Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring the Leadership Preferences of Millennials through the Lens of Leader-member Exchange Theory
by Caruso, Deborah, Ed.D., University of La Verne, 2018, 173; 10788941
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose: The purpose of this mixed method phenomenological study was to explore and understand the leadership preferences of millennial employees in the public sector. Leadership preferences were generally defined as the traits and behaviors supervisors possess that millennials favor in the workplace. The study was designed to explore the beliefs, attitudes, and needs current public sector millennial employees have about their supervisor or leader.

Methodology: The subjects in this study were 50 millennial employees in the human resources department of a public-sector agency in Los Angeles County, California. Subjects responded to two research instruments: (1) a 7-item survey, the LMX7 Questionnaire, utilized to examine the quality of exchange between a leader and subordinate; and (2) a 20-item survey, Kelley’s Followership Questionnaire, utilized to measure independent critical thinking and active engagement. Eight employees were selected and responded to an interview that utilized 11 semi-structured questions to assess subjects’ individual experiences of public sector millennial employees.

Findings: Examination of quantitative and qualitative data from the respondents indicated that, despite their apparent similarities, millennial employees in the public sector are unique. Second, an examination of the same data indicated that, while the benefits and stability of the public sector initially attracted millennials, the opportunity to work in an innovative department with a supervisor who acted as a change agent and listened to their ideas while providing feedback was important to them.

Conclusions and Recommendations: If the public sector is to attract, motivate, and retain millennials, leaders must adopt a positive and open attitude toward this generational group while ensuring an innovative and engaging environment. Millennials, accused of being disloyal to organizations, were more likely to remain in their public- sector positions if they felt valued. This study could be replicated longitudinally to explore the attitudes and beliefs of millennials as they age or enter another life or career stage to determine if changes could be attributed to age or life or career stage rather than tied to their specific generation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Giese, Richard
Commitee: De Long, Linda, Murillo, Rose L.
School: University of La Verne
Department: LaFetra College of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management, Public administration, Organization Theory
Keywords: Government, Leader member exchange theory, Leadership, Millennials, Public sector, Succession
Publication Number: 10788941
ISBN: 978-0-438-37574-1
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