Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate and Organizational Management

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Laura Hart

Second Advisor

Jennette Francis

Third Advisor

Eldon Bernstein

Abstract

The emergence of our borderless world has resulted in the nationwide intermingling of people of differing demographics and social cultural backgrounds, working together for the common good of organizations. This evolving growth in workforce diversity has resulted in an ever-increasing appearance of diverse work groups in almost every industry because history has shown that "none of us is as smart as all of us" working together (Blanchard & Bowles, 2001, p.111). Many organizations and institutions, including Fortune 500 companies, are utilizing work groups for various types of tasks and projects. Motorola, for example, has approximately 4,000 work groups operating in its facilities around the globe, and research has shown organization-wide cost saving benefits (Cohen & Bailey, 1997).

Collaborative performance and work group effectiveness are benefits of diverse work groups because the total group's contribution becomes more significant than individual efforts. Challenges in group dynamics, however, often require leadership to ensure the group's effectiveness and to guard against employees leaving their organizations. The literature is very explicit about the crucial role of leadership in ensuring that work groups are effective (Jung & Sosik, 2002; Waldman, Ramirez, House and Puranam, 2001; House, 1971; & Fielders, 1967). In spite of this, only a few researchers have focused on the concept of leadership style and its relationship to the collaborative efforts of work groups. (Duemer, L. S., et al., 2004).

Research has been conducted to explore the potential relationship between diverse work groups and business profitability performance. However, the literature has done little to study the influence of leadership on building working relationships with diverse work groups for effectiveness and the eliminating employees' intention to quit their employment, otherwise known as turnover intentions.

This research explored the potential relationship among Path-goal leadership styles, diverse work groups, work group effectiveness and turnover intention for 242 employees working for a manufacturing organization. Work groups have goals and someone has to take the lead to ensure the group is effective in meeting its goal. Invariably, work group will consist of people with differences because no two people are alike. In a work group the person who takes responsibility for leadership will have a special style that may impact the work group's effectiveness. There is no known research that addresses the combination of these variables: leadership styles, work group diversity, work group effectiveness and turnover intentions. This study combined the examination of these four variables to explore their potential relationships. Multiple regressions were conducted to test the six hypotheses in this study. One hypothesis was fully supported, four hypotheses were partially supported and one hypothesis was not supported. Limitations of the study regarding generalization and recommendations for future research to replicate the study are also included.

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