A study of transactional & transformational leadership in tertiary institutions

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A study of transactional & transformational leadership in tertiary institutions


Author: Chan, Kee-ling Iris
Title: A study of transactional & transformational leadership in tertiary institutions
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1998
Subject: Chinese University of Hong Kong
Lingnan College (Hong Kong, China)
Organizational effectiveness
Universities and colleges -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Dept. of Management
Pages: 82, [11] leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1446649
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2535
Abstract: Various changes in recent years have reinforced the challenges to tertiary institutions. All are demanding greater accountability and efficiency while simultaneously decreasing resources and increasing service expectations. The study mainly examined the relationship between leadership (transactional and transformational) and organizational effectiveness of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU) and Lingnan College (LC). CU was regarded as relatively a large scale, well established and stable institution than LC. Transformational leaders are those who provide vision, gain respect and trust, communicate high expectations, use symbols to focus efforts, promote intelligence, and treat each employee individually. The three components include charismatic (inspirational) leadership, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation. Transactional leaders promise rewards for good performance, recognize accomplishments, watch and search for deviation from rules and standards, take corrective action and intervene if standards are not met. The two components are contingent reward and management-by-exception. Transformational leadership is superior than transactional leadership in contributing to organizational effectiveness (Bass, 1990a). Questionnaires modified from Bass's Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (1985) were mailed to the 553 teaching staff of Faculties of Arts, Business Administration and Social Science of both institutions. Each respondent was requested to judge how frequently their current immediate superior had displayed the behaviours described by using the 5-point scale (from 0-not at all, 2-sometimes, to 4-frequently), the departmental effectiveness (from 0-not effective, 2-effective to 4-extremely effective) and stability (from 0-unstable, 2-stable to 4-extremely stable). 127 completed questionnaires (99 from CU and 28 from LC) were received. Six open-ended interviews were conducted with leaders and subordinates to help explaining the results. It was found that CU and LC leaders performed both leadership behaviours but the rating on each leadership component was not high. The means ranged from 1.53 to 2.12. CU leaders performed more transactional leadership (1.86) and LC leaders performed more transformational leadership (1.85). Among the 5 factors, CU had the highest rating on management-by-exception (2.19); LC had the highest rating on individualized consideration. Both institutions had the lowest rating on contingent reward. LC had a higher rating on perceived organizational effectiveness (LC: 2.16; CU: 1.98) but lower rating on stability (LC: 1.68; CU: 1.89). 4 out of the five hypotheses were supported, i.e. all components of both leadership styles except management-by-exception would positively contribute to the organizational effectiveness disregarding the stability of the situation. Reasons for leadership style not being strongly exhibited were mainly because of the organizational structure of higher institutions - professional bureaucracy (Mintzberg 1983). It is characterized by highly decentralized, non-regulatory and democratic, with poor controls and unresponsive to change. The institutions rely on the skills and knowledge of their operating professionals to function. They display the features of relatively consensual and democratic forms of policy formation, very low levels of coordination and control, poor standardization of outputs and a forceful predisposition against change and innovation. Leaders in the middle level, i.e. department chairpersons are given limited legitimate power with little authority in decision of staff promotion and salary. The job nature of teaching staff is so independent that nearly no guidance from supervisors is required. Numerous official regulations guide the routine procedures. Recommendations to higher education institutions include: Suggestion on effective leadership style - a combination of transformational and contingent reward behaviours; Modification of organizational structure - from professional bureaucracy to divisionalized form which will facilitate the leadership function of middle level leaders and contribute to better organizational effectiveness; Continue education on leadership - senior management must be able to well equipped themselves for the movement to a more business-style.

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