Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)




Ronald Black


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore whether manufacturing managers had the skills needed to lead union members whose unions have less influence than in the past. Leaders of manufacturing firms can strengthen the relationship between manufacturing managers and union members through positive and effective leadership. Providing union members with leadership can improve cooperation, reduce problem-solving time, and increase productivity through efficiency. The conceptual framework for this study was transformational leadership theory. Data collection involved conducting 20 semi structured interviews with participants affiliated with the United Auto Workers (UAW) in the Toledo, Ohio, area. The participants (9 manufacturing managers, 9 UAW members, and 2 management consultants) shared their views of how manufacturing managers apply leadership to affect individuals and organizations. Moustakas's 5-step process was used to identify themes and patterns. Analysis of the data revealed that younger managers are not providing leadership to union members and that the size of the facility directly affects the ability of manufacturing managers to apply leadership skills. These findings indicate that organizational leaders do not define leadership expectations well and that young managers may lack leader legitimacy. With insights from the study, manufacturing and union leaders may be able to improve managers' leadership of union employees, resulting, potentially, in a less adversarial work environment as well as an improved societal view of labor unions.