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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An investigation of story as a leadership influence tool to lead Millennials
by Savage, Randy D., Ed.D., Indiana Wesleyan University, 2012, 156; 3509837
Abstract (Summary)

The Millennial generation born between 1980 and 2000 comprises the largest generation, to date 81 to 95 million members. This number surpasses the Boomer generation, historically the largest generation of record: 78 million members. As the Millennial generation takes its place in organizations, leaders face the quandary of how to lead this unique generation. This study explored whether the Millennial generation perceives the use of story as a leadership tool. Contemporary literature suggests that story is a leadership tool used across generations and promotes it as an effective leadership tool. Current literature also focuses on the attributes of the Millennial generation but does not address whether it perceives story as a leadership tool. The Millennial generation desires a more open communication process and is inclined to seek direction from leaders in a more informal manner. Exploring the perception of Millennials about the use of story was the basis of this inquiry. The literature revealed four utilization areas: story as a leadership tool creates open and free communication, story as a leadership tool to create identification by way of self-disclosure, story as a leadership tool creates shared vision, and story as a leadership tool encourages knowledge transfer. This quantitative study looked at storytelling about a leader's experiences, personal anecdotes, and true-life narratives to see how Millennials perceive those situations. A researcher-developed questionnaire gathered the data surrounding those key areas by approaching graduating seniors from a United States Mid-western liberal arts university. This quantitative research compared the questionnaire responses of the Millennial generation, soon to be entering the work force, to the responses of non-Millennial generation workers from the Boomer generation and Generation X. The findings revealed that the difference between Millennial and non-Millennial perceptions of story as a leadership tool was not statistically significant. Bennis and Thomas' (2007)claim that the use of story or narrative is valid across generations is supported by this study, though their study did not include the Millennial generation. The results of this study also support Denning's (2007) supposition about story as a leadership tool. Additional written responses from both groups analyzed using ATLAS.ti 6 revealed that both groups were similar in their responses to open communication and authenticity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Drury, Sharon
Commitee: Johnson, John, Ludden, LaVerne L.
School: Indiana Wesleyan University
Department: Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management
Keywords: Communication process, Leadership, Millennial Generation, Questionnaire, Storytelling
Publication Number: 3509837
ISBN: 978-1-267-36754-9
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