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Increasing transformational leadership through enhancing self‐efficacy

Susan Fitzgerald (University of New England, Armidale, Australia)
Nicola S. Schutte (University of New England, Armidale, Australia)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 25 May 2010




The present study aims to examine whether an intervention designed to increase self‐efficacy for transformational leadership results in more transformational leadership self‐efficacy and a higher level of transformational leadership. In previous research higher levels of emotional intelligence have been found to be associated with more transformational leadership; thus the present study also seeks to examine whether higher emotional intelligence makes individuals more receptive to self‐efficacy‐based leadership training.


The study used an experimental design. Participants were randomly assigned to either a self‐efficacy expressive writing condition or a control writing condition. Participants were 118 managers who completed measures of self‐efficacy, transformational leadership and emotional intelligence at the start of the study and again completed measures of self‐efficacy, and transformational leadership after the intervention.


Managers in the intervention condition showed significantly greater transformational leadership self‐efficacy and higher transformational leadership scores than the control group managers at post‐test. Further, those higher in emotional intelligence were more responsive to the intervention.

Practical implications

The intervention holds promise as a low cost and easy to implement method of facilitating development of transformational leadership.


The finding that an intervention aimed at increasing self‐efficacy can increase transformational leadership extends previous research on both self‐efficacy and transformational leadership. This result suggests that leadership self‐efficacy may be an important component of transformational leadership. The finding that individuals higher in emotional intelligence benefited most from the intervention extends previous findings regarding the importance of emotional intelligence in organisational settings. Emotional intelligence may facilitate individuals' openness to change.



Fitzgerald, S. and Schutte, N.S. (2010), "Increasing transformational leadership through enhancing self‐efficacy", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 29 No. 5, pp. 495-505.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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