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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 226-233

The relationship between transformational leadership with organizational innovation

Department of Educational Science, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication8-Jun-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fariba Karimi
Department of Educational Sciences, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.158343

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Aim: The current study was aimed at investigating the relationship between transformational leadership with organizational innovation in Islamic Azad University (Qom Branch) (IAUQB). Methods: To reach this, the descriptive correlational study was conducted. The population under study was consisted of all the 175 faculty members of IAUQB. Using simple random sampling, a number of 120 faculty members were selected as the sample population in the study. To collect data, the researcher used the questionnaires by Bass and Avoilo's transformational leadership, and Esmail's et al., organizational innovation. The validity of the questionnaires was confirmed by the experts in the field. The reliability of the questionnaire was measured using Cronbach alpha. It showed that the reliability of transformational leadership was 0.83, and organizational innovation's reliability was 0.89. Data analysis was carried out using the statistical program package SPSS 19. To analyze the data, the researcher used the descriptive method of investigation as well as inferential methods (such as regression, Pearson correlation coefficient). Result: The results of the study showed that there was a relationship between organizational leadership and its variables by organizational innovation. The results of step-wise regression also proved that idealized influence was the best predictor of organizational innovation. Discussion: In analyzing organizational culture variables, it was shown that adaptability and mission is the best predictor for organizational innovation. MANOVA test results also showed that there was a significant difference between transformational leadership and organizational innovation. In comparing transformational leadership with organizational innovation, the point of difference was based on working experience and gender.

Keywords: Idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, organizational innovation, personal consideration, transformational leadership

How to cite this article:
Karimi F, Morshedi Z. The relationship between transformational leadership with organizational innovation. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2015;1:226-33

How to cite this URL:
Karimi F, Morshedi Z. The relationship between transformational leadership with organizational innovation. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Jun 21];1:226-33. Available from: https://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2015/1/3/226/158343

  Introduction Top

Nowadays, it is the age of fast changes, uncertainty about future, and information insufficiency for managers decision-making. These are the changes that if an organization can't adapt itself with them, it may lead into its destruction. Today, the main danger is that competitors would be about to change the industry game rules so if an organization keeps on one owns traditional formula so their competitors will probably eliminate their resources. In case of dealing with such dangers, the organization possible way-out would be continuous changes and adaptation. [1] Indeed, a current fast extension of knowledge and information has led in undeniable changes in the life different contexts. Hence, the organizations as the authorities of society are exposed to such dangers and in facing with these matters they need reviewing and strengthening new processes in order to develop and preserve themselves. Since organizations with traditional structures, hierarchical features, and inflexibility do not have required power and skills to solve unpredicted problems caused by changes, so there's no solution except changing thoughts mood, consideration, and perception. [2] In fact, all aspects of human lifestyle are changing and transforming so drastically and increasingly that compels organizations to innovate and synchronize in accordance with these changes and transformation in various fields in order to survive and keep their dynamism. At a time, when organizations are increasingly challenged by the competitive environment, the focus is on the most critical element of leadership. Systems could be designed to create operational efficiency, but the leadership of the organization is able to maintain its dominant position in the industry. [3] Leaders attempting to revitalize their organizations must create the same level of energy to face a future that is different from the past. These leaders guide the organizations from present to the future and conduct appropriate changes to achieve the objectives of the organization. Such leaders also provide a perspective on potential opportunities for the employees; they develop a commitment to culture change and improvement, and the need to design new procedures for the optimal usage of energy and resources, through them. Such leaders are called transformational leaders. Transformational leadership provides the foundation for long-term organizational changes which facilitate higher level goals of the organizational system. On the other hand, transformational leaders penetrate in the beliefs, values, and goals of their followers, and have a major impact on them. These leaders transform the whole organization through their behavior, and their followers have got a feeling of trust and loyalty towards them. [4]

The term, transformational leadership, was first wildly applied by Burns a political scientist and turned to one of the most predominant theories of organizational behavior. Then, Bass and Avolio developed his ideas and established the concept of transformational leadership. They worked not only on the participation of Burns, but also on the works of others. [5] Weber has also influenced on the transformational leadership movement. Weber is one of the theorists who have developed the theory of charismatic leadership (which is now considered as one of the components of transformational leadership). Weber believes that successful leaders are charismatic and are able to attract and teach their followers. [6] Burns specified that transformational leaders enjoy a kind of insight and make others to try and challenge for doing exceptional works. Then, he mentions that the leaders, who are capable of drawing essential paths for new organizations, because they are the foundation of change, are completely aware of the organizational changes and can control the wave of changes. [7]

Transformational leadership refers to the kind of leadership in which the leader is charismatic and provides inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and personal consideration for the followers. Such leaders, also, create a dynamic organizational insight which mostly makes changes in cultural values which reflect bigger innovations. Transformational leadership is also looking for the link between individual and public interests to allow the subordinates to work for more noble goals. [8] Transformational leadership is a kind of leadership in which leaders enjoy a God-given blessing and creates spiritual motivation for their followers and pays special attention on, and guides them through influencing their hearts. Transformational leaders create a dynamic organizational perspective which mostly necessitates a transformation in cultural values to reflect further innovation. Transformational leadership is also seeking to establish a relationship between individual and collective interests to allow the subordinates to work for transcendental goals. [9] According to Bunrs, transformational leadership is a process in which leaders and followers are always trying to promote each other's emotional capability and motivational forces to the higher levels. From this perspective, leaders' and followers' impression on each other is a mutual phenomenon; while the leaders, according to Maslow, always try to stimulate and activate higher levels of motivation among the followers, the promotion of motivational forces in the followers influence on the degree of authority and spiritual power of leaders, likewise. [10] Bass believes that the transformational leader is the one who creates a good relation with the subordinates to enhance the performance of employees and organization, and encourages the employees to go beyond the personal needs and work for the interests of group and organization. Transformational leaders stimulate their subordinates to do their best. [11] Crawford considers transformational leadership as a process in which the leaders and followers raise a high level of ethics and motivation. [12] For implementation, the transformational leadership needs four components or elements which are known as the constituent elements of the theory. These are:

  • Idealized influence: It refers to the leaders who possess high moral and spiritual standards and a high level of respect who create loyalty for themselves among their followers. [13] These leaders are respected and trusted. The followers are identified through their leaders and want to emulate them. Seeing followers' needs before their own ones are among the issues which creates credibility for the leaders among their followers. The leader shares followers' risks, and they are compatible with the implementation of values, principles and ethics [14]
  • Inspirational motivation: It refers to the leaders who have a broad vision toward the future, based on their values and aspirations. Behaviors included in this dimension are arousing enthusiasm, excitement, and creating confidence in followers, using symbolic actions and persuasive language [13]
  • Intellectual stimulation: The third dimension of transformational leadership is intellectual stimulation which refers to the leaders who challenge organizational norms, encourage divergent thinking, and force their followers to develop innovative strategies [13]
  • Personal consideration: The fourth dimension of transformational leadership refers to the behaviors of the leader who are aimed at recognizing and acknowledging followers' development needs, and also coaching and consulting them. [13]

Transformational leadership positively affects innovative behaviors. Through intellectual stimulation and individual consideration, transformational leaders create different ways of thinking, seeking for new opportunities, and also new solutions to the issues and processes of discovery, creative, and adaptation thinking. They also help to intrinsic motivation which is encouraging and inspiring those higher levels of needs which make innovation. [15]

Innovation is among the words with no general definition, and the meaning is changed over time. [16] The concept of innovation has attracted many researchers. It was first considered by Schumpeter in 1934 that is recognized by describing innovation as the process of creating a new brand name, products, services, and processes, and also their impact on economic development. Since then, different scientists have described the concept differently for the long-term survival of organizations, and innovation is considered as a key factor in organizations. [17]

In the theoretical literature, innovation is defined through very different ways. Chen et al., introduced innovation as a new combination of necessary factors for production to the production system. Hercma introduces innovation as a knowledge process which aims at producing new knowledge to develop business solutions. Innovation is a process in which knowledge is acquired, shared, and then combined aiming at creating a new knowledge which implies products and services. [18] Innovations means the creativity which is manifested and has come into action. In other words, innovation means a creative idea which is achieved; innovation is presenting a new product, process, and services to the market; innovation is applying mental abilities to create a new thought or concept. [19] Innovation is the creation of new knowledge and business ideas to facilitate new products, in order to improve internal business processes, structure and create a market for the products and services. [20] Innovation involves the creation, adoption, and implementation of new ideas in the field of new processes, products, and services or marketing methods. [21]

Araasti et al., concluded in a study titled "identifying the factors affecting innovation capacity of enterprises: Industrial automation companies" that the factors composing innovation capacity are: (1) Creating an appropriate environment through innovative activities leadership; (2) having the processes and communication of within and outside organization in order; (3) strategic management of knowledge; (4) gathering and producing new ideas; (5) human resources management based on innovation. [22] Choopani was conducted among 117 employees of the company concluded that there is a significant positive relationship between transformational leadership and the desire to organizational innovation. The results show that there is a significant positive relationship between all transformational leadership variables (intellectual stimulation, idealized influence, inspirational motivation, and personal consideration) and the desire to organizational innovation. They also show that idealized influence is capable of predicting the desire to organizational innovation. [23] Jung et al., in a research found out that (1) there is a direct positive relationship between transformational leadership and organizational innovation; (2) there is a positive significant relationship between transformational leadership and the empowerment and also organizational environment supporting innovation. [24] Sarros et al., in a study concluded that there is a significant positive relationship between transformational leadership and organizational innovation. [25] Khan et al., in a research found out that: (1) Organizational size plays a moderate role in the relationship between all aspects of transformational leadership (intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, personal consideration, charisma) and organizational innovation except for idealized influence; (2) the findings also imply on the significant positive impact of transformational leadership on organizational innovation. [17] Hsiao and Chang suggested in their study that transformational leadership and organizational learning has a significant positive impact on organizational innovation. The results also imply that organizational learning plays as a moderator in the relationship between transformational leadership and organizational innovation. [26] The study attempts to study the relationship between transformational leadership and innovation among the faculty members of Islamic Azad University (Qom Branch) (IAUQB), and the predictive capability of innovation among faculty members, using the variables of transformational leadership. Hence, the study attempts to answer following hypothesis:

  • There is a significant relationship between transformational leadership and its variables, and organizational innovation in IAUQB
  • Transformational leadership variables have the predictive capacity of organizational innovation in IAUQB
  • There is a difference between the ideas of IAUQB, faculty members on the transformational leadership, considering demographic factors (age, gender, qualification, work experience)
  • There is a difference between the ideas of IAUQB, faculty members on organizational innovation, considering demographic factors (age, gender, qualification, work experience).

  Methods Top

The present study was a descriptive-correlative. The population was faculty members of Qom Azad University including 175 people. Sample size was 120 people via using Cochran formula. Simple random sampling was used. In order to measure the applied variables in this research two transformational leadership and organizational innovation questionnaires of Bass and Avolio, [14] Esmail et al., [27] respectively, were used. Transformational leadership contains the components such as intellectual stimulation, idealized influence, inspirational motivation, and personal consideration while organizational innovation has seven complements including personal innovation, environmental innovation, leadership innovation, environment - feedback - personal feedback - feedback between individual and learning based on evidence. Questionnaires content validity was confirmed by specialists. Questionnaire reliability was determined for transformational leadership questionnaire (0.83) and organizational innovation questionnaire (0.89) via Cronbach alfa. Data analysis performed by descriptive statistics (frequency, percentage, mean) and inferential statistics (Pearson correlation coefficient, step-by-step regression, multiple variance analysis test) Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) via SPSS 19 software.


First hypothesis

There is a significant relation between transformational leadership and its components with organizational innovation in Qom Azad University.

[Table 1] results show the correlation coefficients between transformational leadership and its components idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and personal consideration being significantly related with organizational innovation. Based on the correlation coefficients of transformational leadership variable (r = 0.40), and the components like idealized influence (r = 0.47), intellectual stimulations (r = 0.34) inspirational motivation (r = 0.27), personal consideration (r = 0.25), there is a significant and positive relationship with organizational innovation. Hence, the first hypothesis was confirmed implying that there's a relationship between transformational leadership and its components (idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, inspire additional motivation, and personal consideration) with organizational innovation.
Table 1: Correlation coefficient of transformational leadership and its components with organizational innovation

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Second hypothesis

Transformational leadership components are able to predict organizational innovation of Qom Azad University.

Figures of [Table 2] show idealized influence as the best predictive variable of organizational innovation first step among studied variables in the regression. According to results of a regression step-by-step analysis, there is a significant relation between idealized influence and organizational innovation. Hence, idealized influence coefficients 22.1% expresses organizational innovation variance. The observed F was significant at P < 1% level. Hence, we can generalize regression to the whole population.
Table 2: Multiple regressions for predicting organizational innovation through components of transformational leadership

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Third question (hypothesis)

There are differences among the ideas of Qom Azad University faculty members because of different demographic features (age, gender, educational certificate and job).

[Table 3] figures show that there is no significant difference between transformational leadership based on gender, educational certificate, and age, but it is significant on the basis of work experience. The paired test presented in [Table 4] shows the differences between groups.
Table 3: Multiple variance analysis of transformational leadership scores regarding demographic variables

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Table 4: Comparison paired test for scores mean of transformational leadership on the basis of work experience

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[Table 4] figures show that there's a significant difference between respondents' transformational leadership scores having a 11-15 years record of service with the other ones having 1-5 years, 6-10 years, and 16-20 years record of service.

Fourth hypothesis

There is a difference between respondents' ideas on organizational innovation regarding the demographic variables (gender, age, educational certificate, and record of service).

[Table 5] figures show that there is no significant difference between organizational innovation on the basis of age, educational certificate and work experience, and organizational innovation is significant based on gender.
Table 5: Variance multiple analysis of organizational innovation scores regarding demographic variables

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[Table 6] figures show that there is a significant difference between organizational innovation scores of male respondents while females have a higher mean.
Table 6: Paired test of comparing organizational innovation scores mean on the basis of gender

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  Discussion and Conclusion Top

Findings show the correlation coefficients between transformational leadership and its components idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and personal consideration with organizational innovation. There is a positive and significant relation between transformational leadership (r = 0.40), and the components including idealized influence (r = 0.47), intellectual stimulation (r = 0.34), inspirational motivation (r = 0.27), and personal consideration (r = 0.25) with organizational innovation according to the correlation coefficient. Hence, the first hypothesis focusing on the existence of the relation between transformational leadership and its components (idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and personal consideration) with organizational innovation was confirmed. This confirms to the findings obtained by Jung et al., [24] Khan et al., [17] Choopani. [23]

Correlation between transformational leadership and organizational innovation in Qom Azad University expresses that management and leadership play a critical role in the process of organizational innovation and faculty members do not expect them an absolute and mere management, they expect them to have a transformational management. These leaders can work to perceive and understand inner and outer complexities through production and knowledge acquisition in search of inspiring and motivating faculty members and university staffs, they can outline obvious and clear perspectives and ambitions of university activities, then offer and express these schemes regularly to faculty members and others also he can inquire H faculty members to new solutions. University managers with specialties and advantages of transformational leadership try to help changing faculty members' mood and the University by offering suitable paradigms, they exceed efforts of faculty members beyond the university expectations and ensure about their capabilities to gain University superior objectives. Authorities and managers with the aspect of idealized influence in university have a greater resilience power, they determine more challenging objectives for faculty members, and generally they motivate faculty members and create an atmosphere for innovation occurrence and growth. Managers accomplishing the inspirational motivation can act as a paradigm for faculty members and encourage them to challenge traditional working style through increasing expectations: Managers who take advantages of intellectual stimulation in the university can recognize solutions for problems with which faculty members are facing. These managers support faculty members so they can ask their questions; recognize their challenges; deal with the problems roots and totally help them to get rid of misunderstandings and to be about finding creative method to create and develop their capabilities. In this leadership style, not only are faculty members needs recognized and their views are promoted but also training and reviewing are provided for them throughout the personal observation and consideration, faculty members have drawn managers attention one by one, and they were given some tasks to be provided with an authentic learning opportunity. Managers offer consistent feedback and coordinate faculty members' needs with the university mission; these managers confront the present situation and try to change it by the idealized perspective that is completely different from the existing one. To do so, managers must have challenging and motivating power for creative thoughts and transformation. Faculty members are encouraged to adapt multiple viewpoints; then they would produce new ideas and accomplish productive consequences.

Findings also show that idealized influence occupies the first stage as the best predictive variables among the studied variables of organizational innovation in the regression. According to results of the step-by-step regression analysis, the relation between idealized influence and organizational innovation is significant, and it corresponds with the previous results. Choopani [23] conducted a similar research that idealized influence can predict organizational innovation.

University principals would affect faculty members' objective, thoughts, and beliefs by idealized influence and influence them remarkably. These managers transformed the whole University via their behavior and customs while make faculty members be trustful and faithful about these objectives and matters. Indeed, since these managers drawn faculty members trust and praise based on idealized influence, then faculty members know them as paradigm and model, try to become the same as their managers so use these managers commit themselves to bring about productivity and innovation and take to try ill new style method of working, dealing with issues from different viewpoints to analyze and gain updated knowledge and technology faster than other universities and utilize them, so they can provide a nourishing and supporting environment for innovation in university and inspire and motivate faculty members to create innovative attitudes. Hence, we must select individual with the greatest idealized influence for university management.

Results show that there is no significant difference between transformational leadership because of individuals' gender, age, and educational certificate, but the difference is significant based on the record of service. Results also show that there is no significant difference between organizational innovation based on age, educational certificate, but it is significant on the basis of gender. No research was conducted on organizational innovation in the past, dealt with the differences between demographic features and organizational innovation, but the present research examines this difference, results indicated that there is only a significant difference among attitudes of male and female faculty members about organizational innovation, and the male ones with a higher mean spend more innovation in solving problems and performing tasks. Some suggestions would be presented here regarding the obtained results.


The obtained findings also showed that idealized influence component has a more significant relation with organizational innovation among this the compliments of transformational leadership (idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, inspire edition of motivation and personal consideration). Hence, we recommend getting the help of people in university management with a higher idealized influence people that can;

  • be strongly responsible to their promises and commitments
  • tell the truth to the others in a suitable time and manner
  • show their honesty by communicating openly with faculty members
  • Respond about their eulogies, prevent to blame and to criticize, they should cooperate and find solutions to solve others' problems
    • It is recommended to select managers having more attractiveness and more influence on staffs' behaviors
    • We suggest managers to provide over calling members with suitable contacts to strengthen all features of transformational leadership and notice each of faculty members' needs. Also results show that there is no significant relation between organizational innovations based on age, educational certificate but organizational innovation is significant on the basis of gender, and female faculty members have higher attitudes, so university principles (managers) must provide them with required means for innovation growth and improvement
    • University principles try to challenge faculty members' thoughts, productivity, and ideas via intellectual stimulation and try to recognize their beliefs and esteems. To actualize this matter, managers must make faculty members try out traditional methods once again
    • University authorities and managers should not criticize faculty members faults in new methods; because this represses their productivity and innovation
    • Innovation and productivity will be flourished provided that all requirements would be supported. Here, university managers have a crucial role. Islamic Azad University managers (Qom branch) must make use suitable methods and systems and support innovation and productivity through giving information, cooperating and making sure about not interfering political issues
    • Holding training courses or workshops for managers and principals in order to promote transformational leadership
    • There must be invested on leadership elements
    • Leaders must be selected among the ones having more interactions and communications with staffs.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]


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