Leadership behavior may play an important role in meeting cultural challenges and achieving the superior performance and customer satisfaction required to earn preferred supplier designation from an aerospace prime contractor. Preferred supplier programs emerged from theories about total quality and the effect of quality on delivery and continuous improvement performance. Preferred supplier level is used as a proxy for customer satisfaction to compare leadership styles of preferred aerospace suppliers and 2004 normative sample data for 4,376 firms reported by Avolio and Bass (2004). Other variables considered include sales volume, leader gender, line of business, and customer served. Three key findings emerged. First, preferred supplier leaders reported more transformational and active management behaviors, and less passive behaviors than leaders from the normative sample. Second, women are more likely to lead smaller firms. Finally, larger firms are more likely to be in the top supplier tier than smaller firms. Recommendations and further research questions are presented.
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