Bass' Transformational Leadership Theory

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Bass’ Transformational Leadership Theory

Christy Duvigneaud

Capella University


Bass’ Theory of Transformational Leadership provides a framework and foundation for managers and leaders in human services organization to develop a contemporary approach relative to the roles, relationships, and resource capacities that drive their professional positions and sustain the respective institutions. In fact, there is quite a bit of scholarly research extolling the benefits of such a leadership style. Interestingly, leadership theories much like any other epistemological debate have evolved over time in alignment with the variant demographic, economic, technological, political-legal, and social-cultural environments that dictate trends
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Altogether, these years formulated the roots and foundation into the study of leadership. During the 60s and 70s, behavioral theory and contingency theory materialized as prominent theories of leadership (Cox, 2007). Behavioral theory departed from trait theory in that it assumed leaders could be made instead of born with inherent leadership capabilities. Contingency theory also believed that effective leadership was situational. However, this theory became very difficult to research and measure in practice considering the difficulty in matching which particular behavior patterns would consistently result in effective leadership “in specific contexts or situations” (Cox, 2007, p.9). Hence, these years furthered the path in a continuum of evolving leadership ideas to establish the goal of leadership as indicative of transforming people and organizations in a literal, practical approach to achieve success. Combined, this compilation of traits, behavioral patterns, innovative strategy, knowledge integration, and diversity practices continue to enrich an understanding of leadership. The actual term “transformational leadership” had its etymological birth by J.V. Downton in 1973 as specified in his book, Rebel Leadership: Commitment and Charisma in a Revolutionary Process (Cox, 2007). Just five years later, James MacGregor Burns introduced his
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