Date of Conferral







Michelle T. Ross


Researchers suggest that individuals in Corporate America have stereotypes about the ways in which men and women lead. They also have found that a leader's style and gender can impact employees' job satisfaction, performance, and engagement. However, researchers have provided little empirical evidence about the specific relationship of leadership style and gender on employee motivation. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the effects of leadership style, as measured by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), and a leader's gender on employee motivation, as measured by the Work Preference Inventory (WPI). Because it was assumed that small organizations would elicit higher participation, individuals employed at organizations with fewer than 100 employees were surveyed. After being asked about the gender and specific characteristics of their leaders, participants were asked about their level of motivation via the WPI. A 2x3 ANOVA was performed to determine the main effects of a leader's gender and leadership style on level of employee motivation. Findings revealed that although gender and leadership style do not significantly impact motivation, laissez-faire leadership style is more likely to positively influence motivation when compared to transformational or transactional leadership style. Though statistically insignificant, these findings contribute to the understanding of the relationship of gender, leadership, and employee motivation, an ongoing topic of concern. Social implications of this study include dispelling some of the gender stereotypes distributed by Corporate America. Essentially, effective leadership is not about which gender leads best, but more about deploying leadership skills that will contribute to employee success.