Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Stephanie Hoon

Abstract

Senior leaders in state government public sector agencies must manage employee performance to ensure quality services to the citizens they serve. Limited academic research exists to study the barriers that these leaders acknowledge as deterrents to managing employee performance. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the reasons that public sector leaders at the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) were challenged to manage employee performance and explore the role of transformational leadership. The ODOT was selected for this research because two prior worker surveys conducted by the agency revealed that employee performance accountability was an issue of concern. Following the conceptual framework of transformational and full range leadership, the research question for this study examined the barriers that these leaders cited as deterrents to managing employee performance. Twelve leaders were interviewed using a 5-item, open-ended questionnaire. Data were analyzed using inductive coding techniques and examined against the full range leadership continuum. The results of the study revealed nine barriers that leaders cited as deterrents to managing employee performance. The most frequently occurring included subordinates' self-preservation interests, market pay disparity, employee low motivation levels, and ineffective leadership training. The study concluded the role of transformational leadership was minimal, as leaders identified mostly with transactional characteristics. These findings may assist public leaders to improve performance management outcomes and possibly increase the quality of services to citizens.