The Relationship between Transformational Leadership Practices and Global Social Responsibility

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TITLE The Relationship between Transformational Leadership Practices and Global Social Responsibility
RESEARCHER Timothy Ewest
School of Business
George Fox University (Oregon)
Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: December 2009

The purpose of this research study was to explore the relationship between transformational leadership and global social responsibility.

Students enrolled in the Leadership Certificate Program (LCP) at Wartburg College (Wavelry, IA) during the 2008-09 academic year were invited to participate by completing the Student Leadership Practices Inventory (S-LPI) and the Global Social Responsibility Inventory (Starrett, 1996). Eighty-one percent of the eligible students participated (N = 163). The typical respondent was female (61%), on average 20 years of age, and Caucasian (85%). The sample was roughly divided between the four class years. About one-quarter were majoring in business and another 15 percent in biology. The majority of respondents were in their first year of the program (56%), with the remaining about evening split between the second and third years. Most students had not experienced any cross cultural sensitivity training (92%); most had traveled outside their home country.

The most frequently engaged in leadership practice was Enable, followed by Encourage. Next in order was Model, followed by Challenge and Inspire. Model, Enable and Inspire were significantly correlated with “responsibility to people.” Model, Enable and Inspire, along with Challenge were also significantly correlated with “global social responsibility.” None of the leadership practices was correlated with “social conservatism (negative direction hypothesized).” Encourage was not correlated with any of the three components of the Global Social Responsibility Index.

The author concludes that “this research does indicate that where transformational leadership is present as a self-perceived personal characteristic, so too are prosocial behavioral attitudes” (p. 70).