Transformational and Transactional Leadership and Followers' Achievement Goals

Melvyn R. W. Hamstra*, Nico W. Van Yperen, Barbara Wisse, Kai Sassenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose achievement goals, or the standards of competence employees pursue in their work, have far-reaching consequences for employee and organizational functioning. In the current research, we investigated whether employees’ achievement goals can be predicted from their supervisor’s leadership multilevel study was conducted in which followers of 120 organizational leaders completed measures of their leader’s transformational leadership (focusing on individual needs and abilities, on intellectual development, and on a common team mission), transactional leadership (focusing on monitoring and achievement-related rewards), and their own mastery goals (aimed at learning, developing, and mastering job-relevant skills), and performance goals (aimed at doing better than others).findingsgroup-level transformational leadership predicted followers’ mastery goals, whereas group-level transactional leadership predicted followers’ performance goals. Within-group differences in transformational leadership also predicted mastery goals.implicationsthese findings suggest that leadership style plays an important role in the achievement goals followers adopt. Organizations may promote transactional leadership in contexts requiring that employees outperform others. In contrast, in contexts requiring learning and development, organizations may promote transformational leadership.originality/valuethis research is the first to examine the relationships between leadership styles and specific follower goals, and the first to highlight the role of leadership as a social variable involved in employees’ adoption of achievement goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-425
JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Achievement goals
  • Goal orientation
  • Motivation
  • Leadership styles
  • Transformational leadership
  • Transactional leadership


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