Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth Shoenfelt, Ray Mendell

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The present study addresses two competing leadership models, the Vertical Dyad Linkage (VDL) model and the Average Leadership Style (ALS) model. The VDL model states that supervisors treat subordinates differently depending on a variety of variables (e.g., the subordinates competency, skill, trustworthiness, etc.). The ALS model states that, on average, a supervisor treats all of his/her subordinates equally. This study raises two fundamental questions that pertain to both leadership models. First, does the VDL model or tile ALS model more accurately describe leadership behavior for the first line supervisor who is in charge of blue-collar subordinates? Second, is there a relationship between the VDL model and the perception of job characteristics (i. e., skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback)? In a field study, first-line supervisors completed questionnaires containing the Job Descriptive Survey (JDS) and the Leader Member Exchange (LMX) scale, while their subordinates completed a questionnaire containing the JDS, LMX, and two sub-scales of the Job Descriptive Index (JDI). As hypothesized, the VDL model predicted employee satisfaction after accounting for between group variance. However, the second hypothesis, that the VDL model would predict the perception of job characteristics, was only partially supported. The hypothesis that leader-member agreement in the perception of job characteristics would be related to LMX, received only weak support. These results contribute to the expansion of the VDL model's usefulness in terms of generalizeability across organizational levels as well as through the inclusion of the JDS as a dependent variable. Finally, the implications of this study for the workplace as well as for future research are discussed.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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