An investigation of transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership at different hierarchical levels in UK manufacturing companies using multiple ratings
This thesis reports an empirical investigation into the use and effectiveness of transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership across the whole management hierarchy (five levels) and several different time spans. In addition to effectiveness, measures of extra effort and satisfaction were employed. A 360- degree version of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire based on Bass and Avolio's 'Full Range Leadership' model was completed by 432 managers, and multiple responses were obtained for 367 managers from 38 organizations in the UK manufacturing sector. The results of the research suggest a distinct pattern in the use and effectiveness of transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership at different hierarchical levels and across different time spans. There is evidence to doubt the generalisability of the Full Range Leadership model and for differences in leadership behaviour across hierarchical levels in organizations. The thesis concludes that hierarchical level and the source of rating (self, peer, superior and subordinate) have strong moderating effects and that time span has a small moderating effect on transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership. Organizational size was found to have no moderating effect. The findings also suggest a new model of leadership Incorporating the elements of the Full Range Leadership model, comprising: active constructive leadership (attributed charisma, idealised influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, individualised consideration, and contingent reward), active management-by-exception, and passive-avoidant leadership (passive management-by-exception and laissez-faire leadership). Limitations of the research, such as the focus on only one sector (manufacturing) in one country and apparent self-rating bias, are discussed. Nevertheless, this research is believed to provide a more comprehensive model of leadership than previous research relating to the Full Range model by using five hierarchical levels and data from multiple responses, in most cases 360-degree assessment. The implications for leadership and management theory and for leadership development are discussed, and recommendations for further research are made.