Date of Award

Spring 4-13-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Phil Pendley

Second Advisor

Dr. Kenya Williams

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Goold


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine leadership perceptions within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), as well as determine if a statistical different existed between leaders’ self-perceptions and employees’ perception of leader.

Methodology: The study employed a quantitative approach to gather data regarding leaders’ self-perception of their leadership skills and employees’ perceptions of leaders’ skills as measured by the Transformational Leadership Skills Inventory (TLSi). A total of 142 participants from three southern California prisons completed the survey items to yield results. Research Questions 1 and 2 included descriptive statistics to determine the leaders’ self-perceived leadership skills and employees’ perceptions of their leaders’ leadership skills respectively, delineating their average scores and standard deviations for each of the 10 TLSi domains. Research Question 3, t-tests were used to determine if a difference existed between the leaders and custody employees and the leaders and the non-custody employees. Separate t-tests were conducted between both groups and across the 10 scales of the TLSi. The alpha level was set a .05 to be considered a statistically significant difference.

Findings: The findings indicated that CDCR leaders’ self-perception and employee perception of leader’s leadership skills are statistically similar; with a slightly lower rating of leaders by Non-Custody employees.

Conclusions: CDCR’s efforts need to ensure training and development is inclusive of both custody and non-custody as an inspection of the raw data showed ratings for non-custody employees ranged from 1 to 5 on the Likert scale. There were many more “1” and “2” ratings with the non-custody group than with the others indicating some outliers expressing dissatisfaction with leaders’ TLSi skills. The leader self-perception and employee perception of leaders were lowest in the areas of political intelligence and visionary leadership.

Recommendations: In order to fully capture the state of leadership within CDCR further inquiry needs to be conducted; there are countless variations of this study that could be conducted to delve deeper into the leadership of California prisons ranging from a focus on geographic location of institutions, to missions, custody levels, to a focus on the multiple layers of the organization’s hierarchy.