Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Teresa Bounds


LMX, Leadership Style, Passive Leadership, Transactional Leadership, Transformational Leadership, Servant Leadership




Organizations deal with employee retention (e.g., retaining employees, stemming attrition, mitigating intent to leave an organization) in a number of ways. Examining the relationship one has with his/her manager, and the leadership style of one’s manager, are valuable factors in retaining employees. LMX (leader-member exchange) is the quality of relationship between leaders/managers and members/employees and is based on trust and reciprocity between parties. Passive leaders avoid management issues and only act when they have no other choices. Transactional leaders are exchange-based individuals that provide rewards (e.g., compensation) in exchange for work completed by employees. Transformational leaders go beyond this and view employees as individuals rather than organizational resources, often using motivation and charisma to accomplish organizational goals and objectives. Servant leadership looks at managers as servants first, and how serving others can contribute to positive job outcomes. This is evident in the social and human services industry where employees are considered key contacts for clients who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). This study looks at two social services organizations (SSOs) located in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Out of 185 employees, 128 were examined via survey instruments from tested studies such as LMX, four styles of leadership, and retention/turnover intention. Using a quantitative correlational approach, findings suggest that LMX has a moderate negative correlation with turnover intention, as LMX increases, intent to leave decreases; that passive leadership is detrimental to LMX; and that three forms of leadership style, transactional, transformational, and servant, positively impact LMX and, therefore, contribute to increased employee retention.

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