The bright and dark sides of leadership: transformational leadership in a non-western context
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The present study aims to explore positive and negative leadership behaviours (i.e. transformational and non-transformational leadership) in a non-Western ‘change and transformation’ context through qualitative methods. Thirty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with knowledge workers in Turkey. In addition to the original dimensions found in the literature, four categories of transformational leadership emerged: benevolent paternalism, implementation of the vision, employee participation and teamwork, and proactive behaviour. Among these categories, benevolent paternalism was identified to be the most frequently mentioned aspect of transformational leadership in the Turkish context, which implies that cultural context may influence the form and enactment of transformational leadership. Regarding non-transformational leadership, five categories emerged: destructive, closed, passive/ineffective, active-failed and a miscellaneous category. Among these, destructive leadership that includes authoritarian elements was identified as the most frequently mentioned form of non-transformational leadership. These findings imply that non-transformational leadership comes in many forms, supporting the numerous constructs on the destructive/unethical–ineffective/incompetent continuum found in the negative leadership literature. The findings are discussed with reference to the literature and to social change in Turkey.