A meta-analytic review of authentic and transformational leadership: A test for redundancy

George C. Banks, Kelly Davis McCauley, William L. Gardner, Courtney E. Guler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

372 Scopus citations


While authentic leadership (AL) has seen a dramatic increase in scholarly attention over the last decade, its contribution relative to more established leadership constructs merits investigation. We employ meta-analytic techniques to compare AL and transformational leadership theories using 100 independent samples and 25,452 individuals. The findings reveal that (1) the relationship between authentic and transformational leadership is large in magnitude, suggesting construct redundancy (ρ = .72); (2) neither AL nor transformational leadership add noticeable incremental validity beyond the other construct; (3) AL has a lower relative weight than transformational leadership for the outcomes of follower satisfaction, follower satisfaction with the leader, task performance, and leader effectiveness; and (4) AL demonstrates dominance over transformational leadership when predicting group or organization performance and organizational citizenship behaviors. We recommend future research examine AL at the component level and its relationships with related ethical constructs to potentially differentiate it from transformational leadership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-652
Number of pages19
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Authentic leadership
  • Meta-analysis
  • Transformational leadership


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