Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Robert E. Carlson

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa Scherer

Third Advisor

Dr. Randall A. Rose


This study explored the importance of transformational leadership in predicting the degree to which volunteer leaders achieve their goals at American Red Cross blood drives. This project expands the study of transformational leadership by analyzing its impact on a group not previously covered in the literature -- volunteer leaders and their followers. Volunteer leaders organize blood drives, and the success of these drives can be measured by comparing the total units of blood collected to the goal for the drive. Blood bank experts say behaviors of volunteer leaders significantly influence the success of the drive. Transformational leadership is a model that describes behaviors of certain types of leaders and predicts that leaders with these behaviors will influence followers to exert extra effort, be more satisfied and be more effective (Bass, 1985b). Transformational leadership characteristics are charisma, inspiration, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation. These are in contrast to transactional behaviors of contingent reward and management by exception and to non-leadership behavior. The transformational, transactional and non-leadership characteristics of volunteer leaders were measured using a Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Bass and Avolio, 1990). The results were related to results of the leaders' last three blood drives. It was predicted that (1) transformational scores resulting from the questionnaire responses would significantly predict success in achieving blood collection goals; (2) transformational scores would predict success in achieving blood collection goals to a significantly greater degree than would transactional scores; and (3) transformational scores would predict success to a significantly greater degree than would nonleadership scores. Partial support was found for the first hypothesis, with transformational leadership accounting for a small amount of variance in a hierarchical regression analysis. The second hypothesis was rejected when transactional leadership entered as most significant in predicting success. And partial support for the third hypothesis was found when transformational leadership was most significant when comparing it and non-leadership (although transformational leadership again accounted for a small amount of variance).


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1995, Deborah L. Breeling.

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