Red tape and transformational leadership: an organizational echelons perspective

Jesse W. Campbell (Department of Public Administration, Incheon National University, Incheon, South Korea)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Publication date: 13 February 2017



Using the concept red tape, the purpose of this paper is to understand how job context, and especially hierarchical position, shapes the effects of transformational leadership on employee rule perception.


A survey of South Korean central government employees across a range of organizations and hierarchical positions is used to capture perception of rule dysfunction and leadership. Hierarchical linear modeling is used to test the hypotheses generated from a review of relevant literature.


The analysis suggests that perceived transformational leadership behaviors are associated with weakened perception of rule dysfunction. However, this relationship is relevant only for employees at higher echelons of the organization, which in turn suggests that the rule perception of frontline employees is determined by other factors.

Research limitations/implications

The principle limitation of this study is its use of cross-sectional data, which precludes the demonstration of causal influence between the dependent and independent variables.


This study makes several contributions to the literature. Most importantly, while it has been found that characteristics at the organization level influence the effects of transformational leadership, the present study extends this theory to individual job context by incorporating hierarchical level into the analysis.



Jesse W. Campbell (2017) "Red tape and transformational leadership: an organizational echelons perspective", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 76-90

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