Date of Conferral







Robert DeYoung


Project managers can be change agents providing direction and motivation for subordinates to meet and exceed goals; however, there is a lack of information about the soft skills needed to achieve project success. Understanding the relationship between cognitive style and transformational leadership to software project outcomes is important. This study describes the lived experiences of software project managers by focusing on their attitudes towards, perceptions of, and behaviors related to using transformational leadership and cognitive styles in agile software development environments. Husserlian phenomenological design was used to identify the structure of participants' experiences. The naturalistic decision-making model and the theory of constraints were a framework for the study. Software project managers identified as transformational leaders were selected from government agencies and commercial companies. Prior to being interviewed, individuals completed the Cognitive Style Indicator. In-depth, semistructured interviews and member checking were used for data collection. Qualitative, phenomenological analysis was used to code the interview data and identify thematic response categories. Results indicated that transformational leaders possessing a planning or creating cognitive style stimulate an environment with an uplifting work atmosphere in which team members are fulfilled and product development outcomes are successful. The implications for positive social change include broadening project managers' leadership and decision making regarding overall project success and leading executives to reexamine the leadership and decision-making styles of their managers resulting in their organizations' prosperity, employee effectiveness, and cost containment.