A Correlational Study of How Transformational Behaviors Impact Student Intellectual Stimulation

Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Committee Chair

Timothy Reymann

Committee Member

Brenda Jones

Committee Member

Brock Schroeder


Transformational leadership is identified as an innovative managerial approach that highlights empowerment, inspiration, and stimulation of followers (Wang, Kim, & Lee, 2016; Belschak, Den Hartog, & Kalshoven, 2015). Literature supports the idea that a transformational approach to leadership drives innovation and change and creates an environment where employees are inspired and encouraged (Lukowki, 2017). However, the focus of the literature and current research surrounding transformational leadership emphasizes the practical applications utilized within a corporate context, while research analyzing the academic forms of transformational leadership is minimal in comparison. The purpose of this study is to explore a possible relationship between the existence of behaviors by university instructors aligned with transformational leadership and whether these behaviors promote specific student results. The objective of this study is to quantify a correlational relationship between leadership behaviors exhibited by instructors and positive student outcomes, specifically the integration of an interactive teaching style, challenging of students, encouragement of independent thought, and the overall student intellectual stimulation score. The researcher used two existing survey instruments, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) (Bass & Avolio, 1995) and the Student Intellectual Stimulation Scale (SISS) (Bolkan & Goodboy, 2010), to test the presence of this correlation.