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Transformational Leadership in Norma Rae

  • Date Submitted: 10/28/2011 06:43 AM
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September 22, 2011 MGMT 299-01

Dissecting Transformational Leadership in Norma Rae

The film Norma Rae is a realistic portrayal of the sad, immoral, and oppressive working conditions that existed in the imminent life of mass production workers during the 1970’s. The film follows the progression of Norma Rae, an ordinary woman destined to be a complacent factory worker for generations to come into that of a transformational leader who brought about changes benefitting more than just a few. From a morose beginning, the movie traverses an extensive journey and leaves the audience with an inspiring encouragement to revolutionize one’s hostile environment into one of collective conquest. In the movie, this revolutionary muse is passed down from protagonist to protagonist, and finally, engrained into the viewer’s mentality, demonstrating the way transformational leadership enriches the lives of others by stimulating action within them.

Implicitly, the audience is set to view Norma Rae as a promiscuous, loud-mouthed, confrontational female. Norma Rae is a mother of two at the beginning of the film. One of her children is from a previous marriage and the other is from an extramarital affair on her behalf. As the movie begins she is in a relationship with a married man. The director chooses to set this negative persona of Norma Rae in the beginning to demonstrate how unlikely of a leader she seems to be. This image is then juxtaposed with the personal growth Norma Rae exhibits in her journey and how the audience views her at the end of the film. Norma Rae does not depict the existence of a great leader or someone who has a big following. In fact, Norma does not have any followers as seen from a conventional view. Yet, she succeeds and benefits many; depicting a radical and subtle style of leadership, all in one, highlighting “leadership is not about personality; it’s about behavior” (Kouzes and Posner, 36).

Like every working class mother of...


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