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Examining effective and ineffective transformational project leadership

Kenneth David Strang (Lansbridge University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada)

Team Performance Management

ISSN: 1352-7592

Article publication date: 1 April 2005




Aims to examine effective and ineffective leader behaviors from direct participant observations in several cases of a large multiyear cross‐industry international research project to prove the hypothesis that effective team performance management requires strong transformational leadership.


Transformational and charismatic leadership theories are briefly discussed from management science to explain how their principles can apply to and be analyzed in the project domain and other fields. Several popular and proven group leader behavior measurement constructs are discussed to show how they can be applied for assessing group leader behavior in any field. Two flexible taxonomies are built for assisting in quantitatively and qualitatively explaining stakeholder perceptions of group leader behaviors and team performance. Four theoretically sampled case studies are analyzed. The taxonomies are analyzed quantitatively and the results are qualitatively evaluated.


The structured research illuminated that both effective and absent transformational leadership behaviors were practiced (idealized influence, inspirational motivation, individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation), which can go unnoticed and un‐reflected in the everyday pandemonium of busy project schedules, competing values, and organizational crises, yet in retrospect, these results show that passive or absent leadership is noticed by the team members and sponsors; moreover it negatively impacts on both project effectiveness and stakeholder satisfaction!

Research limitations/implications

Leaders, team members, stakeholders, and managers benefit from understanding transformational leadership, since it supports better human relations and organizational change. These cases show that effective team performance can result in minimal application of transformational leadership behaviors as long as they are not absent when required, and positive (not negative such as micro‐management).


This research suggests that leader behavior is complex since it is situational, supported by multiple and concurrent leadership and trait theories, as well as partly driven by dominant personality.



Strang, K.D. (2005), "Examining effective and ineffective transformational project leadership", Team Performance Management, Vol. 11 No. 3/4, pp. 68-103.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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