Date of Award

May 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Member

Robert R Sinclair

Committee Member

Robin M Kowalski

Committee Member

Eric R Muth

Committee Member

Eric McKibben


This dissertation proposed a multilevel serial mediation model wherein trust in leader and affective organizational commitment mediated the effect of transformational leadership on perceived role breadth. This same serial mediation model was examined with role instrumentality as the outcome variable. Moreover, perceived role breadth, after factor analyses, was broken into three separate factors roughly corresponding to: 1) organizational loyalty, 2) sportsmanship, and 3) altruism. The sample of this study was 997 employees from government agencies who were surveyed about their leader and other constructs described in the hypothesized model. All employees reported which specific leader they had, therefore allowing each individuals response nested within the grouping of Level 2 leader. After initial multilevel model null testing as well as ICC1 calculations, it was determined that MLM techniques were appropriate for organizational loyalty, sportsmanship, and role instrumentality due to between-group variance. However, for altruism no evidence was found for group variance, and thus the proposed serial mediation model was examined only at the individual level when altruism was the outcome variable. For all three of the outcome variables examined with MLM, trust in leader was not found to serially mediate when accounting for nesting. Therefore, trust in leader was removed from the MLM and affective organizational commitment was analyzed as a single multilevel mediator. For all three outcomes being tested with MLM, affective organizational commitment mediating transformational leadership to the outcome variable was represented at both individual and group levels. This study showed that individual and group level transformational leadership predicts organizational loyalty, sportsmanship, and role instrumentality. Furthermore, this study showed that group level affective organizational commitment mediated group level transformational leadership on organizational loyalty, sportsmanship, and role instrumentality. When accounting for nesting of individuals within leader groups, there was also individual level mediation of the transformational leadership on organizational loyalty and on role instrumentality, but not on sportsmanship. When testing the proposed serial mediation model at the individual level without account for clustering of individuals by their leader, significant serial mediation did occur wherein trust in leader through affective organizational commitment mediated transformational leadership to altruism. In fact, when not accounting for nesting, the proposed serial model was actually confirmed for each of the four outcome variables. However, when accounting for nesting, trust in leader was not found to be a multilevel mediator of any of the four outcome variables. Therefore, this study answers several calls for multilevel research on transformational leadership and highlights the importance of accounting for nesting on the results researchers find.



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