Date of Award

Summer 4-15-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

George Giokaris, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Keith Larick, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Julie Hadden, Ed.D.


Purpose: The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study was to identify and describe the leadership approaches (transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire) federal government employees perceive as most and least effective to enhance employee morale and productivity.

Methodology: Fifteen U.S. Army civilian employees from 5 paygrades were selected based on specific criteria and organized using the stratified random sampling method. The full-range leadership model provided the theoretical framework for the study and was used to design interview questions that focused on the aforementioned leadership approaches. Data were collected and coded from interviews and artifacts, and aided the identification of key themes and frequency.

Findings: Twelve key findings were identified. Among these findings the most significant were (a) leading by example was effective to enhance employee morale, (b) leaders who enforced organizational policies enhanced employee morale, (c) leaders who challenge employees to think creatively increase employee productivity, (d) leaders who gave employees the freedom to complete tasks using their own method raised employee productivity, (e) leaders who micromanaged employees had a negative effect on employee morale, (f) leaders who provided very little guidance reduced employee morale, and (g) leaders who offer employees rewards in exchange for favors reduce employee productivity.

Conclusions: Transformational leadership was the most effective approach to enhance morale and increase productivity. Transactional leadership is the least effective approach to enhance morale and increase productivity. Laissez-faire leadership is somewhat effective approach to enhance morale and increase productivity.

Recommendations: Six recommendations were identified including conducting comparative studies between leaders and those they supervise, including participants from army garrisons in the United States and outside the United States, among participants from all 5 branches of military service, and between federal government employees and employees in the private sector. In addition, conduct a quantitative study to reach more federal government employees by using surveys that disaggregate data based on gender, age, and number of years working for the federal government.