Leaders face an unprecedented diversity in follower expectations and value systems as the workforce expands to four distinctly unique generations, ranging from Millennials to the Silent Generation. Rapid advances in technology have amplified the generational differences and increased the complexity of an increasingly disconnected workforce. Business sustainability and success depend upon a leader’s ability to cost-effectively deliver financial results, employee performance, and employee satisfaction given these mounting challenges. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to discover leadership practices proven effective in addressing the complexities of a technologically enabled, multi-generational workforce. Eighteen insurance industry senior executives were interviewed by phone using a semi-structured process consisting of nine open-ended questions, six on leadership practices and three on influencing factors. Transformational and authentic leadership were selected as the theoretical framework for reviewing the described practices. The study’s findings supported authentic leadership as the foundation for effective practices while indicating the need to incorporate select aspects of transformational leadership. By blending the two theories into an effective framework, the importance of having a more unified theory of leadership was also reinforced. The results of study were three-pronged: confirming generational differences as a critical consideration in defining effective leadership, blending authentic and transformational leadership theory into an integrated set of effective leadership practices, and highlighting technology as an integral leadership construct with significant influence on effective communication practices.
|Adviser||Phillip M. Randall|
|Subjects||Business administration; Management; Communication|
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