HCBE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship


Regina A. Greenwood

Committee Member

Michael Bendixen

Committee Member

Cynthia Ruppel


This research was designed to develop an understanding of today's multigenerational workforce with respect to a preferred styles or characteristics of followership and leadership. Specifically this research sought to determine if there was a relationship between an individual's generational cohort and the preferred styles of leadership and followership, as measured by implicit theories of leadership and followership. Therefore, this study draws upon generational theory (Mannheim, 1952), implicit theories of leadership (Epitropaki & Martin, 2004) and implicit theories of followership (Sy, 2010). The changes in the composition of the US workforce which have occurred, and which will continue to occur in the near future, make it appropriate and timely to jointly examine followership and leadership, particularly from a generational perspective. By examining the various US workforce generational cohorts, the potential exists to uncover additional insight that has been absent from the extant literature. The sample population consisted of Baby Boomer, Gen X and Millennial employees drawn from individuals working for an integrated delivery and financing system in the Northeastern US, as well as individuals recruited via social media (N = 249). The implicit leadership scale (Epitropaki & Martin, 2004) was utilized to measure participant's preferred characteristics of leaders. The implicit followership scale (Sy, 2010) was utilized to measure participant's preferred characteristics of followers. Data analysis was conducted utilizing principal components analysis (PCA) to determine the factor structures of both leadership and followership. A one-way ANOVA was conducted on the results of these factor analyses to test whether there were any differences which could be attributed to membership in a generational cohort. Cluster analysis was also conducted. The results indicated that generation does not significantly influence an individual's preferred characteristics of leaders or followers. Implications for theory, practice and further research are also discussed.

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