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Dissertation Abstract

An Exploration of the Relationship Between Moral Reasoning and Leadership Style of Athletic Team Coaches

Matthew T. Webb
June 2008

The purpose of this study was to examine the predictive relationship of moral reasoning ability upon leadership style. It was hypothesized that there is a positive relationship between moral reasoning ability (as demonstrated by justice, honesty, and responsibility) and transformational leadership (idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration). It was also hypothesized that there is a negative relationship between moral reasoning and transactional leadership (contingent reward and management by exception). A nonexperimental quantitative research design was utilized to test the hypotheses. The independent variables (justice, honesty, and responsibility) were measured using the Hahm–Beller Values Choice Inventory (HBVCI; Hahm, Beller, & Stoll, 1989), a self-report instrument specifically designed for measuring moral reasoning in the athletic context. The dependent variables (dimensions of both transformational and transactional leadership) were measured using the leader selfreport form of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ; Avolio & Bass, 1995). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses of data collected from 163 participants partially supported one of the eight hypotheses (honesty significantly predicts inspirational motivation) but did not support any of the remaining hypothesized relationships between the independent and dependent variables. Results indicated that for this sample group, moral reasoning ability of coaches is not predictive of leadership style. Suggestions are offered as to why the data did not support the majority of the hypothesized relationships. The implications of this study as well as the limitations of this study and recommendations for future research are presented.