Despite this desirability, the theory faces criticism from C.L. Graeff, who claims that there is conceptual ambiguity that limits the practical application of the theory’s prescriptive model. One such problem is the situational leadership theorist’s argument that a motivated person without ability is less mature than an unmotivated person with ability is, against which a number of logical arguments could be made (Graeff, 1983, p. 287). Situational leadership, which attempts to impose categorical classifications onto people and groups, often fails in empirical support as well. Task-relevant maturity suffers from conceptual ambiguity and thus offers little help in a real-life approach to solving management and leadership problems.
Escaping the kinds of theoretical problems with situation leadership, some theorists prefer to discuss a notion of “transformational leadership.” Transformational, in this case, refers to the idea that leadership should inspire and cause change in individuals as well as institutions. This notion of transformation first arose in 1978 with the writings of James MacGregor Burns, who defined the concept as “a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents” (Wren, 1995, p. 102). Defined in another way, transformation means not only instilling a new idea and motivation in one’s followers, but to empower them to become leaders (and proselytizers) themselves. In addition, leaders are turned into “moral agents,”.