An empirical study of the relations between leadership, social support networks, task autonomy and emotions in a technical work environment



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Texas A&M University


The world in which we live is hyper-dynamic with multiple inputs, outputs and expectations. As it relates to the fast pace of corporate America, customers want products and services within a tighter market window, with no defects and for lower costs. Stakeholders insist that managers do more with less human and financial resources yet more aggressive technological and sales goals. These realities translate into a more complex work environment in that the emotional toll of pending economic outcomes act to motivate or paralyze the very engine designed to produce the desired outcomes the employees. The body of work presented in this dissertation directly addresses the empirical relationship between the perceptions of the work context factors of leadership, task autonomy and social support networks with respect to the positive and negative emotions of the employees of the engineering firm that participated in this study. The empirical results from this research indicate that a positive and significant interrelationship does exist among the factors examined in this study. The employees studied included 249 middle to upper level managers of whom 78.7% were men and 21.3% were women. The range of years of experience for the participants varied from new hire to more than 20 years. Homogeneity of Variance tests confirms the validity of comparative analysis for the segmented data population. Multivariate statistics were used to address the four research questions. The strongest correlations occurred for the subgroups of women and non-managers with respect to the relationship of social support networks and positive emotions. Until now, there has been no empirical research linking the social support networks factor directly to emotions.