An exploratory investigation of the relationship between unhealthy organizational environmental factors and self preservation in leadership

by Bojeun, Mark C., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2012, 149 pages; 3527682


Organizations form a unique culture and environment that can be either positive or negative. This study investigated the effect that a negative environment, described in this study as organizational toxicity, can have on transformational leaders and the attributes that are most characteristic of this leadership style. Bass (1992) points out that the transformational leader tends to be more tolerant of innovative risk-taking, demonstrates altruistic behavior patterns which are focused on the success of the organization, the teams they lead, and overall job satisfaction. However, a negative organizational environment may have a tendency to decrease transformational attributes in leadership, increase job dissatisfaction and to decrease overall performance and morale in the employees who work in these environments. Many organizations have attempted to improve the culture and decrease the toxicity of their organization by hiring individuals who have demonstrated transformational leadership skills. By studying the impact that organizational toxicity has on transformational leaders a better understanding of the impact that a transformational leader may have on the culture of the firm and the impact on overall efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. For this study an initial set of hypotheses proposed that a more toxic organization would have a negative impact on a transformational leader's behavior patterns as it may have related to innovation, risk tolerance, job satisfaction and altruistic behavior. However, only one of the three hypotheses was statistically supported in order to justify rejecting the null hypothesis. For the group of participants who qualified as transformational leaders for this study, innovation appears to be significantly correlated with organizational toxicity while risk tolerance and altruistic behaviors had no statistically significant correlation with the measures of toxicity. Therefore, for the fifty participants who qualified as transformational leaders, there was no indication that toxicity impacted their transformational attributes in a negative direction.

AdviserJohn Whitlock
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Occupational psychology; Organization theory; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3527682

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