Individuals expected to offer leadership are often chosen based on their power position within the field of interest and specialization in the context area being addressed and not on their leadership style. Leadership education curriculum often focuses on change as a product of leadership and leadership styles but places little emphasis on how the leadership styles of those chosen to lead change can influence the change process. In order to inform the development of
curriculum targeting this aspect of leadership, research needs to be done to determine if leadership style impacts level of engagement in change. This research examined how transformational and transactional leadership styles impacted engagement in a national change process when 39 department chairs of universities across the United States were selected by the National Science Foundation to lead science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational reform at the undergraduate level. The findings revealed transformational leadership style positively predicted engagement in change and transactional leadership style negatively predicted engagement in change. While the small sample size makes the findings exploratory in nature and should be used with caution, they imply leadership education curriculum should include lessons on the impact these two styles have on engagement in change since there were
statistically significant differences.