Transformational/Transactional Leadership Case


We are all familiar with the concepts of transformational and transactional leadership, terms which were coined by James MacGregor Burns in his classic Leadership, which was published in 1978. In this assignment, we will analyze two leaders who typify these two types of leadership.

Required Reading

Refer to the Background readings on transformational and transactional leadership for this module.

Case Assignment

Drawing on the material in the background readings and doing additional research, please prepare a 5- to 6-page paper (not including the cover and reference pages) in which you:

Analyze the key characteristics of transformational and transactional leadership and apply them to two leaders of your choice.

Keys to the Assignment

The key aspects of this assignment that, at a mimimum, should be covered in your paper, include:

  • Select two leaders (from the U.S. or international) who you consider to be examples of transactional and transformational leadership.
  • Conduct independent research on these individuals and create a profile that addresses the following:
    • What makes one leader transactional and the other transformational?
    • What added value does each bring to their organizations?
    • What conditions and organizational contingencies influence whether a transactional or transformational leadership style would be most effective?
    • Considering your answer above, compare the effectiveness of both leaders you profiled in their given environments. Was their leadership style appropriate?

Assignment Expectations

Your paper will be evaluated using the following five criteria:

  • Assignment-Driven Criteria (Precision and Breadth): Does the paper fully address all Keys to the Assignment? Are the concepts behind the Keys to the Assignment addressed accurately and precisely using sound logic? Does the paper meet minimum length requirements?
  • Critical Thinking (Critical Thinking and Depth): Does the paper demonstrate graduate-level analysis, in which information derived from multiple sources, expert opinions, and assumptions has been critically evaluated and synthesized in the formulation of a logical set of conclusions? Does the paper address the topic with sufficient depth of discussion and analysis?
  • Business Writing (Clarity and Organization): Is the paper well written (clear, developed logically, and well organized)? Are the grammar, spelling, and vocabulary appropriate for graduate-level work? Are section headings included in all papers? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of responding to the Keys to the Assignment, or is justification/support instead conveyed through excessive use of direct quotations?
  • Effective Use of Information (Information Literacy and References): Does the paper demonstrate that the student has read, understood, and can apply the background materials for the module? If required, has the student demonstrated effective research, as evidenced by the student’s use of relevant and quality sources? Do additional sources used in the paper provide strong support for conclusions drawn, and do they help in shaping the overall paper?
  • Citing Sources: Does the student demonstrate understanding of APA Style of referencing by inclusion of proper end references and in-text citations (for paraphrased text and direct quotations) as appropriate? Have all sources (e.g., references used from the Background page, the assignment readings, and outside research) been included, and are these properly cited? Have all end references been included within the body of the paper as in-text citations?

Tips and Suggestions

Please note the following tips and suggestions:

  • Include a cover page and reference page, in addition to the 5-6 pages of analysis described above.
  • Include headings for all papers greater than 2 pages (basically all papers).
  • Cite and reference all sources that you use in your work, including those that you paraphrase but do not quote. This means include citations and quotation marks for direct quotes of more than 5 words, and citations for that information which you have “borrowed” or paraphrased from other sources.
  • Follow TUI Guidelines for well-written papers.

Submit your analysis by the end of this module.


Pounder, J. (2008). Transformational leadership: Practicing what we teach in the Management classroom. Journal of Education for Business, 84 (1), pp. 2-6.

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