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Dissertation Abstract

Leadership Styles and Conflict Management Styles: An Exploratory Study

Angelia Denise Stanley
Regent University

This dissertation has explored the relationship between leadership styles and conflict management styles. A review of the literature validates distinctions among leadership styles that can be measured by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). Furthermore, the literature unequivocally reveals that different conflict management styles exist and can be assessed using the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). The literature implies, but does not explicitly state, that a relationship may exist between leadership styles and conflict management styles. Data were collected from 99 leaders who completed the MLQ and the TKI. Each leader received a score on Transactional Leadership, a score on Transformational Leadership, and a score on Laissez-faire Leadership. This study used the scores on the leadership styles as measures of the “degree” (or intensity) of Transactional Leadership, the “degree” of Transformational Leadership, and the “degree” of Laissez-faire Leadership that each leader exhibits. This study used TKI scores as measures: of the extent to which a leader is Competing, the extent to which a leader is Collaborating, the extent to which a leader is Compromising, the extent to which a leader is Avoiding, and the extent to which a leader is Accommodating. Canonical correlation analysis shows that no statistically significant relationship exists between the set of leadership styles (as assessed by the MLQ) and the set of conflict management styles (as assessed by the TKI). In all tests the data fail to reject the null hypothesis that the set of MLQ scores is not related to the set of TKI scores. Although none of the bivariate correlations between the three MLQ scores and the five TKI scores are statistically significant, some correlations among the MLQ variables are statistically significant. For example, Laissez-faire Leadership and Transformational Leadership are negatively correlated and the correlation is significantly different from zero. Generally speaking, this means that those with high (low) scores on Laissez-faire Leadership have low (high) scores on Transformational Leadership. Future research on leadership styles will be needed to explore the implications of the current study and to corroborate any implied relationship that may exist between leadership styles and conflict management styles.