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Transactional and Transformational Leadership An Examination of the Leadership Challenge Model

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TITLE Transactional and Transformational Leadership An Examination of the Leadership Challenge Model
RESEARCHER Gennaro F. Vito, George E. Higgens, and Andrew S. Denney
Department of Justice Administration
University of Louisville (KY)
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management
Vol. 37, No.4, 2014: 809-822.

The purpose of this paper is to examine three different structural models of the Leadership Challenge model to determine if they best capture transactional or transformational leadership behaviors.

The present study analyzes responses from a 360-degree assessment of the leadership performance of police managers attending the Administrative Officer’s Course at the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville. Participants completed the Leadership Practices Inventory and had three subordinates and three supervisors complete the Observer form of the LPI. Over six classes the sample size of leaders was 291 and 1,659 observers. Data only from observers was used in this study, and the typical respondent was male (81%), white (87%), about 43 years of age, with a college degree, and the mean rank was Captain (modal rank was Sergeant).

The authors assert that:

Using structural equation modeling, three important results come from these data. First, the LPI dimensions may be indicators of transformational and transactional leadership. However, their indication is not clear. The second result show that the observers believe that “modeling the way” is not only part of transformational leadership, but it is also part of transactional leadership. Third, the best way to understand the LPI is as a measure of transformational leadership” (p. 817).

When considering the means for the subscales, it is clear that the subordinates were in favor and viewed their leaders as transformational. This suggests that empowering individuals to rise above immediate needs and self-interest is not only a theoretical view, but a current practice in police organizations. The thrust of this study is that the LPI will allow police organizations to investigate the extent of transformational leadership, and possibly provide ways police organizations may be able to improve in this area” (p. 818).