J. Service Science & Management, 2010, 3: 150-158
doi:10.4236/jssm.2010.31019 Published Online March 2010 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/jssm)
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSSM
Transformational Leadership of Afghans and
Americans: A Study of Culture, Age and Gender
Belal A. Kaifi1 , Bahaudin G. Mujtaba2
1Franklin University, Columbus, USA; 2Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, USA.
Email: belalkaifi@yahoo.com, mujtaba@nova.edu
Received October 22nd, 2009; revised November 29th; accepted January 3rd, 2010.
Afghans and Americans have been exposed to different leadership styles which may have influ enced their orientation on
leading others. Age, gender, and/or culture are possible factors for such differences in leadership orientations. This
research surveyed the responses of 502 Americans and 300 Afghans to better understand their orientation toward
transformational leadership. The Afghan respondents had significantly higher scores for transformational leadership
orientation. Female American respond en ts had a sign ifica ntly h igher transfo rmationa l leadership orienta tion than their
Afghan female colleagues. Younger Afghans had a significantly higher tendency toward a transformational leadership
orientation than their American counterparts. Suggestions for managers and implications for future research are presented.
Keywords: Afghans, Americans, Afghanistan, Gender, Age, Culture, Leadership, Ethics
1. Introduction
Culture, age group, and gender may influence a person’s
leadership style and overall change management ap-
proach. Leaders must believe in change in order for there
to be a better future for a society or organization. “In
highly competitive, rapidly changing environments, car-
ing and appreciative leaders are the ones to bet on for
long-term success” [1]. The 21st century leader must be
equipped with the right tools to be effective, empathic,
and efficient in all aspects of the workplace. Today’s
competitive workplace requires more transformational
leaders as they tend to influence workers more positively.
Rhodes, Walsh, and Lok state, “While leaders initiate
and drive organizational change, they manage the change
only with the help of other change agents. These change
agents operate with different change skills and compe-
tencies depending on particular requirements and cir-
cumstances” [2]. Pounder explains that the effect of
transformational leadership on subordinates centers on
three leadership outcomes: a) the ability of the leader to
generate extra effort on the part of those being led, b)
subordinates’ perception of leader effectiveness, and c)
their satisfaction with the leader [3]. Furthermore, “Bass
and his associates’ views on morality relative to trans-
formational and transactional leadership do suggest that
transactional leaders would be expected to engage in
unethical practices more so than transformational lead-
ers,” and further state that “Judgments of a leader’s ethi-
cal posture may play a particularly strong role in influ-
encing follower satisfaction with the leader” [4]. Franken,
Edwards, and Lambert explain how “Business leaders are
under constant pressure to comply with their demands
while maintaining the organization’s competitiveness in
increasingly complex markets” [5]. Transformational
leaders are expected to not only to control, lead, plan,
and organize, but also motivate, empower, and build
healthy relationships with their peers throughout an or-
A study by Mujtaba and Kaifi illuminated how Afghan
leaders have higher scores on the relationship orientation
which relates to better job performance [6]. The skills of
building and maintaining a healthy relationship is an im-
portant element of not just performance but also trans-
formational leadership, especially when one has to create
a win-win relationship between employees, vendors, and
other stakeholders in the community or local govern-
ments. “Over the last decade, considerable research effort
has been invested into understanding the processes
through which transformational leadership positively
relates to follower attitudes, behavior, and performance”
[7]. When exploring the conditions under which trans-
formational leadership weaves its effects on performance,
research results show that transformational leadership
relates to follower identification with work unit and
self-efficacy, to predict individual performance, thus
representing a moderated mediation effect [7]. Another
Transformational Leadership of Afghans and Americans: A Study of Culture, Age and Gender
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSSM
study demonstrated “that instructors displaying transfor-
mational leadership qualities in the classroom had a pos i-
tive and significant influence on student perception of
classroom dynamics measured in terms of the three lead-
ership outcomes: extra effort, effectiveness, and satisfac-
tion” [3]. The results appear to be consistent with other
findings on transformational leadership which suggest
that employees view this style “positively in terms of
effectiveness, satisfaction, and motivation to expend ef-
fort” [3]. Other researchers argue that “the proposed as-
sociation of transformational and transactional leadership
has been one of augmentation. The augmentation hy-
pothesis argues that transformational leadership will sig-
nificantly predict leadership criteria after controlling for
transactional leadership ” [4]. Of course, effective leaders
use a variety of methods to influence their followers and
some researchers claim that “employees with higher lev-
els of power distance orientation are less likely to be in-
fluenced by transformational leadership behaviors alone
and may instead ne ed to be led via d ifferent or additional
leadership styles” [8]. Kirkman et al., further state that
“individual-level cultural value orientations, and particu-
larly power distance orientation, should not be ignored in
studies of the impact of transformational leadership on
followers across cultures” [8]. This study focuses on the
leadership style of people in Afghanistan and the United
States because an individual’s culture might very well be
a factor in their influencing style. In both cultures, fol-
lowers respect managers who are perceived to be just,
fair, and ethical. Leaders who do the right thing are able
to enhance the morale of their employees because all
individuals want to be associated with good causes and
institutions that take society’s needs into consideration.
Transformational leaders must have an ethical intention
in order to be followed and respected.
Ricoeur states, “Let us define ‘ethical intention’ as
aiming at the ‘good life’ with and for others, in just in-
stitutions” [9]. The ethical intention is what transforma-
tional leaders strive for in organizations of the 21st cen-
tury because in order for an organization to be successful,
there must be unity and collectivity along with just prac-
tices. When aiming at the good life, leaders must con-
sider not only themselves but how each person can make
a difference by being more understanding, ethical, and
concerned for th e welfare of all people within an org ani-
zation. Ricoeur explains, “the good is not contained in
any particular thing. The good is rather that which is
lacking in all things. This ethics in its entirety presup-
poses this nonsaturable use of the word predicate good”
[9]. Ricoeur recognizes the importance of being ethical
and the positive implications it has on daily actions of an
organization. In an organization, every conversation can
be meaningful, and may bring one that much closer to a
good life by learning about the other. Ricoeur states, “To
narrate and to follow a story is already to ‘reflect upon’
events with the aim of encompassing them in successive
totalities” [10]. Being able to listen, understand, and
communicate to a colleague is important for a transfor-
mational leader and will benefit an organization by
building trust, friendships, awareness, and respect. As
Ricoeur explains, “the good life is for each of us, the
nebulus of ideals and dreams of achievements with re-
gard to which a life is held to be more or less fulfilled or
unfilled” [9]. In organizations, transformational leaders
need to understand others by focusing on solicitude,
building friendships, and emphasizing equality because
Ricoeur explains, “equality, however it is modulated, is
to life in institutions what solicitude is to interpersonal
relations” [9]. By having an ethical intention, a transfor-
mational leader is able to lead by example. While the
controversy regarding whether leaders are products of
nature or nurture continue to live on, one element that is
clear is how all people are influenced by their specific
culture, age group, and gender.
2. Leadership and Culture
Culture, or the w ay people behave in an organization can
influence how a leader evaluates performance. Rhodes,
Walsh, and Lok state that the “development of a
high-performance culture requires the inspiration, drive,
and commitmen t of the lead er, leadersh ip is critical to the
change process underpinning the Balanced Scorecard”
[2]. Furthermore, according to these authors, cultural
values tend to have important implications on manage-
ment practices, because “there is a positive relationship
between a high performance culture and the adoption of
best practices” [2]. For example, the United States’ cul-
ture is considered to be high performance and, if organi-
zations are to remain competitive, they must adopt best
practices from around the globe. Some of these best
practices may include the training and development of
effective ethical leaders through succession planning and
development because effective leaders require vision,
knowledge, and execution skills.
Leaders come in many shapes, forms, and styles which
is why transformational leadership has been studied over
the years. For example, Kim claims that “there may be at
least two different leadership styles in groupthink: the
lack of impartial leadership and laissez-faire” [11]. Oth-
ers state that “In combination with the provision of
autonomy, the team leader functions as a supportive
member” [12]. Kaifi explains how a transformation
leader should consider “the primary tasks of the organi-
zation by figuring out the most efficient, effective, and
productive way to complete all tasks [13]. Daniel and
Davis emphasize that “Managers who lead high-per-
formance teams in highly competitive industries must
Transformational Leadership of Afghans and Americans: A Study of Culture, Age and Gender
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSSM
balance complex interpersonal relationships with corpo-
rate deadlines” [14]. Teamwork is critical for success in
the modern workplace because fast and effective solu-
tions to conundrums require the creativity and talents of
all stakeholders. According to Pryor et al., “It is impera-
tive that managers, team leaders, and team members un-
derstand the elements required for team success and the
potential for team failure” [15]. Kearney proposes that
transformational leadership in the modern workplace
“will engender positive effects on team performance only
to the extent that the team members regard it as legiti-
mate and appropriate that one person among them, the
leader, occupies a p rivileged p osition” [1 6]. As su ch, this
study proposes the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 1 – Afghans and Americans will have
similar transformational leadership scores.
3. Leadership and Gender
Males and females may lead from different perspectives
and these diverse leadership perspectives can lead to dif-
ferent approaches to problem-solving. “Current psycho-
logical research on leadership and team interaction sug-
gests that men and women exhibit different leadership
styles and interpersonal communication styles in a vari-
ety of small-group situations from student problem-
solving situations to industry and community situations”
[17]. Lantz writes that “women executives are much
more likely than males to be a department head or to fill
some other staff position, whereas men are much more
likely to be chief executive officer (CEO), chief operat-
ing officer (COO), president, or vice president” [18].
Many believe that the glass ceiling phenomenon contin-
ues to play a role in today’s workforce. For example,
Babcock explains that “Rather than intentional acts of
bias, second-generation gender biases reflect the con-
tinuing dominance of traditionally masculine values in
the workplace” [19]. Women are perceived to be too
emotional and less competitive than men. For example,
some authors have written that “Women are significantly
more risk averse, tend to be less overconfident and be-
have less competitiv ely oriented” [20]. Overall, th ere is a
disparity between the equal promotion of men and
women to higher positions: “Despite high-profile success
stories of female CEOs such as Meg Whitman of eBay,
only a handful of Fortune 500 firms in 2008 have a
woman in the top spot. Consequently, concern remains
about the progress women are making” [21]. Some of the
biases are very subtle and not necessarily as blatant as
they used to be, which may be a result of human resource
professionals doing a more effective and meticulous job
of making their managers aware of the existing equal
opportunity employment laws in th e United States. How-
ever, “Workplace inflexibilities and lack of organiza-
tional support are driving women away, creating a leaky
pipeline of female talent” [22]. If there are biases in the
promotion of female candidates, there will be fewer role
models for others to follow who are interested in follow-
ing in their footsteps. This phenomenon is likely to be
just as true in Afghanistan as it is in the United States.
“In gender studies of public administration, there is sig-
nificant evidence that women have less organizational
power than men, measured in lower pay, fewer career
opportunities, and underrepresentation at the highest
leadership levels” [23]. As such, this study proposes the
following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 2 – Afghan and American males will have
similar transformational leadership scores.
Hypothesis 3 – Afghan and American females will
have similar transformational leadership scores.
4. Leadership and Perceptions of Age
Leaders and styles of leadership may vary based upon
age groups. Some authors have written that “With an
older leader, the team may be more open to a leader’s
transformational behaviours, because the team members
may be more accepting of the leader’s special status”
[16]. Kearney further comments that: Results indicate
that it makes a difference whether transformational lead-
ership is provided by a leader who is older than or about
the same age as the followers. Only in the former case
was there a positive relationship between transforma-
tional leadership and team performance. Moreover, the
data yielded no eviden ce for a curvilin ear effect. [16].
According to Van Vugt, “Age relates to leadership in a
complicated way, according to the psychological litera-
ture. Some research finds a positive correlation between
age and leadership, whereas others find a zero or nega-
tive correlation” [24]. Age makes a difference if the
leader is respected for his or her knowledge, expertise,
overall wisdom, and communication or listening skills.
For example, “Experience in Britain suggests that there is
a growing confidence that an effective coach working
with senior people can achieve positive results, provided
he or she has the ability to listen” [25]. Leaders must
demonstrate that they are intelligen t and capable of mak-
ing decisions: The evolutionary game model also sug-
gests that people who are quicker to recognize a situation
as a coordination problem, that requires leadership,
emerge as leaders more often. Furthermore, they must
convince people that following is the best option. From
this, I expect that leadership correlates with intelligence,
because it helps in identifying coordination problems as
well as in coordinating actions of multi ple actors [24] .
Besides making intelligent personal and professional
decisions, it is also important for younger and older
leaders to be seen as generous and fair as “leadership is
correlated with traits and behaviors that signal generosity
and fairness” [24]. The theory of moral development
states that as individuals’ age, they are likely to gain
more knowledge about right and wrong and fairness. So
Transformational Leadership of Afghans and Americans: A Study of Culture, Age and Gender
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSSM
age has positively contributed to wisdom and knowledge
of human beings since individuals are able to learn from
personal experiences and the observation of others, and
ultimately make positive changes to their habits and
behaviors. Van Vugt explains that: In ancestral envi-
ronments, some situations required the possession of
unique and specialized knowledge, for example, where
to find a waterhole that has no t yet dried up. Know ledge
about where to go would have been more likely to be
held by older and experienced individuals, and, thus
leading is expected to correlate positively with age in
this domain. In the present time, evidence for this link
between age and leadership can still be found in profes-
sions that require a considerable amount of specialized
knowledge and experience, such as in science, politics,
and arts [24].
Of course, “workforce ag ing is not a new phenomenon,
its confluence with o ther factors such as early retirement
programmes and decreased supplies of skilled craft
workers appears to be giving the problem an unprece-
dented significance” [26]. As such, this study proposes
the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 4 – Afghan and American respondents who
are 26 years of age and older will have similar transfor-
mational leadership scor es.
Hypothesis 5 – Afghan and American respondents who
are 25 years of age and younger will have similar trans-
formational leadership scores.
5. Research Methodology
Afghans and Americans who participated in this study
completed a modified MLQ 5X-Short (Multifactor
Leadership Questionnaire) survey that was originally
developed by Bass and Avolio for leadership studies.
The survey instrument used for this study had eleven
short questions (see Appendix A) designed for the
population. Many transformational leadership research-
ers (Pounder, 2008; Kearney, 2008; Ling et al., 2008;
and Jansen et al., 2008) have used similar instruments
to study the leadership styles of various participants.
For example, Pounder used a modified version of the
MLQ Form 5X-Short which “involved a sample of in-
structors and undergraduate students in a Hong Kong
university business school [3]. Pounder used a version
of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire that was
modified for a classroom situation to better understand
the styles of prospective leaders.
The survey questions were set up in a Likert scale for-
mat wher e a r esp ons e of 1 me an s “N eve r” and a r espons e
of 5 means the element is “Always” a characteristic of
the responder. One of the questions in the survey asked
the respondent the following: “I express with a few sim-
ple words what we could an d should do”, and a differen t
question asked, “I provide others with new ways of
looking at puzzling things.” The respondent would rate
him or herself from a scale of 1 to 5 in regard to how
many words he or she might use to actually express his
or her views. The higher the overall mean scores, the
more chances that he or she is likely to have a stronger
orientation toward a transformational leadership style.
One’s range for being a transformational leader can be
expressed with a score of “V ery low” to a score of “Very
high” as presented in Table 1.
The survey instrument was distributed to 2,000 Af-
ghans and Americans by using Facebook as a so-
cial-networking instrument to get good participation. A
total of 300 surveys were completed successfully by Af-
ghans who live throughou t the United States and abroad.
Furthermore, a total of 502 surveys were completed suc-
cessfully by American respondents from the United
States. So a total of 802 responses, which represents a
45% response rate, were used for analysis.
The research question for this study is: Do Afghans
and Americans have similar or differen t transforma tion al
leadership scores? For this survey, the higher the overall
sum of the scores, the more likely that the participant is
strongly oriented toward a transformational leadership
6. Results and Analysis
The responses of 802 Afghans and Americans demon-
strate that there is a statistically significant difference in
their mean transformational leadership scores (t = 7.83; p
< 0.001), as presented in Table 2. Afghan respondents
have a significantly higher score on transformational
leadership, which means that the first hypothesis, “Afghans
and Americans will have similar transformational lead-
ership scores,” cannot be supported. While the mean
score of Afghan respondents fall in the high range, the
American respondents mean score falls in the moderately
high range for transformational leadership orientation.
Table 1. Transformational leadership orientation range
45–50 Very high range
40–44 High range
35–39 Moderately high range
30–34 Moderately low range
25–29 Low range
10–24 Very low range
Table 2. Transformational leadership score by culture de-
scriptive statistics and T-test of two means
Culture Mean
Deviation Sample Size
Afghan 41.266* 4.26 300
American 39.6096* 1.612 502
* t = 7.83; p < 0.001
Transformational Leadership of Afghans and Americans: A Study of Culture, Age and Gender
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSSM
The second hypothesis predicted that “Afghan and
American males will have similar transformational lead-
ership scores” and, as presented in Table 3, this study
could not support this suppo sition because male Afghans
have a significantly higher score than their American
The third hypothesis predicted that “Afghan and
American females will have similar transformational
leadership scores” and, as presented in Table 4, this
study could not support this supposition because Ameri-
can females’ mean score is significantly higher than their
female Afghan counterparts.
The fourth hypothesis predicted that “Afghan and
American respondents who are 26 years of age and older
will have similar transformational leadership scores
and, as presented in Table 5, this study could not support
this supposition because older Americans have a signifi-
cantly higher score than their Afghan colleagues.
The last hypothesis predicted that “Afghan and
American respondents who are 25 years of age and
younger will have similar transformational leadership
scores” and, as presented in Tab le 6, th is study could not
support this supposition because the scores are signifi-
cantly different. Younger Afghans have a significantly
higher transformational leadership score than their
American colleagues.
Table 3. Transformational leadership score of males de-
scriptive statistics and T-test of two means
Males Mean
Deviation Sample
Afghan Males 44.7933 2.18689 150
American Males 39.54 1.75 280
t = 27.2; p < 0.001
Table 4. Transformational leadership score of females de-
scriptive statistics and T-test of two means
Females Mean
Deviation Sample
Afghan Females 37.74 2.56049 150
American Females 39.7 1.41 222
t = –9.48; p < 0.001
Table 5. Transformational leadership score by age descrip-
tive Statistics and T-test of two means
Age Mean
Deviation Sample
Older Afghans 37.36 2.097 50
Older Americans 39.59 1.64 302
t = –8.53; p < 0.001
Table 6. Transformational leadership score by age descrip-
tive statistics and T-test of two means
Age Mean
Deviation Sample
Younger Afghans 42.048 4.15 250
Younger Americans39.645 1.57 200
t = 7.99; p < 0.001
This study has demonstrated that Afghans and Ameri-
cans have significantly different transformational lead-
ership scores. The Afghan respondents scored in the
higher range for having a transformational leadership
orientation. This finding corroborates Kaifi’s study
which explains how most Afghans are natural transfor-
mational leaders partly because they have been influ-
enced by leaders who have fought for reform, moderni-
zation, and a prosperous vision for Afghanistan [27].
Furthermore, there was a statistically significant differ-
ence between the scores of Afghans and Americans
based on gender and age. Female American respondents
as well as older American respondents had a significantly
higher transformational leadership orientation than their
Afghan colleagues. Younger Afghan respondents as well
as male Afghans had a significantly higher tendency to-
ward a transformational leadership orientation than their
American counterparts.
7. Implications of the Study
This study has demonstrated that Afghans seem to be
naturally oriented toward transformational leadership
tendencies. From an ideo logical perspective, Afghans are
inclined to be transformational leaders because the Afghan
culture places a considerable emphasis on respecting
elders because of their knowledge, wisdom, and experi-
ence, which explains why older transformational leaders
are usually more successful in influencing the Afghan
population. This research has shown that young Afghan
respondents are even more inclined to be transforma-
tional leaders than their older counterparts. Global busi-
ness and human resource management practices can be
challenging when an organization is working with people
of a different culture [28]. Organizations that are inter-
ested in conducting business in Afghanistan or around
the globe should feel confident in hiring an Afghan to
lead the organization, which contradicts the current
frame of thought.
Due to societal conditioning and cross-cultural ten-
dencies of human nature, some managers assume that
employees from high-context cultures such as Afghani-
stan are likely to be more relationship-oriented which
may distract employees from not completing their tasks
in a timely manner. For example, they may not be asser-
tive enough to pressure their peers toward being more
productive when there is a backlog or even to ask for
Transformational Leadership of Afghans and Americans: A Study of Culture, Age and Gender
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSSM
help when necessary because they do not want to appear
“pushy” or “rude.” Of course, such assumptions are often
wrong as the Afghan respondents in this survey have
higher transformational leadership scores when com-
pared to their American counterparts.
These results are important elements for multinational
managers, administrators of USAID (the United States of
America’s International Development) agency, NGOs
(non-governmental agencies), and other contractors re-
cruiting professionals for jobs and assignments in and
around Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, “Afghan leaders
from all professions have started emerging. There are
currently many Afghan-American medical doctors, en-
gineers, attorneys, professors, police officers, and many
who work in either the private or public sectors of the
workforce” [29]. The modern workplace for a multina-
tional firm can be very diverse as the workforce today is
filled with people from many different leadership styles.
Kaifi explains how using multiple frames to evaluate an
organization will help a transformational leader under-
stand complex issues within an organization and will
result in continuous improvements [13]. As such, “ad-
ministrators must be managers of diverse interests” and
“this necessity grows out of the relativity of values and
the pluralization of society” [30]. Managers should pro-
vide a better understanding of their rules and policies
along with diversity education for all their employees
[31]. It is for certain that Afghans and Afghan-Americans
bring diverse views and perspectives with an orientation
toward transformational leadership into the workplace
which can help make them ethical and respected leaders
within their teams, departments, organizations, and com-
In all organizations, there is a high-demand for trans-
formational leaders because of organizational changes
due to technology, globalization, and competition. For
example, radiology departments throughout America
have implemented digital technology (digital images)
that has replaced the analog technology (x-rays). During
this organizational change, transformational leaders were
tasked with successfully implementing this new technol-
ogy which is why “organizations are quick to look for
leaders who are great communicators, visionary thinkers,
and who can also get things done and follow through”
[32]. It is important for a transformational leader to first
understand the organizational culture and gain the trust
of subordinates in order to effectively reframe, imple-
ment new strategies, and transform an organization to be
able to compete in today’s global economy.
A research study by Morhart, Herzog and Tomczak
suggests “that managers should make a paradigm shift
from a TRL [transactional leadership] to a TFL [trans-
formational leadership] philosophy” and go on to say,
“At first glance, specifying behavioral codices and
scripts for employees dealing with customers and then
monitoring and rewarding appropriate demeanor might
seem to be an easy solution for obtaining adequate per-
formance from employees representing the corporate
brand” [33]. They further mention that:
However, we found that a highly transactional style
was counterproductive in terms of followers’ motiva-
tional condition. Managers would do much better by
opening their minds to a TFL approach, which would
entail behaviors such as articulating a unifying brand
vision, acting as an appropriate role model by living the
brand values, giving followers freedom to individually
interpret their roles as brand representatives, and provid-
ing individualized support by acting as a coach and
mentor. This would allow followers to experience the
feelings of relatedness, autonomy, and competence in
their roles as brand representatives, which would ulti-
mately spill over into the commitment, authenticity, and
proactivity that characterize a real brand champion [33].
While transactional leadership styles might be appro-
priate for specific organizations and situations such as in
hospitals experiencing technological changes, this style is
usually effective only in the short-term and may not
serve a developmental objective. As such, transforma-
tional leadership is usually the best alternative for
long-term success in employee development situations
and when one is trying to inspire and motivate. Research
shows that “although employees were more likely to
have higher levels of power distance orientation in the
PRC [People’s Republic of China] than in the U.S., indi-
viduals in both countries reacted differently to transfor-
mational leadership on the basis of their individual power
distance orientation” and furthermore, “irrespective of
country-level cultural variation, transformational leader-
ship is especially important for managers whose em-
ployees have a low power distance orientation” [8]. A
different study explains that, “to be effective, transfor-
mational leaders must develop high quality leader-fol-
lower relationships, both LMX [Leader-Member Ex-
change] and interactional justice, with followers. In this
sense, leaders must treat followers with kindness and
fairness, develop meaningful social exchange relation-
ships (e.g., trust, professional respect) with them, and
maintain equitable exchanges with them” [34]. Justice,
fairness and good ethical values are important for all
leaders, regardless of their cultural orientation. In a
highly just and ethical environment, employees will be
more committed and motivate d to do what is right for the
company and their customers. Fisher explains that
“Transformational leadership goes beyond the idea that
workers are motivated by rewards and punishments by
considering other motivators for effective performance”
[35]. Transformational leaders must also create an or-
ganizational culture where people feel free to think, dis-
cuss and express their new ideas. Furthermore, in such an
Transformational Leadership of Afghans and Americans: A Study of Culture, Age and Gender
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSSM
Managers need to be mindful that selecting employees
on the basis of their learning orientation alone will not
guarantee creativity. It is building the creative self-
efficacy of their employees that will provide the facili-
tating conditions for the learning orientation to take hold
and bring forth creativity. Managers can be instrumental
here in terms of providing an environment that stimulates
and nourishes creative self-efficacy, through, for exam-
ple, applying transformational leadership principles [36].
The 21st century requires tr ansformational leaders who
are able to help organizations thrive, continuously im-
prove, and accomplish its goals.
8. Limitations of the Study
There are some limitations to this study and one is the
modified MLQ 5X-Short (Multifactor Leadership Ques-
tionnaire) survey used for this research. This short survey
can be combined with other more comprehensive instru-
ments to enhance and confirm the results. Future studies
can duplicate the research with a greater number of Af-
ghan participants that are compared to other ethnicities.
The fact that this study was conducted with a convenient
sample population, living in urban areas and included
expatriate Afghans living outside of Afghanistan, was a
further limitation. This point is particularly important for
the Afghan respondents, who consequently, may have
become more “westernized” as a result of living and
working in foreign locations. Future studies might con-
trol this variable by expanding the research population to
include respondents from within Afghanistan. Finally,
future researchers should consider translating the survey
instru men t in to Per sian and Pa sh to lan gu ag es so as to f ac ili-
tate the test subjects’ preferred and dominant reading skills.
9. Conclusions
This study focused on the Afghan and American popula-
tion to compare and better understand their transforma
tional leadership tendencies. The premise of the study
was to determine if Afghans and Americans have similar
transformational leadership scores and this study has
confirmed that their scores are significantly different in
regard to culture, age, and gender. From a cultural per-
spective, the results demonstrated that the Afghan re-
spondents scored in the high range and the Americans
scored in moderately high range for transformational
leadership orientation. From gender and age perspectives,
female and older American respondents had a signifi-
cantly higher transformationa l leadership orientation th an
their Afghan colleagues. Younger, as well as male, Af-
ghans had a significantly higher tendency toward a
transformational leadership orientation than their Ameri-
can counterparts.
It is important for transformational leaders to under-
stand the organizational culture, provide fair promotional
opportunities for both males and females, remain ethical
and expect high moral standards, respect people of all
ages, and gain the trust of subordinates in order to suc-
cessfully compete in today’s global economy.
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Transformational Leadership of Afghans and Americans: A Study of Culture, Age and Gender
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Appendix A
Transformational Leadership Survey
The modified MLQ (Multifactor Leadership Question-
naire) Form 5X-Short measures your leadership capabili-
ties based on different factors related to Transformational
leadership. To determine whether you are a transforma-
tional leader, circle one of the fo llowing options that best
describe how you see yourself (or the person that is being
evaluated) regarding each statement. For each statement,
you can indicate the degree to which you (or the person
being evaluated) engage (s) in the stated behavior. A rat-
ing of 1 means Never and a rating of 5 means Always
with the person demonstrating the specific behavior.
Questions Never……….Always
1. I express with a few simple words what we could and should do.
2. I provide appealing images about what we can do.
3. I help others find meaning in their work.
4. I enable others to think about old problems in new ways.
5. I provide others with new ways of looking at puzzling things.
6. I get others to rethink ideas that they had never questioned before.
7. I make others feel good to be around me.
8. I tell others the standards they have to know to carry out their work.
9. I call attention to what others can get for what they accomplish.
10. Others have complete faith in me.
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
Total Score: