Party Leadership Styles in Eastern Europe: Transactional or Transformational?

Party Leadership Styles in Eastern Europe: Transactional or Transformational?

Funder: The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland

Dates: March 2018 - December 2018.

Investigator: Dr Sergiu Gherghina

Funding Amount: £8,530


Party leaders become increasingly important in contemporary societies. Their functions and actions are not limited only to their parties, but have major implications for politics and society in general. While many political scientists argued that the style of leadership lies at the core of leaders’ behaviours, most arguments were built on the examination of singular leaders or isolated cases. So far, little comparative analysis has been conducted to identify leadership styles, to measure them or to explain the differences between styles. This project addresses these shortcomings and proposes a measurement of party leadership styles on a continuum that ranges from leaders oriented towards immediate gains (transactional) to leaders focusing on building a solid organisation (transformational). This measurement is done through the perceptions of those who are often in touch with those leaders and who have access to information that is sometimes unavailable to the broader public: the party members. Their assessment is weighed against the opinion of party experts and forms the basis of a better understanding of differences in leadership styles. This project also seeks to explain these differences by looking at leaders’ traits, available instruments and context factors. It focuses on the party leaders in three new European democracies (Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania) between 2004 and 2018.