Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Synergistic supervision and the student affairs mid-level manager: A social exchange perspective
by Lane, Thomas, Ed.D., University of Missouri - Columbia, 2010, 150; 3488927
Abstract (Summary)

The researcher implemented quantitative research methods to investigate to what extent perceived synergistic supervision (Winston & Creamer, 1997) received by mid-level student affairs professionals was related to the professional’s perceptions of such social exchange (Blau, 1964) factors as the quality of the supervisory relationship and the professional’s perceived level of supervisor and organizational support. Additionally, the study examined the reliability of subscales developed by the researcher from thematic items in the Synergistic Supervision Scale (Saunders, Cooper, Winston, & Chernow, 2000). For this study, a random sample of mid-level student affairs professionals completed an on-line survey consisting of three existing instruments: the Synergistic Supervision Scale (Saunders et al., 2000), the LMX-7 (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995), and the eight-item version of the Survey of Perceived Organizational Support (Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison, & Sowa, 1986).

Data analysis revealed high reliability for the four synergistic supervision subscales of decision-making inclusiveness, exhibiting interest in employee’s personal/professional development, supervisor’s fair and equitable treatment of others, and exhibiting support for divisional work unit. Pearson correlations (r) showed a statistically significant, positive relationship between synergistic supervision and the social exchange factors of leader-member exchange (LMX), perceived supervisor support (PSS), and perceived organizational support (POS).

Multiple regression analyses found synergistic supervision to be predictive of LMX and PSS, with all four synergistic supervision subscales serving as significant predictors in the final regression model, and exhibiting interest in employee’s personal/professional development being the strongest predictor within the model. Decision-making inclusiveness and exhibiting support for divisional work unit formed a significant model for predicting POS. Backward deletion multiple regression also revealed LMX and PSS as significant predictors of synergistic supervision, with POS removed to improve the regression model. Additionally, LMX and PSS were significant predictors of decision-making inclusiveness, exhibiting interest in personal/professional development, and fair and equitable treatment of others. All three social exchange factors formed a significant model for predicting exhibiting support for divisional work unit.

The study’s findings have implications for both mid-level student affairs professionals and their supervisors by highlighting the importance for supervisors to develop a better understanding of the mid-level professional’s developmental needs and interests and for professionals to articulate needs and interests to supervisors. Additionally, student affairs professionals should engage in reflective conversation regarding developing skill sets necessary for synergistic supervisory relationships.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: MacGregor, Cynthia
School: University of Missouri - Columbia
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 73/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Educational leadership, Higher education
Keywords: Leader-member exchange, Mid-level professionals, Organizational support, Social exchange, Student affairs, Supervision
Publication Number: 3488927
ISBN: 978-1-267-05771-6
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