Transformational and transactional leadership are known to be related to organizational variables, including organizational commitment, job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), turnover intention, and job performance. As these relationships are relevant to intercollegiate sports in the United States, the purpose of this study was to investigate athletic director’s transformational and transactional leadership and its impact on the five variables reported by followers (i.e., head coaches) in intercollegiate sports. This study employed transformational and transactional leadership as antecedents, and organizational commitment and job satisfaction as mediators bridging leadership and three organizational outcomes (OCB, turnover intention, and job performance).
Using a census method, the researcher asked 2,627 head coaches at NCAA Division II institutions to respond to a web survey questionnaire. The questionnaire contained items from the Multiple Leadership Questionnaire developed by Bass and Avolio (1995), and items to measure job satisfaction, commitment, OCB, turnover intention, and job performance. A total of 359 (13.7%) usable responses were collected and used for the analysis.
Regarding the results of this study, confirmatory factor analysis was used to investigate relationships among the leadership and other variables. Transformational leadership exhibited direct and positive relationships with organizational commitment and job satisfaction, an indirect and negative relationship with turnover intention through organizational commitment and job satisfaction, and an indirect and positive relationship with OCB through organizational commitment. Transactional leadership exhibited direct and positive relationships with organizational commitment and job satisfaction, and an indirect and negative relationship with turnover intention through organizational commitment.
Two important implications arose from the findings from this study: the importance of contingent rewards, as well as transformational leadership, and withdrawal behavior and OCB of coaches in relation to job satisfaction and organizational commitment. A contingent reward dimension in transactional leadership was shown to have more influence on job satisfaction and organizational commitment than transformational leadership. Some methods to address contingent reward may be to offer better compensation packages to followers or to provide better resources or budgets to upgrade team operation systems. Athletic directors or university administrators need to bear in mind that compensation or budget issues are critical to have satisfied and committed coaches.
On the other hand, regarding OCB and withdrawal behavior, transformational leadership affected turnover intention through both job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and also affected OCB through organizational commitment. However, transactional leadership was shown to affect turnover intention only through organizational commitment and had no effect on OCB. These results indicate that transformational leadership engenders positive effects in the organization to a broader extent than transactional leadership.
In sum, it was shown that transactional leadership, especially contingent rewards, positively affects followers’ organizational behavior and that transformational leadership more broadly affected followers beyond the extent of effects that transactional leadership engenders.