Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Lee W. Lee

Abstract

Organizational environments continually change. Organizations that do not meet the demands for change do not survive. The required changes differ for banks versus universities, suggesting that leaders in each type of organization need to use unique styles to adapt to their unique environments. The purpose of this quantitative research study was to test a contingency theory of leadership that leaders of banks are change-oriented, whereas leaders of higher educational institutions are administrative in their style. The research questions dealt with differences in the uncertainty of internal operations and the external environment of banks versus universities, and the leadership style most appropriate for each type of organization. The research method was a cross-sectional, correlational, field study, with data collected by means of a tested, reliable, and valid standardized survey instrument. From the target population of 2,400 potential participants from three banks and three universities, 203 respondents completed an online survey. A series of t-tests confirmed most of the alternative hypotheses. Banks encountered a higher level of internal and external uncertainty and adopted more change-oriented leadership styles than universities. However, a hypothesis test failed to confirm the claim that administrative leadership style is more effective for universities. Findings of the study offer insights to university leaders about the importance of change-oriented leadership styles, which have the potential to engage staff more directly in the strategic changes required for organizational survival and success, thereby bringing about a higher level of individual, organizational, and social change.