Department of Political Science

Achieving High Quality Through Transformational Leadership: A Qualitative Multilevel Analysis of Transformational Leadership and Perceived Professional Quality

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Professional quality is an important performance criterion in the public sector, but professionals can have very different understandings of what constitutes professional quality. Leadership is often emphasized as a key element in giving direction to employees, thus enabling the promotion of shared understandings of what professional quality is. Although several studies show a positive relationship between transformational leadership and performance, professional quality is seldom investigated, and too little is known about how transformational leadership is linked to shared understandings among employees and leaders. This article applies a qualitative multilevel comparative case design to investigate the transformational leadership–professional quality relationship for child care centers. We find that transformational leadership is positively associated with the degree of shared understanding of professional quality among professionals and that a shared understanding of quality is positively associated with high levels of professional quality. Moreover, transformational leadership seems to be more prevalent in medium-sized spans of control.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Personnel Management
Pages (from-to)51-72
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • performance, professional quality, span of control, transformational leadership

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