A mixed-methods study of CEO transformational leadership and firm performance

Maika Jensen, Kristina Potocnik, Sara Chaudhry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This mixed-method study explores the relationship between CEO transformational leadership and firm performance relying exclusively on secondary data. We used a random sample comprising of 42 CEOs of publicly-listed US and European companies. We evaluated their transformational leadership drawing upon media sources which were content analyzed to create individual CEO profiles. These profiles were then given to a panel of three judges who rated the CEOs on their transformational leadership style. We obtained the firm performance data from Thomson Datastream. Our results showed significant associations between intellectual stimulation and inspirational motivation respectively, and different financial performance indicators. We also observed a tendency of positive relationships between individualized consideration and firm performance. These findings remained significant after controlling for company baseline performance, firm size, CEO tenure, and company location. Our findings largely support the positive role of CEO transformational leadership in shaping firm performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-845
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number6
Early online date20 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • CEO transformational leadership
  • firm performance
  • secondary data
  • mixed-methods


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