Jose Collazo


This study examined the relationship between leadership style and past military rank, and how these might impact an organization’s innovation climate. The sample consisted of (a) retired U.S. Army senior officers currently employed as executive-level supervisors in the high-technology engineering defense industry and (b) those working under such supervisors. Two leadership styles investigated in this study are transactional and transformational, the former defined by incentive structures based on pay and promotion according to performance, and the latter defined by charisma, inspiration, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. Although these are not mutually exclusive styles, they are conceptually distinct operating modes. The former emphasizes hierarchy, while the latter emphasizes egalitarian relations. The hypothesis was that leaders with military background might habitually operate in transactional style, characteristic of hierarchical organizations where functionality benefits from conformity and lack of dissent as fundamental elements that enhance a high level of coordination. Conversely, research suggests that for-profit engineering-related businesses should benefit from innovation-enhancing characteristics linked with transformational leadership. Quantitative data was gathered through self-report Likert-scale measures accessed online: the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) with subscales as independent variables and the Workplace Innovation Scale’s innovation climate subscale as a dependent variable. Rank as an independent variable was defined by dividing supervisor-group respondents into two comparison groups, an upper and lower tier. Supervisors and subordinates reported on their own or their supervisor’s leadership style, respectively, and innovation climate. The study aimed primarily to detect correlations between (a) MLQ scores and innovation climate and (b) past rank of supervisors and innovation climate.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Leadership; Defense industries -- Employees

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Schmieder-Ramirez, June;