2017 Dissertations – Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Program

The final requirement for School of Business & Leadership Ph.D. students is the scholarly research dissertation. To access full-text versions of these dissertations, please contact your university’s library or UMI Dissertation Services. Regent students, staff and faculty may access full-text versions from the Regent University Library.

 

Evaluating Fry’s Spiritual Leadership Theory in Nigeria
Michael Adebiyi | 2017

Abstract
This quantitative research study examines the extent to which the spiritual leadership model previously evaluated by Fry, Vitucci, and Cedillo (2005) in the United States compares to a similar evaluation in Nigeria. Completion of this study in Nigeria, a culture differing from the United States on several cultural dimensions, further addresses the external validity of the spiritual leadership model. Fry et al. found strong support for spiritual leadership theory’s causal model and its measures in the United States with all standardized path coefficients in the hypothesized causal model positive and significant except for the relationship between calling/meaning and organizational commitment. Utilizing a sample of 252 employees from public, private, school system, military, oil and gas, and banking sectors in Nigeria, this study found that only 4 out of 12 of the path coefficients of spiritual leadership theory’s causal model in Nigeria are statistically significant. Interestingly, the relationship between calling/meaning and organizational commitment was found to be statistically significant in Nigeria. Organizational citizenship behavior was discovered not to be a possible outcome of spiritual leadership model in Nigeria. Implications of the study findings, research methodologies, limitations of the study, and recommendations for future research were discussed.

 

Experiences of Pentecostal Leadership: A Phenomenological Study among Norwegian Pastors
Truls Åkerlund | 2017

Abstract
Despite the exceptional growth of Pentecostalism over the last century, little research has been done on the nature of Pentecostal leadership. This study offers a better understanding of the essential characteristics of the phenomenon through a phenomenological analysis of the lived leadership experience of Norwegian Pentecostal pastors. Utilizing Giorgi’s (2009) descriptive phenomenological method based on Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, the study detected a general structure of Pentecostal leadership comprised of eight constituents: (a) motivated by a sense of higher, divine purpose—the leader’s motivation to lead comes from a deep sense of commitment to serve God’s plans and purposes for the congregation and the world; (b) derived leadership—pastors see their leadership as derived from God, implying that they lead on behalf of someone else; (c) human and divine agency in a seamless interaction between rationality and spirituality—the idea of being led by God liberates rather than limits the leader to proactively engage in organizational matters, and the Pentecostal belief that God is active in every aspect of life frees him to seamlessly combine spirituality and rationality in leading the organization; (d) pragmatic and eclectic stance towards the Pentecostal tradition—the leader draws on the Pentecostal tradition in eclectic and often unsystematic ways and approaches Pentecostal spirituality as a dynamic reservoir, something to be defined as much as defining; (e) persuasive communication—in setting the direction for the Pentecostal congregation, the leader relies more on persuasion than position, making verbal communication an important means of influence; (f) dialectic relationship between structure and agency—organizational structures simultaneously enable and constrain leadership agency, meaning that the leader’s ability to influence the organization depends on his ability to adapt to the organization; (g) adaptive to context—Pentecostal leadership considers and adapts to the sociocultural context in which it is situated; and (h) involving the leader’s entire life—the leader leads the Pentecostal organization with his life, having modeling as a prime source of influence. The findings’ implications for theory and practice are considered, as are comparisons with organizational leadership theory and suggestions for further research.

 

The Dysfunction Junction: The Impact of Toxic Leadership on Follower Effectiveness 
Richard Mark | 2017

Abstract
This study examined the effect of toxic leadership, as moderated by leader–member exchange (LMX), on a follower’s active engagement (AE) and independent, critical thinking (ICT). Schmidt’s (2008) toxic leadership theory describes the five dimensions of toxic leadership as abusive supervision, authoritarian leadership, narcissism, unpredictability, and self-promotion. LMX theory (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995) describes the dyadic relationship between leaders and followers with some followers forming the leader’s in group while others form the leader’s out group. Followership theory describes the role of followers and following in the leadership process, and Kelley (1992) described how follower style occurs based on the two behavioral dimensions of AE and ICT. Ten hypotheses considered the direct effects of the five dimensions of toxic leadership on the two follower behavior dimensions, and 10 hypotheses considered the moderating effect of LMX. A survey method was employed utilizing Schmidt’s (2014) Toxic Leadership Scale, the LMX-7 (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995), and Kelley’s (1992) Followership Styles Questionnaire. Data were collected from 203 nontraditional graduate students with professional work experience in diverse career sectors. Hierarchical multiple regression techniques were used to test the 20 hypotheses. The regression analysis indicated the self-promotion dimension of toxic leadership had a direct effect on the follower’s AE. Other direct effect hypotheses were unsupported. LMX had direct effects on both follower engagement and critical thinking, but no support was found for an interaction effect. Over 78% of the study’s participants indicated having experience as the follower of a toxic leader. The results of the study further the research related to both toxic leadership and followership, demonstrating the pervasiveness of toxic leadership in organizations and indicating the importance of LMX to the followership dimensions of AE and ICT.

 

The Relationship between Servant Leadership and Employee Engagement
Crystal M. Brown | 2017

Abstract
Currently, little is known about servant leadership and its relationship with meaningfulness, safety, and availability as it relates to Kahn’s (1990) definition of employee engagement. Furthermore, definitions of servant leadership have varied over the past 30 years, making it difficult to clarify what it means to be a servant leader. For servant leaders to ensure employees are fully engaged in the workplace and to see if a relationship between servant leadership and meaningfulness, safety, and availability exists, a field-based, survey design with multiple regression analyses was conducted controlling for gender. A convenience sample consisted of full-time employees at a financial cooperative in the Charleston, South Carolina, area. The research findings align with most of the minimal literature that exists with respect to servant leadership and employee engagement—meaningfulness, safety, and availability. When controlling for participant gender and leader’s gender, servant leadership has a significant positive relationship with meaningfulness and safety but not with availability.

 

Religion and Spirituality in the Workplace: A Quantitative Evaluation of Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment
Debra J. Dean | 2017

Abstract
Religion and spirituality were once considered taboo topics in the workplace; however, practitioners and scholars have been finding evidence of positive benefits to the triple bottom line—people, profit, and planet. Benefits include improvement in employee health, reduction of employee stress, more job involvement, increased job satisfaction, higher levels of organizational commitment, less organizational frustration, more organizational identification, and enhanced work unit performance. The first large-scale empirical study of religion and spirituality in the workplace revealed the urgency for organizations to “learn how to harness the whole person and the immense spiritual energy that is at the core of everyone . . . [or] they will not be able to produce world class products and service” (Mitroff & Denton, 1999, p. 84). Responding to the call to explore the two main instruments used to empirically test spirituality at work and contribute to the three most promising theoretical approaches to date, according to Benefiel, Fry, and Geigle (2014), this research used a quantitative, cross-sectional, field-based study to examine the relationships of religion and spirituality in the workplace to work outcomes of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The instruments used to measure six dimensions of workplace spirituality included the Spiritual Leadership Scale and the Spirituality at Work Scale. The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire short-form and Organizational Commitment Questionnaire evaluated work outcomes of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Additionally, the Religious Commitment Index and demographic questions examined the control variables of age, education, gender, income, meditation experience, religion, and years of work experience. The findings of this research indicate that altruistic love is worthy of attention with regard to job satisfaction and organizational commitment. In addition to altruistic love, sense of community and meaningful work were significantly predictive of job satisfaction; however, altruistic love clearly stood out as the most important variable.

 

Towards a Theory of Leadership for Human Flourishing in a Global Community: A Hermeneutic, Phenomenological, and Process Theory Exploration of the Leadership of Jesus in the Four Gospels
Edward W. Hatch | 2017

Abstract
Leadership as influence is at the root of most understandings of the phenomenon (Northouse, 2013; Yukl, 2006). Yet the myriad targets and means of influence at the individual, group/team, and social/collective levels give rise to competing values and theories of change (Cameron & Quinn, 2011; J. D. Hunter, 2006; Richter, 2011). There is, however, one common denominator of leadership change–influence that can focus all theories of change and strategies of hope. This one denominator is evident in the leadership of the life of the founder and followers of perhaps the most successful global movement the world has ever seen. Hoksbergen, Curry, and Kuperus (2009) claimed, “No question is more important for our time than what brings about human flourishing in a global community” (p. 11). Then-United Nations Secretary General Ban (2008) said the real global crisis was not a crisis of intractable problems but a crisis of global leadership. To bridge that gap, this study examined the leadership of Jesus of Nazareth in first-century Palestine with a view to developing a theory of leadership for human flourishing in global community. A comprehensive research methodology was crafted from the fields of phenomenology, process theory, and biblical hermeneutics and applied to the narrative texts of the four Christian Gospels. A three-dimensional leadership theory emerged from this study of the life work of Jesus. Following Ricouer’s (1976) phenomenological approach, three passes were made through the Gospels data set. Over 1,100 initially coded themes and patterns were synthesized through examination of recorded events as the central unit of qualitative analysis. Eleven core themes emerged leading to three macrocategories that, upon further study, became the three major leadership dimensions of the proposed theory. With an eye to theory building from the start, Whetten’s (2002) modeling as theory building methodology and the filtering questions of “‘what’s’-as-constructs” (p. 51) and “‘how’s’-as-relationships” (p. 55) further clarified the three leadership dimensions of people, process, and place as central to Jesus’ leadership and human flourishing in a global community. Pike’s (1982) tagmemic linguistic theory helped crystalize understanding of how the same things can be understood from different perspectives as particle, wave, and field. This study concluded by presenting and explicating the middle range theory called three-dimensional leadership theory. Support for the proposed theory was found in contemporary organizational leadership and philosophical and scholarly research leading to 11 supporting propositions. This study contributes to the field of leadership research by offering the first-ever leadership theory premised on the life of Jesus, who is generally accepted as one of the world’s greatest leaders (Lowney, 2003; Stark, 1997, 2006; Willard, 1997). This research also bridges a gap in biblical study by offering a blended methodology that allows other tools to combine with traditional hermeneutics of the narrative text to elicit process. Three-dimensional leadership theory is generalizable to contexts in the global community where leadership is required to raise people to new levels of flourishing, wholeness, and fruitfulness for their own good and the good of others.

 

How Ecclesiological Values Influence Leadership Construction and Leader-Follower Alignment: A Heuristic Inquiry
John Thomas Moxen | 2017

Abstract
This research sought to determine whether ecclesiological values influenced leadership construction and leader–follower alignment within an ecclesial setting. The study was a heuristic inquiry, which calls for in-depth interviews with individuals connected to a community as well as the insights that can be useful from the experience of the primary researcher. The interviewees were members of Church of the Holy Apostles—a local ecclesial community comprised of Episcopalian and Roman Catholic Christians in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Of the eight individuals selected by the two senior members of the church, seven elected to participate. The in-depth interviews sought to determine whether there are ecclesiological values that are held in common by the members. Four values were found to be most commonly held amongst the members, including a respect for tradition, a sense of urgency, humility, and unity. From the data compiled in the interviews, the researcher discovered that these values play an influential role in how the members at Holy Apostles understand leadership construction as well as how well they align with their various leaders. Future research ought to include the study of a similar ecclesial organization, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, interreligious organizations such as UNICEF, communities that experience the coexistence of citizens who follow different faiths, as well as nonreligious organizations.

 

Examining the Relationship of Follower Perceptions of Leaders’ Servant Leadership Behaviors to Leader Immunity to Corruption: Perspectives from Kenya
Nancy Nkirote Muriuki | 2017

Abstract
The philosophy of servant leadership differentiates servant leaders as those who put the well-being of those served in the larger society as their highest priority. Servant leadership behaviors are manifestations of inner-directed choices that compel one to want to serve first as opposed to leaders who may desire to exercise power and accumulate wealth through their leadership positions. This study employed a quantitative design to examine follower perceptions of the relationship between servant leadership and leader immunity to corruption expressed as corruption propensity. A structured questionnaire was distributed to 135 followers of leaders working in organizations within the city of Nairobi, Kenya. Furthermore, the inquiry sought to establish whether leader–member exchange (LMX) had a moderating effect on the relationship between followers’ perceptions of their leaders’ servant leadership and leader immunity to corruption. The results of the study confirm that a statistically significant relationship exists between followers’ perceptions of their leader’s servant leadership behaviors and leader immunity to corruption. However, the study found that LMX does not strongly influence the strength of the relationship between perceived servant leadership and leader immunity to corruption as a positive relationship was found only in two of the seven dimensions of servant leadership studied. The study proposes to advance the theory of leadership in general and servant leadership in particular in relation to enhancing the understanding of the role of leadership in curbing corruption in organizations in diverse contexts. Theoretical and practical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

 

Epistemic Motivation and Actively Open-Minded Thinking’s Impact on Innovative Behavior as Moderated by a Leader’s Tolerance for Disagreement within a Dental School Community
Wes Parham | 2017

Abstract
The rise of globalization has resulted in an organizational atmosphere that has been described as volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA; Horney, Pasmore, & O’Shea, 2010). The increasingly VUCA environment present in the 21st century has served as a catalyst for the emergence of the concept of innovation as a vital element of organizational success. Many scholars have argued that innovation is a key component of organizational success (Amabile, 1988; De Dreu, 2006; Hammond, Neff, Farr, Schwall, & Zhao, 2011), and “organizations benefit by knowing who is most likely to suggest and implement new ideas and what conditions best foster these processes” (Hammond et al., 2011, p. 99). However, despite the interest in innovative behavior, C. H. Wu, Parker, and De Jong (2014) argued that “to date, we know relatively little about how dispositional and contextual aspects might work together” (p. 1512). The current study utilized an interactionist approach to answer the questions of “who is most likely to suggest and implement new ideas and what conditions best foster these processes” (Hammond et al., 2011, p. 99) and examined both dispositional and contextual aspects. It also examined the cognitive dispositions of epistemic motivation and actively open-minded thinking and their impact on individual innovative behavior as a way to identify who is most likely to suggest and implement new ideas while also considering whether the contextual aspect of the leader’s tolerance for disagreement moderates the relationship between these two cognitive dispositions and innovative behavior. Six hypotheses were generated to test these relationships. The study findings support the idea that epistemic motivation and actively open-minded thinking are positively linked to individual innovative behavior but have mixed results on the role of a leader’s tolerance for disagreement as a moderator of this relationship.

 

The Influence of Authentic Leadership Dimensions on Organizational Commitment and Follower Job Performance of Romanian IT Workers: The Mediating Role of Trust
Ligia Petan | 2017

Abstract
Authentic leadership represents a values-based approach focused on the development of both leaders and followers (Avolio & Gardner, 2005; Gardner, Cogliser, Davis, & Dickens, 2011). Authentic leadership is characterized by self-awareness, relational transparency, internalized moral perspective, and balanced processing (Walumbwa, Avolio, Gardner, Wernsing, & Peterson, 2008). Through their examples, authentic leaders inspire followers to change (Avolio & Gardner, 2005). Authentic leadership has been previously linked to a series of positive organizational outcomes. The study of authentic leadership is relevant for the Romanian context, as the country has been struggling to minimize corruption at various institutional and organizational levels. The present study explored the influence of authentic leadership dimensions on organizational commitment and follower job performance directly and indirectly, via trust in supervisor, in a sample of Romanian information technology employees (N = 135). The results indicate that authentic leadership dimensions positively influence organizational commitment, and trust in supervisor partially mediates the positive influence of authentic leadership dimensions on organizational commitment. More specifically, self-awareness and internalized moral perspective were found to significantly influence employee organizational commitment. No significant relationship was found between authentic leadership dimensions and follower job performance. A discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of these findings along with limitations and recommendations for future research conclude the present endeavor. The research makes an important contribution to authentic leadership theory by exploring the influence of authentic leadership on organizational outcomes in Romania.

 

An Examination of the Role of Leadership Fatigue and Trauma in Ethical and Moral Leadership through a Sociorhetorical Analysis of 2 Samuel 11:1-27
Carlo A. Serrano | 2017

Abstract
This study examined the role of leadership fatigue in ethical and moral decision making through a sociorhetorical analysis of 2 Samuel 11:1-27. The study of ethical and moral leadership was drawn from the literature on ethical leadership as it relates to values-based leadership theories, such as servant leadership, authentic leadership, transformational leadership, and spiritual leadership. The research followed the exegetical methodologies outlined in the relevant textural layers of sociorhetorical analysis. The data were interpreted for principles connecting to ethical and moral leadership and leadership fatigue. The study results yielded four themes that we expanded to five principles for ethical and moral leadership and leadership fatigue as found in 2 Samuel 11:1-27. The results of the study demonstrate a connection between the presence of leadership fatigue and unethical and immoral decision making and behavior. The five themes summarize the findings of the sociorhetorical analysis and serve as a practical guideline for future leadership practice and research.

 

Japanese Young Adult Female Professional Elevation and Fertility
Noriyo Shoji-Schaffner | 2017

Abstract
In effort to reverse Japan’s declining fertility rate, researchers have contemplated the causal connection between gender equality, female labor participation, and female fertility. Since Japan’s economic recession began in the 1990s, coupled with globalization of finance- and production-based markets exerting neoliberal pressures on the Japanese employers to increase competitiveness by introducing market-oriented corporate strategies, the female workforce has undergone profound transitions as an increasing percentage of women has sought to establish long-term careers. However, the demographic evidence has indicated only one fourth of young adult women entering the workforce have remained on the long-term career track while the remaining three fourths of young adult women have dropped out of the workforce to pursue domestic responsibilities. For those young adult women who have chosen to remain in the workforce, the question has remained whether they are committed to pursue marriage and fulfill parenthood thus to prove the positive correlations between gender equality, female labor participation, and female fertility. This study applied a qualitative psychological phenomenology approach to discover the actual experiences of seven Japanese young adult female professionals as the representation of new female labor force creating new social identities through the mutual conditioning of work and family life structures. Through psychological phenomenological approach, consisting of content analysis of varied methods of interview findings, this study explored what motivates these young adult female professionals to identify with one fourth of young adult women in Japan who have chosen to stay on the long-term career track and how they reconfigure notions of committed relationships, marriage, and parenthood.

 

Leadership Style, Innovative Work Behavior, and the Mediating Effect of Innovation Climate on Individual Job Satisfaction and Team Effectiveness
Carl Preston Weaver Jr. | 2017

Abstract
Creativity and innovation are increasingly important to organizational success in a progressively more connected global economy that seeks the latest new idea or product. Research has supported several major influences on creativity and innovation such as leadership and certain contextual factors. While these factors appear important in supporting subordinate efforts at creativity and innovation, studies are limited on the relationship of leadership style to contextual factors and subsequently on organizational outcomes. Using interactionist theory as the foundation for the research, this study examined the direct and indirect effects of servant leadership on innovation climate, innovative work behavior, intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction, and team effectiveness at the individual level of analysis. The study used cross-sectional survey data from 131 participants across six industry sectors. The data were analyzed using multiple regression analysis to test both direct and mediated relationships. Results indicate servant leadership has a direct positive relationship to innovation climate and both servant leadership and innovation climate have a direct positive relationship to intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction and team effectiveness. There was no mediation effect for innovation climate and a small mediation effect for innovative work behavior on intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction and team effectiveness.