Transactional and transformational leadership impacts on organizational learning

We have just published a new SSCI ranked article – Zagoršek, H., Dimovski, V. Škerlavaj, M. (2009): Transactional and Transformational Leadership Impacts on Organizational Learning, Journal of East European Management Studies, 14(2): 144-165. Here is the abstract:

This study empirically relates two important areas of management research: the full-range theory of leadership and the organizational learning process. Specifically, this contribution addresses three issues: (1) the impact of transformational leadership and (2) transactional leadership on the organizational learning process, and (3) whether the influence of transformational leadership is stronger than the influence of a transactional type of leadership. For measurement purposes, the article combines the Multi-Factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) with the Organizational Learning and Information Management Processes (OLIMP) measurement instrument. Building upon data from 753 employees in Slovenia at the organizational-unit level and applying a structural equation modelling methodological framework, the results indicate that transformational leadership has a strong impact on all four constructs of organizational learning: information acquisition; information distribution; information interpretation; and behavioural and cognitive changes. A direct impact is evident only regarding information acquisition and behavioural and cognitive changes, while leadership styles have an indirect effect on information distribution and information interpretation. The magnitude of the total effect ranges from .61 to .79. Interestingly, contingent reward leadership has an equally strong and positive impact on organizational learning, with effect magnitudes similar to those for transformational leadership. This finding provides empirical confirmation of the contingent perspective on leadership and learning (Vera/Crossan 2006) which claims that the most effective strategic leaders will be those best able to function in both transformational and transactional modes, depending upon the situation.

In memoriam: We would like to dedicate this article to Hugo Zagoršek (1977-2008), who tragically passed away shortly after the completion of this work.