Transformational Theory

Summary of Transformational Theory

Ordained Minister’s Online Guide to Mentorship, Pastoring, Personal & Leadership Development


Summary of Transformational Theory 


Transformational theory is a moral approach to leadership through the valuing of human dignity by the elevation of the self-esteems, fulfillments, and actualizations of those who follow (Whetstone, 2002).  “Transformational leaders demonstrate self-confidence, the ability to articulate a vision, a willingness to pursue the vision even if they must assume high personal risks, and an ability to promote change” (Giampetro-Meyer et al., 1998, p. 1728).  Because this approach is also people-centered, there are parallels to the servant leadership model in areas such as “influence; vision; trust; respect/credibility; risk-sharing/delegation; integrity; and modeling” (Hannay, 2009, p. 4).  The servant theory developed from these with the concept of positioning the needs and desires of followers above and before those of the leaders (Whetstone, 2002).   Servant leadership introduced the new wave of theory that leads by emphasizing relationships and service to others (Taylor, Martin, Hutchinson, Jinks, 2007). 



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Giampetro-Meyer, A., Brown, T., Browne, M., & Kubasek, N. (1998). Do We Really Want More Leaders  in Business?. Journal of Business Ethics, 17(15), 1727-1736. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.


Hannay, M. (2009). The Cross-cultural Leader: The Application of the Servant Leadership Theory in the International Context. Journal of International Business & Cultural Studies, 11-12. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.     


Taylor, T., Martin, B., Hutchinson, S., & Jinks, M. (2007). Examination of leadership practices of principals identified as servant leaders. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 10(4), 401-419. doi:10.1080/13603120701408262.


Whetstone, J. (2002). Personalism and Moral Leadership: The Servant Leader with a Transforming Vision. Business Ethics: A European Review, 11(4), 385-392. Retrieved from Philosopher’s Index database.