“Transactional leadership focuses on the exchanges that occur between leaders and followers [or in this context, employees] (Bass 1985; 1990; 2000; 2008; Burns, 1978). These exchanges allow leaders to accomplish their performance objectives, complete required tasks, maintain the current organizational situation, motivate followers through contractual agreement, direct behavior of followers toward achievement of established goals, emphasize extrinsic rewards, avoid unnecessary risks, and focus on improve organizational efficiency” (McClesky 2014, p.122).
“Transactional leaders award rewards and punishments to subordinates based on their performance. They identify goals, assign roles and responsibilities and delegate tasks. They monitor the performance of employees, check for mistakes or errors and conduct two-way discussions on tasks at hand. “They focus on operational efficiency and time management” (Afsar et al. 2017, p.312). “This leadership style aims to maximise operational and individual gains” (McClesky 2014, p.122).
“Bass and Avolio (1997) defined transformational leadership as a leadership style that motivates followers by appealing to their higher order needs and inducing them to transcend self-interest for the sake of the group or the organization. This form of leadership involves creating an emotional attachment between leaders and followers. Jin (2010) noted that transformational leadership integrates “empathy, compassion, sensitivity, relationship building, and innovation” (p. 174)” (Men 2014, p. 267).
“Transformational leaders take a genuine interest in the well-being of employees, foster a climate of trust, nurture confidence in their followers, and encourage individual development. To these ends, transformational leaders often engage in close interactions with their followers to understand and address their needs better. In terms of decision making, transformational leaders seek to empower followers. They are willing to share power and delegate significant authority to followers to make them less dependent on the leader (Aldoory & Toth, 2004; Men & Stacks, 2013). Therefore, transformational leaders are char-acterized by interactive, visionary, passionate, caring, and empowering communication behaviors” (Hackman & Johnson, 2004)” (as cited in Men 2014, p.267) .
For parties looking to prevent or resolve an employment dispute, where the employer and employee want to recognise emotions, needs and interests (understanding), is transactional leadership or transformational leadership more effective for well-being?
The databases used are: Rouletledge, Sage
For this PICO question, keywords used in the search strategy are: transactional leadership, transformational leadership
Assessment and grading of the evidence
The main sources of evidence used for this particular subject are:
- Saeed, T., Almas, S., Anis-ul-Haq, M., & Niazi, G. S. K. (2014). Leadership styles: relationship with conflict management styles. International Journal of Conflict Management.
- Chen, X. H., Zhao, K., Liu, X., & Wu, D. D. (2012). Improving employees’ job satisfaction and innovation performance using conflict management. International Journal of Conflict Management.
- Huan, L. J., & Yazdanifard, R. (2012). The difference of conflict management styles and conflict resolution in workplace. Business & Entrepreneurship Journal, 1(1), 141-155.
- Abas, N. A. H., Surdick, R., Otto, K., Wood, S., & Budd, D. (2010). Emotional intelligence and conflict management styles (Doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Stout).
- Chung‐Yan, G. A., & Moeller, C. (2010). The psychosocial costs of conflict management styles. International Journal of Conflict Management.
- Paul, S., Seetharaman, P., Samarah, I., & Mykytyn, P. P. (2004). Impact of heterogeneity and collaborative conflict management style on the performance of synchronous global virtual teams. Information & Management, 41(3), 303-321.
- Peter J. Jordan & Ashlea C. Troth (2004) Managing Emotions During Team Problem Solving: Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Resolution, Human Performance, 17:2, 195-218
- Deborah Weider-Hatfield & John D. Hatfield (1995) Relationships Among Conflict Management Styles, Levels of Conflict, and Reactions to Work, The Journal of Social Psychology, 135:6, 687-698,
- Wall Jr, V. D., Galanes, G. J., & Love, S. (1987). Small, task-oriented groups: Conflict, conflict management, satisfaction, and decision quality. Small Group Behavior, 18(1), 31-55.
- Tang, S. F., & Kirkbride, P. S. (1986). Developing conflict management skills in Hong Kong: An analysis of some cross-cultural implications. Management education and development, 17(3), 287-301.
The study by Saeed et al. (2014) examine the relationship between leadership styles and
conflict management styles among managers, while handling interpersonal conflict (managers and subordinates). A survey was conducted with 150 middle-level managers from various industries in the private sector. The data was analyzed using regression analysis. A plus point of this study is that it has received 123 citations while a minus point is that majority (115) of the participants in this study are men, so the sample is skewed. Taking into consideration all these factors, we assess the quality of this study to be moderate, as per the GRADE approach.
The study by Chen, Zao and Liu (2012) examines how conflict management behavior impacts job satisfaction and innovation performance. For this purpose, the authors conducted a survey with 333 employees in China. The sample composition appears gender and education level balanced. The paper has received 133 citations. Taking into account all these factors, we assess the quality of the study to be moderate, according to the GRADE approach.
The paper by Huan and Yazdanifard (2012) is a review of conflict management styles and conflict resolution from the managers and supervisors’ point of view. It is largely based on expert opinion and literature review. Therefore, we assess the quality of this paper to be very low, according to the GRADE approach.
The paper by Chung-Yan and Moeller (2010) examines the interactive effect of interpersonal conflict at work and adopting an integrating/compromising conflict style on workers’ psychosocial wellbeing. Data was drawn from an online survey of 311 young employees living in Canada. Authors of the study have not indicated the sample composition of participants in terms of income level, ethnicity but have reported on age and gender. The study has received a moderate number of citations(50). Taking into account all these factors, we assess the quality of the study to be moderate, according to the GRADE approach.
The study by Paul et al. (2004) explores the relationships that might exist among the heterogeneity of the virtual teams, their collaborative conflict management style, and their performance outcomes. The authors conducted a laboratory experiment in which homogeneous and heterogeneous virtual teams, consisting of students from the USA and India, worked independently on a decision task involving the adoption of a computer use fee by an online university. In total, there were 63 participants in the study. This study is comparable to a small experimental study. So according to the GRADE methodology, we assess the quality of this study to be low.
The study by Jordan and Troth (2004) examines how emotional intelligence predicts individual performance, team performance, and conflict resolution styles. A regression analysis was conducted using data of 350 student respondents. The study has been cited widely (737). Given the sample size used in the study and its citations, we assess the quality of this study to be moderate, according to the GRADE approach.
The study by Weider-Hatfield and Hatfield (1995) examines the relationship between conflict management style, level of conflict and outcomes experienced by employees in the USA. Data was collected from 125 full-time managers (59 women) from state, regional, and local volunteer organizations. The study has received 174 citations until now. Taking into consideration all these factors, we assess the quality of this study to be low according to the GRADE approach.
The study by Wall, Galanes and Love (1987) examines the relationship between the amount of conflict experienced, the style of its management, individual satisfaction, and decision quality of small, task-oriented groups. Data was collected from 129 students studying in an American university. The study has received 123 citations until now. Taking into consideration all these factors, we assess the quality of this study to be moderate according to the GRADE approach.
The paper by Tand and Kirkbride (1986) reports the results of an empirical study into the orientations towards conflict and preferred conflict management styles of Chinese managers in Hong Kong. The paper examines how traditional values of the Chinese affect their conflict management styles. A survey was conducted with 150 Chinese and British executives working in government and private sector. In all, it has received 158 citations. Taking into account all these factors, we assess the quality of the study to be moderate, according to the GRADE approach.
Quality of evidence and research gap
Research on collaborative and compromising conflict management styles is supported by empirical studies as well as expert opinion. However, more empirical research is needed on compromising conflict management style. According to the Actionable Recommendations document and GRADE methodology, the overall strength of evidence is very low.