Title: Transformational leadership style demonstrated by Sri Rama in Valmiki Ramayana

Authors: Balakrishnan A/L Muniapan

Addresses: Human Resource Management, School of Business, Curtin University of Technology, CDT 250, 98009 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia

Abstract: This paper explores the transformational leadership style demonstrated by Sri Rama in Valmiki Ramayana, which has transformed and continues to transform millions of Indians even today. According to Burns (1978), leadership occurs in one of the two ways: either transactional or transformational. Transactional leadership involves an exchange of valued things, based on current values and motivations of both leaders and followers. Transactional leaders emphasise the clarification of tasks, work standards, and outcomes. In contrast, Burns (1978) characterised transformational leadership as a process that motivates followers by appealing to higher ideals and moral values. Transformational leaders are able to define and articulate a vision for their organisation; society, country and their leadership style can transform their followers towards higher performance. The transformational leadership had long been demonstrated by Sri Rama thousands of years before the introduction and the development of transformational leadership model by Burns (1978) and later by Bass and Avolio (1994). This paper specifically explores and explains the transformational leadership style demonstrated by Sri Rama, which consists of four dimensions (4 Is), namely, Inspirational Motivation (IM), Idealised Influence (II), Intellectual Stimulation (IS) and Individualised Consideration (IC) as developed by Bass and Avolio (1994). This paper is based on the review of literatures on transformational leadership and a qualitative research methodology called hermeneutics, which is the interpretation of an ancient or a classical literature (Valmiki Ramayana). The author hopes that these lessons in leadership by Sri Rama will guide and inspire the leaders not only in the Indian context, but also universally.

Keywords: Indian leadership; transformational leadership; Valmiki Ramayana; Sri Rama; India; higher ideals; moral values; vision; inspirational motivation; idealised influence; intellectual stimulation; individualised consideration; hermeneutics; culture.

DOI: 10.1504/IJICBM.2007.014473

International Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management, 2007 Vol.1 No.1/2, pp.104 - 115

Published online: 10 Jul 2007 *

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