Employee Engagement and Leader Member Exchange: A Comparative Study of For-profit University Staff Members

Employee Engagement and Leader Member Exchange: A Comparative Study of For-profit University Staff Members

Author: 
Andrew L. Maus

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Program of study: 
D.B.A.
Abstract: 
The primary purpose of this quantitative non-experimental comparative study was to examine whether differences exist in the employee engagement of higher education employees based upon the perceived quality of employees’ leader-member exchange (LMX) interactions with their supervisors. The secondary purpose of this study was to identify if demographic variables moderated the effect on employee engagement together with LMX. This study was conducted at a for-profit higher education institution in the southwest United States. 458 online surveys were collected from frontline college staff members. Analysis of variance was used to discern differences in engagement levels between groups of employees based on their perceived LMX quality, and on demographic variables. The results showed that in all instances, LMX quality significantly affected the engagement levels of employees. On average, higher levels of LMX quality between leaders and employees corresponded with higher levels of engagement in those employees. Additional effects on employee engagement levels related to employee gender differences and employee education level differences. The results of this study may help to grow the field of knowledge on employee engagement based on perceived LMX quality in a population that had not yet been researched; for-profit higher education staff members. Implications and recommendation for leaders and for future research are also presented.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to my wife, Sonia. My partner, my love, my best friend. Sonia, you have pushed me to achieve things in my life that I would have never otherwise aspired to had you not been there with me. I want you to know that I owe all my successes entirely to you, and that I am forever grateful for your love, support, and encouragement. Thanks honey. Thanks for everything. This is for you. I love you.
Acknowledgements: 
I must acknowledge my dissertation chair and committee. Thank you Drs. Topchyan and D’Urso for the guidance and instruction you gave me on this journey. Without your direction, who knows where this project might have ended up. I would also like to give an extra-large acknowledgement to Dr. Paul Ward. Sir, you were with me from the beginning, and you have seen this research finally come to fruition. Thank you for not giving up on me, and thanks for all the direction and support you gave me along the way. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge and express my gratitude to the faculty and staff at School of Advanced Studies, University of Phoenix. You all are my colleagues and my friends, and this would not have been possible without your instruction and support. Thank you.