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Dissertation Abstract

An Empirical Study Comparing the Psychological Factors That Describe Agency and Stewardship Theories In Principal–Steward Relationships

Leonard J. Stevenson
Regent University

To date, the argument of stewardship as a management theory has not been thoroughly verified through documented empirical study. Therefore, this dissertation seeks to extend previous research conducted by Donaldson, Schoorman, and Davis (1997) by exploring in greater detail the relationships between agents and stewards in principal-steward relationships. This dissertation used a field-based survey research method sampling a population of 200 corporate executives. Surveys supporting the field-based research are the Self-Typing Paragraph Approach (James & Hatten, 1995), the Jones Self-Actualizing Scale (JSAS) (Jones, 1975), the Job Diagnostic Survey (Hackman & Oldham, 1976), and the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (Porter, Steers, Mowday, & Boulian, 1974). Conclusions derived from this research are that corporate executives who are likely to become stewards in principal-steward relationships operate at the highest levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, are motivated by intrinsic values, and possess both a close identification with and a higher level of commitment to their organization. Results from the field research are used to quantitatively support stewardship as a management theory.