Thumb-driven leadership (TDL): An examination of leadership reliance on thumb-driven communication and the potential dynamics on the leader-member exchange relationship

by Bressler, Stephen, Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2011, 232 pages; 3473530


The use of mobile handheld technology devices for communications has permeated every facet of social life and is now embedded into the workplace as well. How leadership use of this device as a primary means of communication with members will impact the leader-member exchange (LMX) relationship is explored in this study. The data collected from 337 leaders of a Fortune 500 company provides evidence that leadership effectiveness in the context of the LMX relationship is ineffectual when it is performed primarily via thumb-driven technology-mediated devices. Leaders must be fully present during interactions with members and must communicate face-to-face with their members in order to build relationships and have effective interactions that lead to organizational success. This study contributes additional understanding to the LMX body of work by combining LMX relationships and communication methodology. While previous studies in LMX have shown that member commitment to the organization hinged on the behavior and effectiveness of the leader, those studies had not considered how the behavior regarding technology-mediated communication style/method employed by the leader entered the commitment equation. This dissertation study revealed that the method used by the leader to communicate with members (face-to-face vs. electronic means) is a major factor in how much effort the member is willing to expend on behalf of the organization, and on the members commitment, loyalty, and decision to stay and/or advance within the organization.

AdviserJohnny L. Morris
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Communication
Publication Number3473530

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