Learning strategies as predictors of transformational leadership: the case of nonprofit managers

Kristy Trautmann (FISA Foundation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
Jill K. Maher (School of Business, Robert Morris University, Moon Township, Pennsylvania, USA)
Darlene G. Motley (School of Business, Robert Morris University, Moon Township, Pennsylvania, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Publication date: 15 May 2007



The purpose of this study is to explore the intersection between managers' learning strategies and their organizational leadership practices in a nonprofit context.


Survey methodology was utilized including items from the multi‐factor leadership questionnaire and the learning tactics inventory. The survey was administered to a sample of nonprofit professional at various managerial levels.


Findings illustrate that effective learning from experience is significantly predictive of transformational leadership. Further analysis reveals that frequent use of thinking and action learning strategies have positive and significant relationship to transformational leadership in nonprofit managers.

Research limitations/implications

Numerous authors have discussed the connections between effective learning and transformational leadership, but there has been insufficient empirical research to investigate the nature of this relationship. Brown and Posner's preliminary research found a strong correlation between learning and leadership but did not specifically examine transformational leadership. This study extends the literature by empirically testing each of four learning strategies and their relationship to transformational leadership. This extension is applied in a nonprofit context, which supports the transfer of for‐profit human resource management tools to the nonprofit environment. Limitations include a convenience sampling method. The study also provides human resource managers with career development tools in order to assess managers' learning styles then foster the learning styles that positively impact transformational leadership behaviors.


This study makes an important contribution to the empirical link between transformational leadership and learning.



Trautmann, K., Maher, J. and Motley, D. (2007), "Learning strategies as predictors of transformational leadership: the case of nonprofit managers", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 269-287. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730710739675

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.