Organizational vision has become an increasingly important tool in many professions. A founder's vision may permeate an organization's culture and have a lasting impact on how the organization is later run. Organizational vision is a tool that helps leaders create alignment within their organizations and provides flexibility for adaptation to the ever-changing marketplace. In order to facilitate this alignment, leaders often use various motivational techniques. Ideally, the motivational technique the leader selects best motivates his or her employees to act in alignment with the vision. How effective the founder is in selecting the most appropriate motivational technique may be contingent upon his or her understanding of differing paradigms and willingness to explore different incentives and dispositions with their employees. Sowell (1995) provides a conceptual framework in his book The Vision of the Anointed that may be useful for evaluating different motivational paradigms. Sowell (1995) suggests that distinctions between a constrained and an unconstrained paradigm are based on one's underlying belief system. Those who subscribe to a constrained paradigm look to history to explain possibilities for the future, which implies a smaller set of options than an unconstrained paradigm. A leader who subscribes to a constrained paradigm would tend to use incentives or extrinsic rewards to motivate his or her employees. Those who subscribe to an unconstrained paradigm look to the possibilities of what the future may hold and therefore provide a larger set of options than a constrained paradigm. A leader who subscribes to an unconstrained paradigm would tend to use dispositions or intrinsic rewards to motivate employees. Based on Sowell's (1995) conceptual framework, this study explored 11 California small business founders' motivational paradigms reflecting either a constrained or unconstrained paradigm. A semi-structured interview format was employed to discover the founders' underlying paradigm (constrained or unconstrained). More specifically, this study explored how selected California small business founders described motivating their employees with similar and differing paradigms. No prior studies known to the researcher have applied Sowell's criteria for evaluating paradigms to small business founders' motivation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Organizational behavior; Organizational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;