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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An Interpretive Phenomenological Study of America's Emerging Workforce: Exploring Generation Z's Leadership Preferences
by McGaha, Kristina K., D.M., University of Phoenix, 2018, 185; 10974750
Abstract (Summary)

By 2030, almost every entry level role in the United States will be filled by a member of Generation Z (born after 1995). Researchers have noted an unclear understanding of the Generation Z perspective on leadership; despite Generation Z’s increasing presence in the workforce. This knowledge gap is detrimental to organizational viability and can negatively impact organizational performance and strategy. The purpose of this study was to identify the leadership preferences of Generation Z based on their lived experience in the workplace; and discuss to what extent Generation Z prefers a transactional or transformational leadership style. A theoretical frame that links generational identity (generational cohort theory) to leadership theory supports the exploration of these preferences phenomenologically and establishes the significance of generational leadership preferences on organizational performance. Semi-structured, open-ended interviews were conducted and analyzed using a modified version of interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA). IPA revealed six (6) emergent themes in the phenomenon under investigation (specifically Generation Z’s workplace experiences); the themes were described and their implications interpreted. The findings were validated using a relatively novel tool for phenomenology: freelisting (a cultural domain analysis tool). The findings describe Generation Z’s ideal leader and their introspective thoughts on their workplace identity and experiences. It was concluded that Generation Z tends to prefer transformational leadership more than transactional leadership, supported and predicted by the literature. Understanding Generation Z’s leadership preferences will provide insight on better methods for organizations to recruit, train, and develop employees. Such insights will also be beneficial to future Generation Z research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sturtevant, Karen
Commitee: Ashton, James, Weinbaum, Elisabeth
School: University of Phoenix
Department: Advanced Studies
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management, Organization Theory, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Generation z, Generational differences, Interpretive phenomenology, Leadership preferences, Leadership traits, Millennials
Publication Number: 10974750
ISBN: 978-0-438-58740-3
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