Dustin Bluhm, Journal of Vocational Behavior
 

 
 

 
Marion, E. B., Bluhm, D. J., Guarana, C., Avolio, B. J., Hannah, S. T.
Transformational leadership emphasizes achieving higher-order goals through communicating purpose and developing followers to transcend their own interests in support of the organization's. In this study, we examined the transformational leadership of U.S. Army unit leaders operating within the extreme context of combat to test a multi-level model. Our results show that transformational leadership had an indirect effect on reducing follower turnover intentions via increases in followers' on-the-job embeddedness.

Staying after the storm: How transformational leadership relates to follower turnover intentions in extreme contexts

While largely untested, theorizing concerning transformational leadership has suggested that its effects will vary depending on the extremity of the context in which this leadership style is exercised. Further, knowing how to retain employees after they are exposed to the stresses and trauma of extreme events remains a challenge for organizations to address. In this study, we examined the transformational leadership of U.S. Army unit leaders operating within the extreme context of combat to test a multi-level model. Our results show that transformational leadership had an indirect effect on reducing follower turnover intentions via increases in followers' on-the-job embeddedness. This effect was moderated by the unit's level of exposure to extreme events, such that transformational leadership reduced followers' turnover intentions via embeddedness only when the unit experienced a high degree of extreme context exposure. These results have implications for advancing theory related to both leadership and turnover, as well as for advancing the practice of leadership and retention of employees, particularly in extreme contexts.