Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership with a Global Perspective

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

William Leary

Second Advisor

Carole Warshaw

Third Advisor

James Kauffman

Abstract

Global business initiatives, increasingly diverse populations, and permeable geographical boundaries have catapulted interest in studying the impact of these events on multi-national companies, and to a lesser degree, small businesses along the South Texas and Mexican border. The enactment of the North American Free Trade Act agreement that exists between Mexico, Canada, and the United States amplifies these issues. Consequently, companies may face a changing business landscape. However, one constant factor is the owner. This dissertation investigated South Texas and northern Mexico small business owners' leadership behaviors and personal values. First, this study represents an attempt to ascertain similarities and differences between their application of transformational and transactional leadership behaviors. Second, the study focused on identifying values these leaders considered essential to portray and deemed important for their employees to emulate. Bass and Avolio's full-range, sixfactor leadership model, and Schwartz's Values theories served as templates for organizing and understanding the theoretical foundation for this qualitative study. This phenomenological study utilized a purposeful, non-random sample consisting of five South Texas and five Mexican small business owners. Data collection methods included collection of Multifactor Leadership (MLQ) and Schwartz's Values inventory results, thick descriptions based on questions linked to MLQ six-factors derived from personal interviews, research observations, and written field notes.

Data was analyzed at three levels: Per individual cases, within-cases, and across-case investigation of both samples. Study findings specified a clear preference for demonstrating the transactional factors, contingent reward, and management by exception-active by both samples. A recurring theme of using bonuses and incentive pay primarily as reward tools (contingent reward) also emerged in both samples. Honesty and responsibility items linked to the motivational value type benevolence, surfaced as very important values across both sample groups for both leaders and employees to demonstrate. A key difference was that the northern Mexican respondents demonstrated behavioral factors encouraging employee development in preparation for future growth, as opposed to South Texas respondents who trained and coached employees for their current job skill deficiencies. Further research is recommended to include collecting interview and inventory data from others who routinely interact with the business owner; data to determine the impact transformational and transactional leader behaviors have on performance results, and the inclusion of female business owners. This study offers future researchers a framework to conduct additional research on the leadership practices of similar constituents.

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