Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Paul Garton, PhD

Committee Member

Hillary Morgan, PhD

Committee Member

Courtney Gay, PhD


leadership, college athletic administration, transformational leadership, transactional leadership, servant leadership, job satisfaction


As an industry, college athletics has become a focal point of much attention and scrutiny as a result of increasing moral and ethical scandals, as well as lucrative media and personnel contracts. Scandals such as admissions fraud, academic cheating, and financial crimes are a cause for concern regarding the leadership within Division I athletic departments. Organizational and individual outcomes have been associated with leadership. While extant research has focused on the leadership of coaches and the athletic director, the leadership of the senior-level leadership team has been largely neglected. Given the structure of many Division I athletic departments, the senior-level leadership team has significant supervisory responsibilities and is therefore worth examination. This dissertation explores the leadership styles of senior-level athletic administrators by surveying their mid-level followers. Utilizing three leadership scales for servant leadership, transactional leadership, and transformational leadership, descriptive statistics reveal which leadership behaviors were observed by followers and to what extent. Further, a job satisfaction scale was used to assess followers’ job satisfaction. Correlational tests were conducted to explore the relationships between three leadership styles—transactional, transformational, and servant—and followers’ job satisfaction. Additionally, multiple regression analyses were conducted to discover the relationships between leadership styles and job satisfaction while controlling for race and gender. The data produced by this study revealed that the three leadership styles were observed to a similar extent. Moreover, all three leadership styles were moderately correlated with job satisfaction, with servant leadership having the strongest relationship. For the covariates of race and gender, the data revealed that White respondents and male respondents reported the highest job satisfaction in association with transformational leadership. Servant leadership was associated with the highest job satisfaction for Black iv respondents and female respondents, and transactional leadership saw the highest job satisfaction for Asian respondents. This study fills gaps in the extant literature by focusing on the leadership of the senior-level leadership team, and the results can inform the leadership development of senior-level administrators to improve job satisfaction among followers.