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SAM WALTON ppl_waltonsam_1007.jpg

A Natural Transformational Leader!

  • What is a Transformational Leader?
A transformational leader is someone who “transforms employees/followers to pursue organizational goals over self-interests.”
  • How Transformational Leaders accomplish transforming followers?
By creating changes to their goals, values, needs, beliefs, and aspirations by appealing to follower/work group values and personal identity.
  • How does Transformational Leadership operate?

There are four categories to this theory which are listed below with their sub-categories:
1. Individual & Organization Character
  • Traits
  • Life Experiences
  • Organizational Culture

2. Leadership Behavior
  • Inspirational motivation- establishing attractive future visions, using emotional arguments, and exhitbiting optimism and enthusiasum
  • Idealized influence- sacrificing for the good of the group, being a role model, displaying high ethical standards
  • Individual consideration- displaying support, encouragement, empowerment, and coaching to employees
  • Intellectual stimulation- encouraging employees to question status quo and seek innovative and creative solutions to organizational problems
3. Effects on followers and work groups
4. Outcomes

So, did Sam embody transformational leadership?


Yes, Individual and organizational characteristics
Examples that would support this opinion are:


Ø His extraverted personality that he must have possessed in order to interact with people on a day to day basis from delivering papers, waiting tables, and working in numerous stores (Traits and life experiences)


Ø Serving as a communications officer in the Army Intelligence Corps would help shape his likelihood to have this leadership style (life experiences)


Ø Walton worked to make some workers eligible for a share of the profits and stock options in the company. Associates also manage their own departments, keeping a watchful eye on stock and profits. (Organizational Culture)

Yes, Leadership Behavior
Examples that would support this opinion are:


Ø Sam had a cheer that he started which the employees did at the beginning of each workday: “Give me a W, give me an A, give me an L, give me a squiggly, give me an M, give me an A, give me an R, give me a T, What’s that spell? Wal-Mart! Whose Wal-Mart is it? My Wal-Mart! Who’s number one? The Customer! Always!” (Inspirational motivation, enthusiasm)


Ø When Sam opened the first Wal-Mart store in 1962, he had to do so by not only borrowing a large sum of money from others, but he also had to mortgage his own home (Idealized Influence, sacrifice)


Ø Sam has his own commandments of ten which he set into place. Of these commandments, share profits with your associates and treat them like your partners, energize colleagues, communicate with, appreciate, and listen to your associates/partners place him in the Individualized Consideration category.

Sam Walton was definitely a transformational leader. He exemplified all the aspects of what a transformational leader should entail. He worked toward a goal which he set forth, achieved that goal, and worked toward expanding his business into what it is today. He’s a leader who went outside the norm of the way things were done and is definitely worth mocking.


More Examples:

o "This is a man who was at work at 4:30 in the morning, had warmth and charm throughout the day, an interest in his customers, and who treated his associates well as persons, not just as clerks and salespeople," said Walter Loeb, a retailing consultant, according to The New York Times.” (Idealized influence)

o “Walton, known as an enthusiastic leader, was constantly looking for new locations for his revolutionary discount store. The tycoon would sometimes fly over small towns looking for new locations -- landing and buying a slab of land when he found the perfect spot.” (Inspirational motivation)

o “My feeling is that just because we work so hard, we don't have to go around with long faces all the time -- while we're doing all of this work, we like to have a good time. It's sort of a 'whistle while you work' philosophy, and we not only have a heck of a good time with it, we work better because of it," Walton said (Organizational culture and Individual consideration)

o The family, the nation's wealthiest, has also become the top philanthropist in the United States, especially in the area of education. (Idealized influence and high ethical standards)

o On March 17, 1992, President George Bush presented Walton with the Medal of Freedom for his entrepreneurial spirit and his concern for his employees and community. (Individualized consideration and Idealized influence)


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