Chapter 13: Transactional, transformational, transformative leadership: a journey towards equity and emancipation
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Although the term “transforming leadership” has not gained universal currency or recognition, its use, by James McGregor Burns in his seminal volumes Leadership (1978) and Transforming Leadership (2003) has given rise to two major approaches to leadership. Although sometimes conceived as synonyms, in contrast to transactional leadership, transformational and transformative leadership have emerged as two distinct theories, with different ontologies, epistemologies, and methodologies. An examination of each theory, its development, goals, assumptions and predominant practices permits an understanding of the progression to transformative leadership. The discussion will demonstrate how this evolution responds to distinct ontological and values-based approaches to leadership and whether the advantages and limitations of each theory can offer guidance for truly transformative future leadership development. It will argue that because of its explicit values-based orientation to equity and justice, transformative leadership theory best offers guidance for today’s complex and diverse schools.

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