The effect of organizational support for leadership development on leader skills, competencies, and behaviors as well as organization performance in federal agencies
Koehler, Michael Edward
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The development of leadership skills and competencies in the federal government has lacked the minimal and consistent support necessary to produce consistent positive outcomes across agencies in leader skills, competencies, and behaviors, as well as workplace performance. Although observers of government have identified this problem as a one of great importance for many years, in part due to the imminent retirement of a substantial number of employees currently in leadership positions, little has been done to improve the situation. Despite the importance of this issue and its relevance to government performance, few researchers of public management have pursued study of the issue. This study employs prior research and theory to develop a theoretical model of the effect of organizational support for leadership development on organization-wide leader skills, competencies, and behaviors, as well as organization performance. Using this model as a foundation, this study proposes nine hypotheses of the effects of organization support for leadership development on various leader skills, competencies, and behaviors, as well as aspects of organization performance. These hypotheses are tested utilizing the responses to a large-n survey of federal personnel aggregated to the organizational sub-element level. The results of the data analysis employing OLS regression estimation provide strong evidence that organizational support for leadership development has positive effects on measures of the goal-setting organizational environment, the organization-wide interpersonal communication environment, the organization-wide implementation of performance evaluation, the organization-wide adherence by leaders to meritocratic principles, the organization-wide utilization of personnel talent, and the work quality organization-wide. Taking these results into consideration and employing a modified return on investment framework, this study make a case that this data can be used to make a rudimentary estimate of the return produced in each outcome measure as a result of increasing organizational support for leadership development. These estimates, combined with the statistically significant and positive relationships discovered in this study, serve as evidence that federal government organizations can produce beneficial effects in leader behavior and action, as well as organization performance, by increasing their level of support for leadership development.