Transformational and transactional leadership: does it work in small to medium-sized enterprises?

Jos K. Mesu

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

702 Downloads (Pure)


Using a sample of 755 employees who rated 121 supervisors within 50 Dutch small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this dissertation intends to fill in some of the existing gaps in the literature. Firstly, by investigating whether the impact of transformational and transactional leadership extends from large to small and medium-sized companies. Secondly, by studying potential mediating and moderating effects to obtain a better understanding of the mechanisms by which transformational and transactional leader behaviours influence employee outcomes, and also of the factors that may strengthen or weaken the impact of these leader behaviours within SMEs. The results indicate that the impact of transformational and transactional leadership in large organisations does extend to small and medium-sized enterprises. The findings of this study are therefore in line with Bass’ contention that these leader behaviours would be effective in practically any kind of organisation. Further, it could be concluded that within the context of SMEs trust in the leader and affective organisational commitment play a considerable role as mediators in the association between leader behaviour and several employee outcomes. Furthermore, both participative and directive leadership were analysed as possible moderators of the relation between transformational leadership and affective commitment. The data suggested that directive leadership strengthened the association between transformational leadership and affective organisational commitment. SMEs are advised to improve feedback skills, rewarding behaviours, directive and transformational leadership, if they wish to enhance employees’ attitudes and behaviours. This dissertation includes a brief instruction of how to set up an effective leadership development program.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Sanders, K., Supervisor
  • van Riemsdijk, M.J., Co-Supervisor
Award date28 Jun 2013
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-94-6108-472-9
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Transformational and transactional leadership: does it work in small to medium-sized enterprises?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this