Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Second Advisor

Dr. James Hill

Third Advisor

Dr. Roger Zabik


The path-goal theory of leadership, based on an expectancy formulation of motivation, provides a potent schema for the investigation of the relationship between leader behavior and subordinates' satisfactions in the workplace. The inclusion of task related satisfactions has been dealt with as a contingency factor, but this study included the measurement of task design variables consistent with the task design literature.

According to the path-goal theory, leaders are effective because of their impact on subordinates' motivation, ability to perform effectively, and satisfactions. The study was designed to analyze the relationship between the independent variable of leader behavior and the dependent variable of job satisfaction as moderated by the intrinsic motivation of the task. Specifically, the study compared the relationship between leader consideration and leader initiating structure as the dimensions of the independent variable and satisfaction with work and satisfaction with supervision as the dimensions of the dependent variable.

The measurement of the task design variables provided a summary score reflecting the overall intrinsic motivating potential of the job, which was used as an index of the degree of routineness of the job. The degree of routineness was used as the basis for a dichotomous classification of jobs as either routine or nonroutine; this classification provided the contingency factor or moderating variable in the study. The correlation between leader behavior and subordinates' satisfactions for routine jobs was compared to the correlation between leader behavior and subordinates' satisfactions for nonroutine jobs.

The overall results of the study did not substantiate the general tenets of the path-goal theory. Classification of job routineness may have contributed to problems in substantiation of the theory. The method of classification did not provide two distinct classes of routine and nonroutine jobs, and this decreased variability may have obscured any consistent results.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access