Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Reginald C. Doctor

Abstract

A leader's unwillingness to delegate critical decision-making authority to subordinate managers and employees negatively impacts the performance of a firm. There is a lack of research that measures a leader's willingness to delegate critical decision-making authority to subordinate managers and employees based on their individual risk propensities. The purpose of this study was to provide empirical evidence of the influence risk propensity has on a leader's willingness to delegate critical decision-making authority. Specifically, this study examined the extent that risk propensity of leaders affect delegating critical decision making authority to subordinate managers and employees. The research design was a quantitative cross-sectional, correlation study that involved 56 questions. The study participants (N = 102) were presidents, CEOs, corporate executives, and chairpersons. The Stimulating-Instrumental Risk Inventory measured risk propensity and the Delegation Decision Instrument measured the willingness delegate critical decision-making authority. Both instruments showed to be reliable in terms of internal consistency for the measurement tests. Survey results revealed a significant negative correlation between a leader's risk propensity and the willingness to delegate critical decision-making authority. These findings suggested that leaders who retain primary responsibility for critical decision making have high risk propensity while those who delegate decisions have less risk propensity. These findings may equip theorists of risk propensity and decision-making on the relationship between delegation behaviors, risk propensity, and organizational performance. This research and the resulting analysis provides decision makers a window into their individual risk propensity preferences.