Document Type

Teacher Resource

Publication Date

Fall 2019


Transactional Leadership was first defined by Max Weber in 1947 as, “the exercise of control on the basis of knowledge.” The transactional leadership style was used extensively after World War II in the United States when the government was concentrated on rebuilding and needed a high level of structure to maintain stability. Twelve years later, social psychologists John French and Bertram defined the five bases of power, later revising them in 1965 to add a sixth power. In 1978, James McGregor was the most prominent author to argue that transactional leaders needed to be of high moral standing and act as good role models for their team. Later, in the 1980s and 1990s, Bernard M. Bass, Jane Howell, and Bruce Avolio defined the dimensions of transactional leadership. Transactional leadership today is often compared with transformational leadership and it is thought that combining both is ideal for the workforce.



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