Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

James Brown

Abstract

Leadership style affects the workforce and is one of many vital elements in business operations. Prior research suggests that leadership style can affect production outcomes and employee turnover ratios, yet scant evidence suggests the effect of leadership style on business thinking. This qualitative grounded theory study investigated the extent to which a leadership style known as LMX theory drives business thinking. The information gained from this study, including the effect on business thinking, may enhance how companies coach their leaders to interact with subordinates and improve production outcomes. Participants came from either private and public-sector companies or agencies. The sample consisted of 26 participants who were asked about their supervisor's leadership style and its effect on their business thinking. Business thinking for this study was thinking derived from business processes, meetings, and interactions between subordinates and managers. Constant comparison allowed for the development of codes about employee attitude and leadership. What emerged was a grounded theory, suggesting that leadership style can challenge business thinking, specifically, that leadership style may trigger subordinates to change their business thinking when exposed to adverse direction. Divergent responses showed that collaborative leaders had subordinates who were progressive and interactive due to nonjudgmental focus. Positive social change can occur from this study through its use by public and private sector supervisors. Supervisors can incorporate the use of leadership style to develop improved business thinking among employee populations.