Predicting unit performance by assessing transformational and transactional leadership

J Appl Psychol. 2003 Apr;88(2):207-18. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.88.2.207.


How do leadership ratings collected from units operating under stable conditions predict subsequent performance of those units operating under high stress and uncertainty? To examine this question, the authors calculated the predictive relationships for the transformational and transactional leadership of 72 light infantry rifle platoon leaders for ratings of unit potency, cohesion, and performance for U.S. Army platoons participating in combat simulation exercises. Both transformational and transactional contingent reward leadership ratings of platoon leaders and sergeants positively predicted unit performance. The relationship of platoon leadership to performance was partially mediated through the unit's level of potency and cohesion. Implications, limitations, and future directions for leadership research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / psychology*