HCBE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship


Joseph Heinzman

Committee Member

Barry F. Barnes

Committee Member

Aysegul Timur


There is a common thread of leadership research that theorizes the dynamic between a leader's behavior and their followers is essential in encouraging employees to exceed expectations, thereby increasing organizational performance (Bass, 1985; Bennis & Thomas, 2002; Kouzes & Posner, 1987). Research indicates transformational leadership correlates well with organizational culture, but the number of empirical studies is few. Kouzes and Posner (2002) maintain that organizations create culture; therefore a leader's behavior can and does affect organizational performance. Schein (2004) maintains it is leadership's duty to step outside the organizational culture to initiate changes (by their behavior) when warranted.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between employee perceived leadership practices and organizational culture within the aerospace industry. The U.S. space shuttle operations prime contractor, United Space Alliance, was selected as the population for this research. This research addresses the current dilemma in NASA's manned spaceflight program and their contractors with regard to their future: Organizational and cultural change must occur or routine access to space for the United States will become obsolete (Bergin, 2007; Guthrie & Shayo, 2005; Mason, 2004). United Space Alliance provides a unique population within which to sample, as it is a joint venture LLC with employees of varying heritage companies and job occupations. Use of Kouzes and Posner's Leadership Practices Inventory-Other (LPI-O) and the Denison Organizational Culture Survey (DOCS) have not been performed in such an environment.

Web-based surveys collected data from the Manufacturing and Operations directorate (N = 1793). A total of 367 surveys were completed for an initial response rate of 20.47%. Both the LPI-O and DOCS raw mean scores were compared against published databases; only the Enabling Others to Act practice scored as a moderate impact. Customer focus scored the highest amongst cultural indices, with all three Mission indices ranking in the lowest percentiles. Regression analyses indicated neither leadership practices nor cultural traits explained any differences within respondents. Hierarchical regression revealed the five leadership practices accounted for 24% of the Total Culture variance. Pearson's Product-Moment correlation examined the strength of linear association between the variables. This study provided statistically significant (ñ < .05), weak to moderate positive correlation coefficients for all hypothesized relationships.

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