Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Transformational = Conflictual?

Recently Igor Kotlyar and Leonard Karakowsky wrote an interesting paper which proposes “a potential link between transformational leadership behavior and the generation of dysfunctional team conflict”. There’s a free copy at http://www.entrepreneur.com/tradejournals/article/167430593.html. While cognitive (ideas) conflict is usually seen to be healthy, affective (emotional) conflict is usually seen to be counter-productive. The paper states that transformational leadership, for the reason that it promotes “motive arousal”, may “strengthen the connection between cognitive and affective conflict”. Thus there is a need for “enforcement of the rules of the game -- creating parameters for generating and maintaining cognitive conflict while curtailing the transmission of affective conflict”. However, such a solution would normally fall outside the transformational leadership paradigm. QUESTION: Do you think there is truth in this, that transformational leadership may promote conflict? And have Kotlyar and Karakowsky correctly identified the source of conflict in transformational leadership?

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