Reexamining the Relationship Between Thinking Styles and Transformational Leadership: What Is the Contribution of Imagination and Emotionality?

Guy J. Curtis, Gillian King, Andrew Russ

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Several recent studies have found relationships between individual differences in information-processing styles, as conceptualized in cognitive-experiential theory (CET), and aspects of leadership style and leadership behavior. In these studies, two thinking-style variables, rational thinking and behavioral coping, have consistently correlated positively with transformational leadership, a style of leadership in which leaders favorably transform followers’ attitudes and behaviors toward their work. However, expected relationships between CET’s experiential thinking system and transformational leadership have been elusive. In Study 1, school leaders’ (N = 70) thinking and leadership styles were examined using a new scale that measures experiential thinking more thoroughly than it has been in previous studies by splitting experiential thinking into intuition, imaginative thinking, and emotionality. In Study 1, rational thinking, behavioral coping, and imaginative thinking all correlated positively and significantly with transformational leadership. These results were replicated in Study 2 with the broader leadership sample (N = 93). These results suggest that effective leadership may be fostered by developing leaders’ capacity for imaginative thinking.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8-21
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Leadership Studies
    Volume11
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

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