parts, the revolutionary operates on the whole. The analysis of revolution always seems to begin with the storming of the Bastille, an event that transformed the French monarchy. Then there is the Bolshevik revolution, a game conducted by elites over the heads of the masses.  Then there are the coups d'etats of banana republics. "In its broadest meaning revolution is a complete and pervasive transformation of an entire social system" (p. 202). Such transformation means the creation of a new ideology, the rise of a movement, and the zeal to overthrow the status quo, and can result in the reconstruction of economy, education, law, and even social class. Luther, Lenin, Mao and Fidel Castro are examples of tranformative revolutionary leadership. Revolutionary leaders have strong sense of vision, mission, and end-values, the transcendent purpose. A transcendent purpose and strong will is needed to motivate masses of people to revolt in the service of revolution. A little propaganda helps. 

    Martin Luther, for example, was a master propagandist, and "had an absolute, fanatical conviction that carried almost everything before it. And he had the good fortune to live in an era ripe for ideological change, one in which the art of communication had been modernized and the voice of a lone monk could be heard in many lands" (p. 203). October 31, 1517, Luther posts the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. 

When necessity demands it, and the pope is an offense to Christendom, the first man who is able should, as a true member of the whole body, do what he can to bring about a truly free council. No one can do this as well as the temporal authorities (quote form Luther).

He engage in inflammatory writings and dialogues. The printing presses (using wood cut impressions) spread his new demands On Improving the Christian Estate. Was Luther just a catalyst, the lightning rod for historical forces that had just piled up around him?  He shook the foundations of theological, political and economic power. Luther was not an organizer, politician, or a strategist, he was a prophet.

    In the French revolution, leaders emerged spontaneously in the crowd stricken by starvation, to lead mass volcanic actions of revolution, in the face of soaring bread prices, gouging middlemen and government harassment. Gangs of hungry peasants roamed the countryside, pillaging and burning chateaus. With this revolution, the feudal monarchy was abolished, nobility was renounced, church crusades denounced, and local government was reorganized. Revolutionary forces included divisions between craftsmen and journeymen, factory owners and workers, and urban and rural factions. Friends of Louis XVI rallied to oppose the revolutionary forces that would destroy the monarchy and their way of life.  Six weeks after the Bastille was stormed, the Assembly put forth the Declaration of the Rights of Man. "Men are born and remain free and equal in rights" was one provision. Another was equal right to hold office and to speak, write, and print freely. 

      In 1770, at age 14, Marie Antoinette left her homeland and traveled to Versailles to marry Louis XVI. She was from Austria and and her foreign and frivolous ways were blamed for turning Louis's head away from the needs of the people and for his failure to bear heirs. She also "yawned and giggled openly during royal ceremonies" and surrounded herself with attendants in public" AND Marie Antoinette was also called Madame Deficit and blamed for the country's financial problems (Source). 

'Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.' Let them eat cake. [Did she say this? The remark, perhaps apocryphal, was attributed to others much earlier.]

Marie tried to use PR to spin a new story about her. She had a painting commissioned to demonstrate her family virtues. But word of mouth was then more powerful than painting. 

Marie-Antoinette and Her Children by E. Vigée-Lebrun, 1787

On October 5 a mob of Parisian women marched on Versailles, shouting for the queen's blood. On July 14th, 1789 the Parisian populace razed the Bastille and a short time later the royal family was imprisoned in the palace of Tuileries. In 1792 the National Convention declared France a Republic. King Louis XVI (House of Bourbon) in December 1792 was put on trial for treason, found guilty, and  on went bravely to the guillotine to be beheaded on January 21, 1793 (AT Place de la Revolution in Paris, now known as the Place de la Concorde. ). 

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France. 1755 - 1793, and her two sons were placed in prison and then executed. Marie Antoinette was beheaded October 16, 1793

Antoinette was cruelly treated during her final days of captivity. Her children were taken from her, and her best friend, the Princess de Lambelle, was killed and her severed head was put on a pole and paraded in front of the Queen. Antoinette followed her husband to the guillotine on October 16, 1793. She was executed without proof of the crimes for which she was accused (Source).

On October 16, 1793 she was taken through the streets of Paris in an open cart. She maintained her dignity to the end. On the scaffold she accidentally stepped on the executioner's foot, and her last words were, "Monsieur, I ask your pardon. I did not do it on purpose." (Source). 

Revolutionary leaders went on a reign of terror (a Year of Terror) and France declared war with all major nation states and then devoured its own children in acts of mass murder. 


Heroic (Charismatic) - The heroic, charismatic is what is today most referenced as transformational leadership. Yet for Burns, this was just one of  four categories.  

For Burns, Moses is the epitome of charismatic heroic leadership. 

Moses is born during the Jewish enslavement in Egypt. His mother, Yocheved, desperate to prolong his life, floats him in a basket in the Nile.

Exodus 2: 10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses, and said: 'Because I drew him out of the water.' 11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown up, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren.

Moses led the Hebrew people, the Israelites, out of slavery in Egypt. He is depicted in Exodus, as a vigorous and decisive leader. And God revealed himself to Moses, which is proof of his charisma. As leader, Moses is surrounded by an endless number of needs, people demands, requests for decisions, and problems to solve (Source). "Moses
sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening."

"For the role of a leader in Israel is not only to defend, redeem, preach and govern, but also and primarily, to nurture. Moses is the savior of Israel and their teacher and legislator, but also their raaya meheimna - their "faithful shepherd" and "shepherd of faith" - meaning that he is the provider of their needs, both materially and spiritually, feeding their bodies with manna and feeding their souls with faith" (source). 


Theatrics of Leadership

Burns points us to some of the theatrics of leadership. For example the heroic (charismatic) leader, loves a spectacle, and the "spectators... love the performer ... (and in politics) the halo surrounding Number One bathes the political landscape in glow of harmony and consent: (p. 248).  (See Theatrics).

Bernard M. Bass (1985) Model of Transactional and Transformational Leaders

Ironically, Bernard Bass (1985) dedicated his book to James McGregor Burns.

Table Three: Comparison of Burns and Bass Models of Transformational & and Transactional Leaders (common choices of leaders for Burns and Bass are in red). 

BURNS Transactional Leader -

 approaches followers with an eye to exchanging one thing for another: jobs for votes, or subsidies for campaign contributions. 

  1. Opinion
  2. Group
    Doc, in Whyte's Street Corner Society
  3. Party
  4. Legislative
  5. Executive
    de Gaulle

BURNS Transformational Leader -

 "recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower... (and) looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower" (p. 4). 

  1. Intellectuals
  2. Reformers
  3. Revolutionaries
    Louis XVI
  4. Heroes (Charismatics)
    Joan of Arc

BASS Transactional Leader -  pursues a ost benefit, economic exchange to met subordinates; current material and psychic needs in return for "contracted" services rendered by the subordinate" (p. 14). 

Leaders mentioned by Bass:

Lyndon Johnson (more extremely transactional, but Great Society did represent considerable transformational effort, p. 27).

Henry Ford (did transform the auto industry as a visionary, but had much transactional behavior, such as rigid control over behavior, internal spies to enforce disciplinary rules, and prejudices such as being an anti-Semanticist and anti-intellectual, p. 28; affordable cars, p. 17; transformational leader Ford publicizes Jewish plot to control the world that was quite untrue, p. 18). 



BASS Transformational Leader - cites Burns' definition, the leader who recognizes the transactional needs in potential followers "but tends to go further, seeking to arouse and satisfy higher needs, to engage the full person of the follower ... to a higher level of need according to Maslow's (1954) hierarchy of needs" (Bass, 1985: 14).

Transformational political leaders may also use their authority and power to radically reshape through coercive means the social and physical environment, thus destroying the old way of life and making way for a new one" (Bass, p. 18). 

Leaders mentioned by Bass:


Martin Luther King Jr. (more than just superficial change or minor increments in level of motivation of transactional leader, p. 16-17).

Mahatma Gandhi (sacrifice security and safety needs for a greater good, p. 15)

de Gaulle (extreme transformationalist with little time for transactional leadership, p. 26)

Roosevelt (balanced in respect to T and T leadership, p. 27; inspiring inaugural speech, p. 17).

Thomas J. Watson (transformed IBM, p. 27)

Robert Hutchins (transformed the University of Chicago, p. 27).

Jane Addams (transformed Hull House, p. 27). 

George Patton (transformed the Third Army, p. 27). 

Kennedy (inaugural speech that moved the audience to transcend their own self-interest for the good, p. 15).

Lee Iacocca (aroused  higher order needs in turning around Chrysler Corporation, p. 15). 

Leon Trotsky (symbolic solutions, p. 17-18). 

Alexander the Great (symbolic solution, the mass marriage of hi Greek soldiers with Persian women to create an ecumenical society, p. 18). 

Can be directive (p. 29).
Negotiative or persuasive (p. 29).
Consultative (p. 29).
Participative (p. 29).
Delegative (p. 29). 

Please See Myers-Briggs tie in to trait approach to assigning Famous Leaders to various typologies

Recall that Bass (1985: 20-22) says Burns: (1) did not pay attention to the portfolio of followers' needs and wants, (2) restricted transformational leadership to moral ends (for example Bass sees Hitler as transformational), and worst of all, (3) set up a single continuum running from transactional to transformational leaderly types. Is this a correct reading of Burns (1978) by Bass?

Bass (1985) spends the first two thirds of his book developing his theory of transformation and transaction leadership. 

Bass (1997) has argued that transformational leadership is universally applicable. He proposed, that regardless of culture, transformational leaders inspire followers to transcend their own self-interests for the good of the group or organization, followers become motivated to expend greater effort than would would usually be expected (Source).

At one point, Bass (1985) contends that "most leaders do both (transformation and transaction) in different amounts" (p. 22, italics in original, addition mine) or "transformational and transactional leadership are likely to be displayed by the same individual in different amounts and intensities" (p. 26).  Then in the next paragraph on p. 22, T and T become a continuum. The transactional leader, for example,  could "contribute confidence and desire by clarifying what performance was required and how needs would be satisfied as a result. The transformational leader induces additional effort by further sharply increasing subordinate confidence and by elevating the value of outcomes for the subordinate" (p. 22). If we deconstruct this logic, Bass seems to be assuming that transformational leaders have a lack. Transformational leadership is hierarchically superior to transactional leadership, able to expand the subordinate's needs with a focus on more transcendental interests. If we deconstruct the duality of transformational and transactional leadership further, at its base is Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The transactional leader appeals to lower order needs, while the transformational appeals to higher order ones. In figure 2 (p. 22 in Bass) Bass presents one of several complex diagrams of transactional and transformational leadership. Figure 1 (transactional leadership told in 7 boxes) is subsumed as one of  a dozen boxes of the transformational leadership model. I will not reproduce those figures here. The point is that transactional leadership is a minor subset of the transformational model. Elsewhere, Bass says what the transactional leader accomplishes, the transformational leader is able to "heighten" and "elevate" in the value of outcomes by "expanding the follower's portfolio of needs, influencing the follower to transcend his own self-interest for higher goals and/or by altering the follower's needs on Maslow's hierarchy" (p. 24).  "The transactional leaders works within the organizational culture as it exists; the transformational leader changes the organizational culture" (p. 24). The transformational leader even "changes the social warp and woof of reality" (p. 24).  In sum, transformational is hierarchically superior to transactional leadership valuation.

Bass further concludes that "the leadership of the great men (and great women) of history has usually been transformational, not transactional" (p. 26).  Yet, when we look at the combinations, they are arrayed in a hierarchy (see Table Two), with de Gaulle being the extreme transformationalist with no transactional ability, Roosevelt able to do both, and Johnson the extreme transactionalist even when doing transformation leadership. 

Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (1996 by Bernard M. Bass and Bruce J. Avolio).

Transformational Leadership guide.
Transactional Leadership guide.
Non-transactional (laissez-faire) guide.
You are now ready to fill out the MLQ - follow the steps to get your scores.

Gender Differences - Bass contends there are none. Yet, other studies show that women develop a "feminine style of leadership," which is characterized by caring and nurturance, and men adopt a "masculine style of leadership", which is dominating and task- oriented (Eagly, Makhijani, & Klonsky, 1992). In a study of 345 metropolitan branch managers, (Carless, 1998) found self-ratings by female managers indicate they perceive themselves as more likely to use transformational leadership than male managers. 

Female managers are more likely than male managers to report that they take an interest in the personal needs of their staff, encourage self-development, use participative decision making, give feedback and publicly recognize team achievements. In summary, female managers report they use more interpersonal-oriented leadership behaviors compared to male managers (Carless, 1998).

Bennis & Nanus 1985 Transformational Leaders

Bennis and Nanus (1985) did a study of ninety top leaders. Their list of newly discovered leader traits include: logical thinking, persistence, empowerment, and self-control. But, most of all they rediscovered transformational (leaders) as being different from transactional (managers).  The transformation is to make followers into self-empowered leaders, and into change agents. The leader's job is to articulate Vision and Values clearly so the new self-empowered leaders know where to go. The Traits of a Transformational leader are the 4 I's:
  1. Idealized Influence (leader becomes a role model)
  2. Inspirational Motivation (team spirit, motivate, and provide meaning and challenge).
  3. Intellectual Stimulation (creativity & innovation)
  4. Individual Consideration (mentoring)

Actually some models (Lolly, 1996) get a bit more complicated, but the same problems apply. 

Other book authors followed their lead:

Kouzes, J.M. and Posner, B.Z. (1989) The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Tichy, N.M. and DeVanna, M.A. (1990) The Transformational Leader. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.


Schein 1985 Culture Change as Transformation

For Edgar Schein (1985) the transformation that matters is a change in the corporate culture. What do leaders pay attention to, measure, and control sends symbolic signals to the rest of the corporate culture. The following case study applies this theory (McAdams & Zinck, 1998).

By analyzing the interview responses from 60 staff members in the three districts, the authors identified leadership characteristics that were common to all three districts and consistent with the research findings. These characteristics include:

  1. Focus of Attention—Behaviors and actions by the superintendent clearly identified the major priorities, interests, and commitments of the superintendent. By word and deed the superintendents provided a strong message about the centrality of these few priorities to the mission of their school district.
  2. Goal-Directed Activity—Each of the three superintendents had a process in place for the orderly and systematic monitoring and assessment of progress in those areas that were the focus of attention. District and individual goals for the superintendent and other district administrators were clearly derived from the overall mission of the school district and superintendent.
  3. Modeling of Positive Behavior—The typical activities of these superintendents modeled the particular behaviors necessary to meet the goals and fulfill the mission of the school system. These superintendents each interacted frequently with teachers and administrators at the school level and were often directly involved in the instructional process.
  4. Emphasis on Human Resources—Each superintendent put an emphasis on staff empowerment, sophisticated staff development processes, and close attention to the hiring practices in the school district.


Schein, E. (1985). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Schein, E. H. (1991) Organizational Culture and Leadership: A Dynamic View. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Leadership, even transformational, is in crisis. I take a "critical postmodern" perspective in the analysis of transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is a discourse that trains us to see leadership in new ways.  Critical postmodern is the nexus of critical theory, postcolonialism, critical pedagogy and postmodern theory (Tamara, Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science).  Said another way, critical postmodern "fuses what may be considered the three great materialisms of Modernity--Marx, Nietzsche and Freud--into a critical postmodern cartography" (Smith and Tedesco-Gronbeck, 1995).

... critical postmodern spatial theory privileges the lived spatialities of left-margined communities as sites of socio-spatial critique. A postmodern identity politics enacts critical postmodern spatial theory by nurturing the development of, and solidarity between, 'counterpublics', which are subaltern community spaces where private spatialities of alienation are brought to public discourse (Allen, 1999).

... Shaping a new democracy, understanding the role institutions play, and attending to how knowledge is reproduced are all goals of a critical postmodern pedagogy (Nancy Diekelmann, 1999).

... researcher’s perceptions, experiences, language, culture, gender, race, class, age and personal history and so on, shape the political and ideological stance that researchers take into their research (Eva Dobozy).

... The task of critical postmodern thinking is the dismantling of narratives to expose their hidden interests and oppressive intentions-whereupon the old assumptions about foundational reality will be abandoned (Fitzgerald, 1996).

Critical postmodern is a new coalition that challenges the current world order, including its current fad and buzzword, "transformational leadership."  We wonder just what is it that is being transformed?  Is there some change in the fundamental material condition that we might have missed.

  1. Transformational leadership is studied using quite positivist (some post-positivist) methods. We would like to see some interpretative, narrative, and existential methods used to explore the transformations. And if we must use the empiric tradition of post-positivism, how about checking into the material conditions of work that is being transformed.
  2. What are the possibilities in transformational leadership for decentered power, worker resistance, agency, and identity politics?
  3. Lincoln (1998) makes the point that transformational leadership as it is currently being studied does not attend sufficiently to discourse analysis. A critical postmodern analysis of the discourse of transformational leadership would look at power and resistance to efforts of transformation, how the discourse of transformation subverts resistance, and questions of hegemony.
  4. Barker and Young (1994) look at the feminist connections to transformational leadership in postmodern organizations. Collins (1986) takes a critical postmodern view. 
  5. Critical pedagogy looks at the way in which people in various cultural groups are socialized into power structures; as Tierney (1993a, b) puts it "naming silent lives."  There is a need to look at transformational leadership discourse and strategies that marginalize and silence race/ethnicity, social class, gender, and sexual orientation. In brief, transformational leadership promises to be an emancipatory project, but does it really deliver emancipation from command and control to marginal group members. Questions of what is transformed and who gets advantage are ignored in the way the construct is being investigated.

General References on Problems with Transformational Leadership

Barker, A. & Young, C. (1994). Transformational leadership: The feminist connection in postmodern organizations. Holistic Nursing Practice, 9 (1), 16-25.

Lincoln, Yvonna S.  (1981) Critical Requisites for Transformational Leadership: Needed Research and Discourse.  Peabody Journal of Education; v66 n3 p176 81 Spring 1989

Critical Postmodern Theory References where you can discern Problems with Transformational Leadership

Allen, Lee Ricky  (1999) "The Socio-Spatial Making and Marking of 'Us': Toward a Critical Postmodern Spatial Theory of Difference and Community." Social Identities. Volume 5 Issue 3 (1999) pp 249-277.

Australian Feminist Law Journal.

Boje, D. M. (2001) "Tamara Manifesto." Tamara, Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science. Vol 1 (1): 15-24.  

Collins, P. H. (1986). Learning from the outsider within: The sociological significance of black feminist thought. Social Problems, 33(6), 514-532.

Davis, Erik (1995) It Ain't Easy Being Green Eco Meets Pomo. This is call for a critical postmodern ecology.

Originally appeared in the Voice Literary Supplement, February, 1995

Feldman, Steven P. (1999) "The Leveling of Organizational Culture: Egalitarianism in Critical Postmodern Organization Theory," Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 35:2.

Grace, André P.  (1997a). Where critical postmodern theory meets practice: Working in the intersection of instrumental, social, and cultural education. Studies in Continuing Education, 19(1), 51-70.

Grace, André P. (1997b) Taking it to practice:  Building a critical postmodern theory of adult learning community.

Hall, Joanne M. (1999) "Marginalization revisited: Critical, postmodern, and liberation perspectives." from Advances in Nursing Science, 22

Elisabeth Hayes and Sondra Cuban (2001) Border Pedagogy: A Critical Framework for Service-Learning MJCSL Volume 4. - This paper proposes that the metaphors "border crossing" and "borderlands," drawn from a critical postmodern perspective, are new and powerful lenses for viewing the often contradictory and conflictive experiences of university students engaged in service-learning.

Kincheloe, J. (1995). Meet me behind the curtain: the struggle for a critical postmodern action research. Critical theory and educational research. P. L. McLaren and J. M. Giarelli. Albany, State University of New York Press: 332.

Lopez, Elizabeth Sanders. (1995). The geography of computer writing spaces: A critical postmodern analysis. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Purdue University, West Lafayette.

Miron, Louis F. (1996) "Preface to "The Social Construction of Urban Schooling" - Hampton Press, Inc.

Munck, R and O'Hearn, D (eds) (2000), Zed Books, London Critical Development Theory: Contributions to a New Paradigm. The book has a focus on critical postmodern theory as a new paradigm.

Terence Smith and John Gronbeck-Tedesco  (1995) "Mapping the Postmodern: Deleuze and Guattari's Social Schizophrenia."

Tamara, Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science - Tamara and its subtitle, Critical Postmodern Organization Science applies critical and postmodern theory, along with critical pedagogy and postcolonialism to the social milieu that is organization science.

Tierney, W. G. (1993a). Building communities of difference: Higher education in the twenty-first century. Wesport, CT.

Tierney, W. G. (1993b). Naming silenced lives. New York: Routledge Press.

Tierney, W. G., & Rhoads, R. A. (1993c). Postmodernism and critical theory in higher education: Implications for research and practice. In J. C. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research, pp. 308-343. New York: Agathon Press.

Tierney,W. G. (1994). Multiculturalism in higher education: An organizational framework for analysis. This article suggest that a critical postmodern organizational perspective offers significant ways to asses an institution of higher education's effectiveness. The first part of the article outlines what is meant by "critical post-modernism" and then delineates a definition of multiculturalism in higher education based on the work of Henry Giroux, Michael Foucault, and bell hooks. (RL).

Ziegler, R. L. (1999). "From the critical postmodern to the postcritical premodern: Philip Wexler, religion, and the transformation of social-education theory." Educational Theory 49 (3): 401-414.


Bass, B. M. (1997). Does the transactional-transformational leadership paradigm transcend organizational and national boundaries? American Psychologist, 52,
Bass, B and Avolio, B., Manual for the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. Consulting Psychologist Press, Palo Alto, California, 1990.
Bass, B. M., Waldman, D.A., Avolio, B.J. & Bebb, M. (1987). Transformational leadership and the falling dominoes effect. Group and Organization Studies, 12 (1), 73-87.
Boje, David M. (2000) Theatrics of Leadership Model. Where Figures 1 and 2 are explained.
Boje, David M. (2001) Myers-Briggs and Leadership.
Burns, James MacGregor (1978) Leadership. NY: Harper & Row, Publishers. 
Boje (2000c) Nike Corporation, Nike Women, and Narrative Moral Dilemmas. December 29, 2000. 
Goeglein, Andrea & Martin L.W. Hall Systems, Values and Tranformative Leadership
Weber, Max (1947 Max Weber: The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. Translated by A. M. Henderson & Talcott Parsons. NY: The Free Press.    


Barnett, Kerry; John McCormick, Robert Conners (1999) A study of the leadership behavior of school principals and school learning culture in selected New South Wales  State secondary schools.
Colvin, Robert E. (1999) Transformational Leadership:  A Prescription for Contemporary Organizations
Carless, Sally A. (1998)  Gender differences in transformational leadership: an examination of superior, leader, and subordinate perspectives. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research: Dec, 1998
McAdams, Richard P. and Richard A. Zinck (1998)  The Power of the Superintendent's Leadership in Shaping School District Culture: Three Case Studies
Parry, Ken W.  (2000) Leadership Profiles Beyond 2000: How Australian Leadership is

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