Increasing transformational leadership by developing leaders' information - Processing systems

Tom Cerni, Guy J. Curtis, Susan Colmar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


According to the cognitive-experiential self theory (CEST), all behavior is guided by two informationprocessing systems: the rational system and the experiential. Previous research with school leaders has shown that the rational system and constructive elements of the experiential system have a strong positive relationship with transformational leadership, as outlined in the Full-Range Leadership Theory. This article reports a pretest, posttest study using an intervention and control group to test whether changes to CEST information-processing systems could bring about changes in transformational leadership. The results of a 10-week, individually delivered coaching intervention program with a small group of school principals showed that there was a significant increase in transformational leadership scores between the pretest and posttest for the intervention group, as rated by school staff. The control group remained unchanged. Qualitative results from interviews indicated that school principals in the intervention group became more aware and reflective about their leadership practice. This study yields initial evidence that increasing rational and constructive thinking can develop the use of transformational leadership techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Leadership Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


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