Date of Award

9-23-2014

Document Type

Thesis and Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

First Advisor

Lydia Kyei Blankson

Abstract

Leadership communication has many consequences: those that affect an organization and its outcomes, and those that affect the followers. In academia, one of the most important leadership roles is that of the departmental chairperson. Through her or his communication, the academic chairperson influences nearly every aspect of departmental life for faculty, including organizational climate. In fact, it can be argued that the chairperson helps both create and sustain the department climate for faculty.

One perspective of leadership and communication posits that leadership is enacted in the dyadic communication that occurs between the leader and the follower. According to Leader Member Exchange Theory, leaders fail to treat their followers (which it calls "members") equally, and this is enacted in their communication. "In-group" members experience more open and supportive communication from their leaders and thus have better personal and professional organizational experiences, while "out-group" members have less open and supportive communication from their leaders and thus have more negative personal and professional organizational experiences. One antecedent to in-group and out-group communication is similarity; in many cases, the more similar individuals are to one another, the more open their communication is.

Research in the business sector has determined that leader-member communication is related to perceptions of organizational climate. However, little research has been done in higher education to understand the relationship between chairperson-faculty communication and organizational climate, nor on the role of similarity in chairperson-faculty communication. Consequently, the current study sought to understand the relationship between demographic similarity, perceptions of in-group and out-group membership, and perceptions of department climate in chairperson-faculty relationships in higher education.

Faculty in communication departments from higher education institutions across the United States participated in the current study (n=410). An online, 66-item survey gathered information about faculty perceptions of their in-group or out-group status, their perceptions of their departmental climate, their chairperson's ethnicity, biological sex, and sexual orientation, and their own ethnicity, biological sex, and sexual orientation to answer four research questions: What is the nature of the relationship between faculty perceptions of department chairperson-faculty member communication exchanges and the department climate?; Do faculty perceptions differ significantly by biological sex?; Do faculty perceptions differ significantly by ethnicity?; Do faculty perceptions differ significantly by sexual orientation?

Statistical analysis of the data revealed a significant relationship between faculty perceptions of department chairperson-faculty member communication exchanges and the department climate. Faculty perceptions did not differ significantly by biological sex, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The results suggest a need for further research on the topic to understand the relationship between similarity, leader-member communication, and department climate.

Comments

Imported from ProQuest HallstenLyczak_ilstu_0092E_10363.pdf

Page Count

160

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