The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between leadership practices and employee commitment but most importantly, examining the leader's practices to a specific generation of employees (GenX) and in a specific industry, the health insurance industry. There were 2 research questions asked in order to test the relationship between leadership practices and GenX employee organizational commitment: (1) What is the influence of perceived leadership practices on GenX employee's self-reported organizational commitment in the health insurance industry? (2) Is there a relationship between the demographic characteristics of education level, gender, job classification, and length of tenure of GenX employees and their self-reported organizational commitment to the health insurance industry?
The organizational commitment model developed by Mowday, Steers, and Porter (1979) was used in this study for establishing the self-reported organizational commitment levels of respondents. The Leadership Practices Model developed by Kouzes and Posner (1988), and their survey instrument called the "Leadership Practices Inventory: Observer" were used to test perceived leadership practices of health insurance leaders.
The significance of this study provides evidence to support the relationship between leader behavior and GenX employee commitment in the health insurance industry. Furthermore, it provides knowledge base research for leaders, but specially leaders in the health insurance industry to be able to provide effective leadership, in a way that enhances commitment among GenX employees, which are ultimately the employment pool of the future.
The respondents for this study were GenX employees and leaders of a health insurance company in Florida. There were 930 surveys distributed and 375 were completed providing a response rate of 40.3%. However, because this study was geared towards GenX employees, the total GenX respondents were 129, which provided a response rate of 34.4%.
The results indicated that there is a significant positive relationship between each of the 5 leadership practices (challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way and encouraging the heart) to the GenX employee's self-reported organizational commitment. Results, limitations and suggestions for future research are reported.