Academic Leadership Journal


Ian Hay


Since the late 1970s, the literature on leadership has featured a debate and program of research exploring relationships between transactional and transformational leadership. To some degree, this work was given an impetus by both the search for appropriate leadership strategies within the increasingly turbulent, unstable and competitive post-World War 2 economic, geopolitical and social environment (Simic, 1998) and the declining significance of the pre-existing ‘social contract’ which had implied long-term employment in return for loyalty (Griffin, 2003). With the apparent demise of a transaction fundamental to organizational leadership and an emerging context of organizational volatility came the search to better understand the leaderships of stability and of change; and the leaderships of contract and of values. This short paper reviews current understandings of these approaches to leadership. It distinguishes between transactional leadership (characterised here as the leadership of stability and exchange) and transformational leadership (the leadership of values and volatility), setting out their similarities, key differences, and relationship to one another.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.