Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


John Kellmayer

Committee Member

Matthew Delaney


acquisition, culture integration, leader political skill, merger, organizational citizenship behavior, organizational culture


The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore how subordinates describe their leader’s political skill and their organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) during a merger in the airline industry in Arizona. This study aimed to provide further exploration on leader political skill relating to mergers in the airline industry and if leader political skill can positively influence merger outcomes by increasing subordinate OCB levels during a merger through the breadth of information provided by the participants of this study.

The study used a qualitative methodology with a descriptive design to capture the rich descriptions of how subordinates from a merged airline company in Arizona described their leader’s political skill and their own OCB during the merger. Due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the interview sessions took place virtually via WebEx. Each interview sessions were 60 – 90 minutes long and open-ended interview questions based on leader political skill and OCB instruments were used to capture the true essence in descriptions surrounding leader political skill and OCB.

The target population for this study were subordinates from a merged company in the airline industry in Arizona. The participants responded to research flyers posted in public areas such as nearby restaurants and shops. Of those who responded to the research flyers, 10 subjects were selected who met the criteria to participate in the research study. Due to the confidentiality and complex nature of mergers and acquisitions, the investigator of this study is committed to the protection of the subjects who volunteered to participate and has generalized the demographic information of the subjects.

The findings in this research study were able to link communication as a central pivotal skill for a leader during a merger to promote inclusion and understanding which were categories of a leader’s political skill. The findings in this study also associated communication as an essential skill to promote team building and encourage cooperation during the merger phase which positively influenced merger outcomes. And finally, through communication, leaders can build trust during mergers when uncertainty and doubt seem to be at their highest.

The potential limitations of this study are that the subjects of this research only included subordinates who were still with the merged company or were there through most of the merger process. In addition, the subjects who participated in this study were back-office employees in the project management, engineering, and analyst roles. Future studies should include front-line employees who served as gate agents, baggage handlers, flight attendants, and pilots.