Leadership sets the tone and determines and shapes the organization. The more proficient individuals are in leadership and management skills, the more the organizations will thrive. Technical challenges have and will always be barriers, but competent leadership will always resolve those barriers. There are leaders of organizations who revel in success and those that perish in futility. What is the difference? Is it the organizational structure? Could it be luck? Throughout history there are individuals who have been praised for their leadership abilities. What can we learn from them? The purpose of this study was to determine the key leadership characteristics of mid-level managers in the business divisions at a Federally Funded Research and Development (FFRDC). FFRDC organizations, as non-profits, have different leadership challenges from those of for-profit organizations. Managers need to utilize and adapt to changes that provide us with better understanding the generational gaps in organizations considering the particular strengths and weaknesses of individual skill sets and the global impacts of international finance. Leadership skills from prior generations may not provide the necessary dynamics and flexibility that is needed in today's business environment. History also has proof of poor leadership ability that has condemned countless organizations. What are the differences? Additionally, we must factor in the inevitable change variable since organizations are moving targets, constantly evolving based on the ever-changing technology, workforce and global business landscape. What may have been considered a successful leadership style 50 years ago may not be considered successful in today's world. However, there are constants that withstand the test of time. The findings suggest that the majority of managers have leadership styles, flexibility range, and adaptability level appropriate to become effective leaders within FFRDCs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Leadership; Management; Organizational change; Organizational effectiveness

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

McManus, John F.;