Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Ronald Riggio

Reader 2

Sarah Smith Orr

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Rights Information

© 2014 Tawney A. Hughes


The purpose of this thesis is to determine the importance of transformational leadership in the social sector. Transformational leadership is a theory of behaviors and attributes focused on the relationship between leaders and followers of a group or organization (Avolio, 1999; Bass & Avolio, 1990a). It involves four factors: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.

In order to gain more insight into leadership in some of the most high-impact and innovative social sector organizations, the research consists of interviews and case studies on five of the ten recipients of the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership. Having been internationally recognized for bold, visionary leadership, the recipients of the Kravis Prize in Leadership demonstrate the skills and practices deemed integral to the individual, team, and organizational success.

The research focused on the behaviors, quotes, and publications that alluded to the inherent factors of transformational leadership within the organizations and their leaders from Landesa, INJAZ, Right To Play, Escuela Nueva, and mothers2mothers.

The findings revealed a great deal of transformational leadership weaved throughout the behaviors and principles of the organization’s leaders and followers alike. Organizations like INJAZ and its Executive Director, Soraya Salti, personified transformational leadership, displaying numerous examples of behaviors from each of the four components (idealized influence, inspirational motivation, individualized consideration, and intellectual stimulation). Each individual studied personified several, if not all components of transformational leadership. In conclusion of the research and case studies of some of the worlds most high impact organizations, it can be summarized that transformational leadership is an effective strategy to employ in the social sector and is one of the most prevalent common threads amongst high impact nonprofit organizations.