Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

David Mohr

Abstract

Organizational effectiveness is related to both effective leadership styles and to having leaders with secure attachment styles. Transformational and charismatic leaders often have secure attachment styles. However, the relationships between insecure attachment styles and leadership styles remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to examine whether insecure attachment in leaders (fearful, preoccupied, and dismissing attachment styles) is related to transformational, charismatic, transactional, and laissez faire leadership. A quantitative, non experimental approach was taken in this study. Participants included those in leadership positions (college deans, chairpersons, and provosts) (n = 18) and instructors (subordinates) (n = 36) from local community colleges and universities. Attachment style was measured using the Relationship Questionnaire, and leadership behavior was measured using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire and the Servant Leadership Questionnaire. As expected, transformational and charismatic leadership styles were significantly correlated with secure attachment style, and charismatic leadership was negatively correlated with fearful attachment. Dismissing attachment style was significantly positively correlated with laissez faire leadership. Attachment styles also significantly predicted charismatic and laissez-faire leadership styles. The results of this study may help organizations as they make hiring and training decisions. If organizations can hire leaders with certain attachment styles or train existing leaders to exhibit traits of securely attached leaders (i.e. trustworthiness and dependability), then subordinates and organizations as a whole may benefit.