Using the Operant Model of Effective Supervision to Predict Employee Engagement for Leaders in a Hospital System
Kelley, David Patrick
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Leadership has been a popular topic of conversation for decades. Despite an abundant amount of attention the topic has received, the literature seems to fall short when describing what effective leaders do in a day to day context. A theory introduced by Komaki (1986), called the Operant Model of Effective Supervision (OMES), was designed to answer the tough questions about leadership that have been left unanswered. Research on the theory has resulted in multiple methods to accurately measure leadership behavior within an operant paradigm. One of these methods is an in-basket assessment that has been shown to reliably capture day to day leadership behavior in about one hour. The present study sought to assess whether this tool was predictive of leadership effectiveness by comparing scores on the assessment of 47 individuals in a leadership role with an employee engagement score, which captures follower attitudes and is reliably linked to organizational performance. The study found that leaders who spend more time providing antecedents to employees have significantly lower employee engagement scores than leaders who spend less time providing antecedents.