Leadership

Leadership

AN EVALUATION OF CONCEPTUAL WEAKNESSES IN TRANSFORMATIONAL AND CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP THEORIES
Gary Yukl*
State University of New York at Albany

Theories of transformational and charismatic leadership provide important insights about the nature of effective leadership. However, most of the theories have conceptual weaknesses that reduce their capacity to explain effective leadership. The conceptual weaknesses are identified here and refinements are suggested. The issue of compatibility between transformational and charismatic leadership is also discussed. Finally, some methodological problems involving construct validation and theory testing are identified, and suggestions for future research are provided.

INTRODUCTION
In the 1970s, behavioral theories of leadership effectiveness were dominant. Examples include path-goal theory (House & Mitchell, 1974), LMX theory (Graen & Cashman, 1975), and normative decision theory (Vroom & Yetton, 1973). Since the late 1980s, theories of transformational and charismatic leadership have been ascendant. Versions of transformational leadership have been proposed by several theorists, including Bass (1985, 1996); Bennis and Nanus (1985), Burns (1978), Sashkin (1988), and Tichy and Devanna (1986, 1990). Building on the ideas of Weber (1947), refined versions of charismatic leadership have been proposed by several theorists, including Conger (1989), Conger and Kanungo (1987, 1998), House (1977), and Shamir, House, and Arthur (1993). Unlike the “traditional” leadership theories, which emphasized rational processes, theories of transformational and charismatic leadership emphasize emotions and values. The newer theories also acknowledge the importance of symbolic behav* Direct all correspondence to: Gary Yukl, Management Department, SUNY, Albany, NY 12222; email: G.yukl@albany.edu. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 285–305. Copyright © 1999 by Elsevier Science Inc. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. ISSN: 1048-9843...

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