Transactional Vs Transformational Leadership

This essay must conduct an improved understanding of command styles transactional and transformational management styles from researching on Richard Branson and Steve Careers' success, and discuss about different kinds of changes (incremental and radical changes) may occur in an company in order to learn change management methods can be employed to a real case (Virgin Group).

Although both of the wonderful leaders display characteristics of both transactional and transformational control styles, this article will identify Steve Jobs as a transactional head and Richard Branson as a transformational innovator with three reasons for each and every statement.

This article will identify and identify six types of changes (incremental and radical) for each and every leader (three samples each type).

At last, this essay will discuss about the principles of change management and make clear Kotter's 8-Step Change Model by applying to a real case (Virgin Group).

Transactional Authority VS Transformational Leadership

Good command is the main element to the success of an organization. Transactional leadership is performance-oriented and transformational control is people-oriented. To become more specific, transactional leadership involves reinforcement to keep an eye on and justify supporters' shows by using reward and abuse, while transformational leadership tends to encourage and stimulate the supporters' loyalty and attention by market leaders' charisma.

Steve Careers as Transactional Leader

Transactional leaders' characteristic behaviours are: (Barbuto, 2005)

Contingent Reward

Contingent reward is truly a regular way that the majority of the professionals use to encourage clubs, create positive competition and improve success.

Steve Jobs possessed the impressive capacity to notice skill and productive employees and allocate them to the right place in the business. Each year, Careers needed his "top 100" people on the retreat. It is not only an incentive as a holiday, but also an acknowledgement from STEVE Careers!

In my estimation, acknowledgements from successful genius would be the best compensation for my hard working.

Management by exception

Transactional market leaders take actions based on the exceptions (performance) of the employees. Steve Jobs categorised his fans as either "geniuses" or "bozos", and quickly firing those who fall season in the second option camp (Greene-Blose, 2012).

Another characteristic of transactional management will be the desire for control which is typical Steve Careers' style. His most liked presentation tools were a whiteboard and a Magic Marker, gives him completely control in the conference. After his reinventing Apple, Jobs had several weeks of product review consultations. Finally he go out of tolerance and shouted the team to avoid, grabbed a Magic Marker to the white mother board and had written down four words: Consumer, Pro. , Desktop and Lightweight. Then he said:"Here's what we are in need of!" (Isaacson, 2012)

This is Steve Jobs, full of vitality and enthusiasm, who offered clear incentives and strategies to his followers along with his intelligence and visions.

Richard Branson as Transformational Leader

Transformational market leaders' characteristic behaviours are: (Barbuto, 2005)

Idealized influence

Richard Branson has turned into a role model for his fans inside or beyond his "Virgin Empire" by his own passionate and fearless life style. With his own words, "You want to create something you are very pleased of Which has been my philosophy of business" (Branson), Richard Branson broke many world data such as the fastest documented Atlantic crossing by vessel, the first Atlantic crossing by hot-air balloon, etc. He proven that anything can be done to his supporters and the rest of the world with real samples. (Ocker, 2008)

Inspiration motivation

Richard Branson is a visionary innovator with dreams and relentless work attitude which make those dreams come true. At the first level of Virgin Group business, he once said:"I'd like Virgin to be as well-known round the world as Coca-Cola". (Branson) After decades of your time, the brand of Virgin have become world well-known, and addresses many different regions of business which Coca-Cola wound not dare to try. Those types of ambitions and courage ties his group together and close, and leads him to continue improving Virgin Group services and productions.

Individualized consideration

Richard Branson' business maxim is personnel first, customers second and shareholders third (Locke, 2009). One of is own most well-known and interesting account could be the lawsuit against British Airways because of its protracted libel actions and finished with funds around 600, 000 total. After Richard Branson acquired the money, he divided it to all or any his employees for his or her hard working. It had been not just a reward, but similar to posting a triumph.

On the other hands, the major reason of Richard Branson's business success is the fact that he manages customers' needs with improvements and factor, such as putting a rubber ducky in each bathroom of Virgin-owned hotels in order to make friends feel ate home, adding Listening Content in their record stores and allowing customers to listen to entire CDs before purchasing. (Richard Branson Virgin)

In basic, transformational management style is known as more as an agreeable and versatile way to arrange a business, while transactional leadership is known as more rough and efficient. It is hard to say which one is better. All the good leaders across the world (are the two above) have characteristics of the both control styles. , such as Steve Jobs' charismatic characteristics and religious motivating talk skills (Transformational), and Richard Branson' demanding management ways on the lower level positions in the company (Transactional). Transformational command does not replace transactional control but improves the potency of transactional authority from some other angle. (Bernard, Bass, & Riggio, 2005)

Incremental Changes VS Radical Changes

Changes are inevitable in individuals lives as well as running a business businesses. Incremental change occurs over a long time period for development purposes, while radical change is more regularly triggered by an emergency or a business opportunity.

There are several differences listed in the next table.

Incremental Changes

Radical Changes


Business development


Dealing with crisis

Seizing a substantial business opportunity


Long amount of time

Short period of time



Such as TQM, new system implementation

Revolutionary changes

Such as restructuring, merger, take-over

Approaches types

May be small, sluggish, on-going

May be onetime occasions, quick

Respond and effect

Hardly observed by the management level

Immediately adapt

May cause level of resistance to changes

Steve Careers - Incremental Changes

Example1: Pixar

In 1986, Steve Jobs bought "The Images Group" from Lucasfilm for $10 hundreds of thousands, improved the name to "Pixar" and started his job in animation making. Along with his visionary strategies and technology support from his computer company NeXT, Pixar developed a program called RenderMan (which has been extensively accepted and used in filmmaking industry). RenderMan was integrated in to the existing Pixar creation line slowly to be able to improve quality of the products. After a decade time, Pixar finally achieved an incredible success in the animation filming industry. It held producing a group of animation films, beginning with Toy Report (1995), which led Pixar's well worth to over $1. 5 billion.

It took 10 years to applying and perfecting the new software into creation and transferring Steve Careers' authority style into Pixar's existing procedure, and achieves a exceptional improvement at the end. That is an incremental change made by Steve Jobs.

Example2: Digital hub strategy

After Steve Jobs returning to Apple in 1997 as an "interim" CEO, he efficiently brought Apple back to success with a amazing consumer pc - iMac. By facing negative predictions about proclaiming Computers would vanish within a couple of years, Steve Jobs continuously led Apple to continue perfecting "i" products with this is of "internet, individual, instruct, inform and inspire" as the same way Apple always do. (Steve Jobs' introductory 1998 iMac slide show)

In 2001, Steve Jobs unveiled the Digital Hub Strategy to the general public and within the next 10 years time he continued launching some services which extremely changed and led the trade of the whole world. (Kurian, 2012)

There was an interesting event that Steve Careers called himself as the "iCEO" of Apple instead of "interim" CEO humorously which entertained the public very much (Macworld SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA 2000). It was also a good way to promoting "i" products while teasing with the plank of Apple for rehiring him as a short-term executive official.

This huge successful change required 10 years to be completed followed by Steve Careers' leadership part by part. It looked after the old producing course and improved production qualities. It was an extended period on-going process of implementing Careers' knowledge into Apple Company.

Example3: Old age from Apple

Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancers in 2003, but he kept on denying any serious problem. That's the reason everyone was stunned when Apple declared that Steve Careers would not go on stage for the Macworld keynote in 2009 2009, and he got half a year off at the same year. Jobs finally resigned as CEO of Apple in 2011 but continued to be as the Chairman of the business's panel, and he passed on after 6 weeks. (Kurian, 2012)

There may be some radical changes involved for damage control purpose, but in general, Steve Careers took care and attention of his pension carefully and well to avoid negative impact within 3 years time. For example, he distributed his tasks to other professionals detail by detail, and before his final resign, he highly recommended Tim Make meals in written, that notice premiered to the general public later in order to retain trust. The complete process was carefully designed and carried out in a long time step-by-step. In my opinion, it can be an incremental change.

Steve Jobs - Radical Changes

Example1: Macintosh VS Lisa

In the first 80s, Apple was creating a business-oriented computer known as Lisa under Steve Jobs' supervising, but later from then on, Steve Jobs trashed of the Lisa job because of his bad temper. He was so upset and made a decision to take revenge by developing a small job called Macintosh to be able to kill the sales of Lisa. (Kurian, 2012)

It was a radical strategy. Macintosh possessed user-friendly program (point-and -click) which motivated other computer manufactories and altered the course of computer industry since that time, but it was not as pleasant to the market as Jobs expected though. At that time, IBM's Laptop or computer was more appropriate for its cheaper price.

Because this action was taken swiftly without well planning and careful market researching, Macintosh job failed.

Example2: Staging a Coup

There was another revenge considered by Steve Careers after his removal from Lisa task, he tried out to stage a coup. As we all know, he failed again. (Kurian, 2012)

It was a restructuring plan, and he had taken actions swiftly. But without endorsement from Apple' panel of directors and support from other fellow workers, he got fired from his own company.

Example3: Reinventing Apple

By 1996, Apple rehired Steve Jobs as an "informal adviser to the CEO". At that time, Apple was keeping on losing profits and Steve Careers staged another coup. He successes this time around and became an "interim" CEO in 1997. The first thing he previously done after his promotion is trimming off the production lines and focused on four products. This effective decision brought the lost self-assurance back again to the Apple community (Kurian, 2012). For the time being, Jobs took other actions such as announcing a fresh slogan "Think Different" and launched an incredible project which brought Apple's resurgence recently, the iMac. (Edwards, 2008)

Those activities and decisions above are radical changes (restructuring and redesigning the development processes). They were new strategies to the business for solving a financial meltdown in a short time period.

Richard Branson - Incremental Changes

Example1: Virgin Atlantic

There are some unique features Virgin Atlantic has while other airways might not have can be considered as incremental changes. Such as, serving a cup of snow cream while people watching videos during travelling in order to provide an improved service. Virgin Atlantic will not provide foods for short distance flight to be able to reduce solution price. This sort of services is provided for increasing quality of service.

Example2: Virgin Group

Because Richard Branson received a great deal of support from his relatives and buddies during hi early period of business stage (borrowed money from his auntie and recognized by John Lennon), the whole Virgin Group services can be viewed as as a long-term process for utilizing Richard Branson's plan of giving back to the world and helping those individuals who have ambitious but does not have opportunities. Such as for example, Virgin Money offers a group of formalised documentations help people who need lending options. Although Virgin Money U. S. didn't work very well in USA, Richard Branson helped a huge number of people along with his good heart and soul in UK. Those activities can be considered as Incremental Changes.

Example3: Eco-friendly efforts

In 2007, Richard Branson launched Virgin Globe Challenge dedicating in to environmental issues. He made several decisions that supervised depends upon, such as a $25 millions award for inventors who arises with a feasible solution for scrubbing carbon gases from atmosphere. He also pledged to reinvest all gains from Virgin transportation business within the decade into expanding ecologically benign fuels.

This kind of actions may not influence other Virgin companies, nevertheless they will improve Virgin Group's reputation, it is also quite a while period job.

Richard Branson - Radical Changes

Example1: Virgin Documents Shop

At the beginning, Richard Branson started out his details business as mail placing your order company in London, and it went well. After a postal reach, the mail order business was crippled. Richard Branson was obligated to get new stores and he opened his first retail store in Oxford Street in 1971.

This was a technique for coping with a crisis situation, and controlled immediately. It transformed Virgin Record's business process and framework.

Example2: Retailing Virgin Music Group

Selling Virgin Music would be the hardest decision Richard Branson has available in his complete life-time. This decision was made in order to get money to consider Virgin Atlantic back into private possession (Vinnedge, 2009).

This change was obligated by a financial meltdown and included restructuring process.

Example3: Shutting Virgin Money U. S.

Richard Branson launched financing servicing company called Virgin Money U. S. in America in 2007, and began its withdrawal after 2 years (Lepro, 2010). Its cultural loans were transferred to Graystone Solutions. This time around, Richard Branson misjudged the market and had to consider to be able to limit the harm. Other reasons of the collapse might be the bad market and different culture in America. This change included restructuring and take-over in a short time.

To sum up the above cases and explanations, incremental changes are usually well designed and bought out by pieces, there exists less possibilities of failure. Radical changes are immediate reactions for a crisis or significant opportunity, there are likelihood of failure.

Change Management in Virgin Group

Story of Virgin Mobile

In 2007, Virgin Group announced the conclusion of its biggest challenge which helped bring over 10 million customers and 13, 000 employees - merger of NTL, Telewest and Virgin Mobile under the Virgin Mass media brand. It is known as the largest Virgin Company in the world.

This operation got more than two years to complete the whole the merger, and Virgin Group completed it carefully, especially on employees' resistance.

Reasons of employees' amount of resistance to this change and strategies

It is necessary for leaders to comprehend that resistances to changes are normal. In order to deal with those hurdles, leaders have to recognize reasons of employees' resistances first of all and develop different strategies for different situations.

Some common reasons are pursuing


Mostly, employees' fear comes from uncertainty about their career. In this situation, employees were concerned about if there would be a layoff or if indeed they were certified for the new company.

Strategies: Virgin Group placed employees engaged during managing changes. The advanced of the management travelled done to the front line personnel and paid attention to the staff's ideas and problems, and shared their own experiences. Richard Branson needed care of individual needs carefully. On the other hand, he also announced that if the employees no more have the enthusiasm, they might be easier to find a fresh job. So long as the employees performed with full obligations, they would remain considered as an integral part of the company. This sort of instructions increased the sense of the urgency, and encouraged employees to go on positively.

No trust in new process

Former NTL and Telewest employees might have uncertainties about the new procedure for Virgin Group. Because NTL and Telewest Company acquired many years of fighting the bad market environment, they could not be sure if the new company would lead them to enhance the organisational performance.

Strategies: Richard Branson gave obligations to his employees, and went to the front line personally to see clear instructions. Building clear instructions and explanations, and demonstrating a picture of a better future would increase employees' trust and certainty of the new process.

Comfort & personal preference

Former NTL and Telewest employees experienced their own means of daily procedures, and the new company brought its new ways of doing business, so they might have the difficulties to adopt the new culture. Such as for example, those staff got their old way of working with customers' phone calls by following a instructions and scripts purely, while Richard Branson believes that all customer would have his/her unique problem, staff should help different customers in another way.

Strategies: Richard Branson threw away all the scripts and told call-center employees to help customers within one call if possible. In order to support their work, he allocated necessary resources to the font lines.

Lack of knowledge

Although some ex - NTL and Telewest employees were expert in their old company, they might need to start out right from the start since the new company got its unique ways of conducting business.

Strategies: Because of this kind of nervousness, Richard Branson responded with three words only: "Live and find out"! He provided resources and training programs for employees in order to create a positive learning environment, and he also encouraged communication among different degrees of the management to understand individual complications.

Lack of trust

Virgin Group has different diversity of businesses and it used to choose small piece of business, whether Richard Branson has the capacity to lead the top company to make profit and keep growing would be unpredictable. This is the reason that some employees might have difficulties to adapt the changes.

Strategies: Richard Branson held developing services and services, and led the company to success, such as more packages of Virgin Broadband, more programs and TV programs for Virgin Marketing Tv set, and etc. Those successes cut back the rely upon many years, not immediately.

Application of Kotter's Change Model

Create Urgency

At this stage, it is necessary to deliver a note that the whole company really needs this change. The company has to provide sturdy reasons and convincing dialogues support this decision. To Kotter's idea, this stage is the most important stage; insufficient prep would easily lead to a project failure.

In Virgin Media's circumstance, innovator should show people NTL and Telewest's poor performance reports and most notably, the potentials, because no-one will have faith in a failed business. With a short benefits of development scenarios, head should emphasise the opportunities and reap the benefits of this merger.

Form a robust Coalition

In order to effect people to acknowledge the change, head needs a band of key people from different department to aid the change management process. They don't necessary need to be who has respectable power, but can also be expert, and other important people.

In Virgin Media's circumstance, leader should choose powerful and important folks from ex-NTL and ex-Telewest Company, and select good communicators from Virgin Mobile, in order to organise a supportive team. Once organised, the team must interact and continuing to create urgency in their own working areas.

Create a Perspective for Change

The next thing would be making an overall eye-sight about the change, including principles and reasons of the change, brief summaries, and ways of execute that perspective.

In Virgin Media's case, leader must have a clear idea in what to do with ex-NTL and ex-Telewest, and why Virgin Mobile needs to carry out a merger with them. As the matter of the actual fact, Richard Branson was seeking to build the first "quadruple play " mass media company in UK, and after year or two hard working, he achieved it.

Communicate the Vision

After creating the eyesight, leader should deliver the concept to the team members, and with the help, the note can be allocated to all areas of the business. The message shouldn't be sent through meetings only, most of all through daily communications among the complete company.

In Virgin Media's Circumstance, Richard Branson tried to communicate with employees whenever you can and inspire them to keep up in a confident working attitude. Those ideas and visions were implanted into employees' head during those marketing communications.

Remove Obstacles

In order to ease employees' level of resistance to changes, innovator should avoid having resistance to employees' amount of resistance. Innovator should be happy to listen and understand employees' complications and find a way to help them walk through it.

In Virgin Press' circumstance, Richard Branson provided clear instructions to all employees, and visited the front-line in person to listen to employees. He allocated necessary resources to them and tried out to make a learning environment, in order to improve performance.

Create Short-term Wins

Celebrations for short-term wins would be easy and simple and most successful way to confirm that "we have been doing the right things and we are doing things right". It isn't limited to motivating employees' love of working, but also for attaining trust.

In Virgin Media's circumstance, leader should acknowledge and reward people for their excellent performance and making changes happen, and encourage them to continue working favorably.

Build on the Change

Kotter believes that it is very important for leaders to avoid celebrating prematurily. and being complacent about current short-term success. There would be always rooms for improvement.

In Virgin Media's Circumstance, Richard Branson continued producing and producing services and services, and traffic monitoring on employees' performances all the time. He experienced daily businesses in details personally to get for ways of improvements.

Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture

Formalising the changes and including them as part of organisation's culture is the last step of change management process. This step can be viewed as as a closure and promotion.

In Virgin Media's case, Richard Branson declared Virgin Group's success to the public at all times through different kind of stations, such as TV, radio, Virgin websites, sites, publications and etc.


After researching on Steve Jobs and Richard Branson' life reviews as a leader, this essay is conducted to be able to gain a better understanding about the ideas of being an outstanding leader.

Leadership Style

Steve Jobs was considered as a hardcore and tight (even "dictatorial") innovator, but he was also a respectful leader who could encourage and motivate followers by using his knowledge and charismas. Richard Branson is recognized as gentle and flexible leaders, but he's very demanding on day-to-day functions. As a head, being transactional can improve employees' performance while being transformational can improve performance. Therefore, there may be nobody simple control style for one organisation. Both of the authority styles are necessary to a business' success.

Types of changes

Incremental change may occurs over a long time period for development and improvement purpose, while radical change may be activated by an emergency or a business opportunity and generated very quickly period.

Because incremental changes are usually well organized and taken over by pieces, there is less likelihood of failure. Radical changes are initiated soon after realising an emergency or significant opportunity, so without a careful plan and on-going monitoring there are chances of failure.

Change Management

It is important to comprehend that employees' amount of resistance to changes are natural, but how to manage those negative feelings are critical. Generally, head should keep employees mixed up in decision making, dwelling address their problems and seek for solutions, generate a positive learning environment and make the change happen by dealing with employees as an example.

Change management operations should be carefully organized and handled, especially the preparing stage (Create Urgency). A powerful coalition's positive support would make the functions accomplished smoothly, that is why choosing the right team member is very important. Head and coalition should lead by good examples, talk to employees and deliver visions whenever you can. Do remember celebrating on short-term wins and establish big victory formally as company's culture.

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