Does Current Popular Leadership Literature Show a Preference for Transformational Leadership?


  • Michael Hagemann Pegaso International, Malta



transformational leadership, transactional model, leadership theory


Over the past few years, numerous Leadership models, theories, and methodologies have emerged so that the question arises as to which of the models is most effective, or even which has prevailed. One approach to this question is to compare different models in terms of their overlaps or similarities. This study researches the topic with a reverse approach: can one derive a preference for a particular leadership style or even a leadership direction or leadership ‘school' from the popular leadership literature? The guiding question is which leadership books sell the most and which leadership style or elements of leadership they represent. For this purpose, Amazon's bestseller lists in leadership and management in a specific period and local market are examined in a quantitative-qualitative study both to elicit the distribution of a model and to find common styles and elements of leadership among different authors. The result shows that current popular leadership literature primarily reflects transformational leadership models with elements of transactional management. A particular leadership mindset and special leadership activities such as goal orientation or inspirational motivation can be found in almost all of the most widespread models.