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Pseudo-Transformational Leadership: Model Specification and Outcomes


  • The authors thank Kate Dupré, Michelle Inness, seminar participants at the University of Alberta's School of Business, and members of the Thursday Afternoon Research Group for constructive comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Earlier versions of the manuscript were presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management, Atlanta, GA, August 2006; and the annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, New York, NY, May 2006. Financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to all three authors is gratefully acknowledged.

Amy Christie, School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5. E-mail:


A model of pseudo-transformational leadership was tested in 4 experiments. Pseudo-transformational leadership is defined by self-serving, yet highly inspirational leadership behaviors, unwillingness to encourage independent thought in subordinates, and little caring for one's subordinates more generally. Study 1 (N = 167) used vignettes to differentiate among transformational, pseudo-transformational, and laissez-faire leadership styles. Study 2 (N = 179) replicated this model using ratings of characters in the film 12 Angry Men (Fonda, Rose, & Lumet, 1957). Study 3 (N = 120) tested the model, controlling for participant perceptions of leader affect and prototypical leadership behaviors. Study 4 (N = 127) extended the ecological validity of the model and range of outcomes. Across the studies, support was obtained for the model.