The demands of corporate America are placing increased pressures on supervisors and executives to create and manage optimal organizational cultures. Relational capabilities and emotional intelligence have come to the fore as an essential component of effective and successful business leadership. When leaders are unable to create positive relationships with their working teams and navigate the day-to-day stressors of the workplace, the costs can be significant. In addition to losses in productivity, absenteeism, stress, burnout, and demoralization all take a heavy toll. From the perspective of attachment theory, the ability to connect with others, cope with stress, and engage in productive behavior all stem from positive early relationships with caregivers. It is thought that early experiences create attachment schema, which continue to organize the way we relate at home and in the workplace. Preliminary research suggests that leaders with secure attachment styles are able to drive optimal employee behaviors and performance outcomes. Similarly, leaders with neglectful, dismissive, and critical interpersonal styles grounded in insecure attachment schema lead to more undesirable and less productive employee behaviors. There is an abundance of research utilizing self-report measures to assess attachment and leadership behaviors in the workplace and the potential to use attachment behavior as an additional criterion for leadership selection. The current study will explore the following questions: 1. What does the research say about the integration of adult attachment, assessment, and leadership? 2. Can the well-established Adult Attachment Interview be modified for the purpose of leadership selection? As such, the goal is to apply attachment research to selecting more effective leaders capable of creating healthier and more productive working cultures.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Work environment -- Psychological aspects -- Case Studies; Attachment behavior; Leadership -- Study and teaching

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Cozolino, Louis;