Graduation Year


Document Type



Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Lisa Milici Gaynor, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Donald P. Addison, DM, MSM

Committee Member

Christos Pantzalis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dahlia Robinson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jung Chul Park, Ph.D.


Self-determination, Learning Motivation, Learning Agility, Transformational Leadership, Transactional Leadership


This study examines if a relationship exists among three rich research streams, specifically the behavioral science of motivation, adult learning and leadership. What motivates adult professionals to continue learning and how is that connected to their style and efficacy as leaders? An extension of literature to connect Andragogy, Self-determination and Transformational Leadership Theory is explored. Responses to questions adapted from the Carré Model of Adult Orientation and Implication on Learning and Training Activities (Carré, 1997) and the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Avolio & Bass, 2000) are compared among a sample of adult professionals in leadership positions. Results indicate that learning motivation orientation is predictive of and positively correlated with leadership style. How learning motivation can be used as a tool to predict leadership style, enhance leader selection, development and succession is discussed along with further implications of the “learner-leader” for the purposes of research, practice and higher education initiatives. This quantitative study can offer important insights into how the attribute of an intrinsic motivation to learn can act as an antecedent to Transformational leadership behavior, and the impact that Transformational leaders have upon their teams and organizations.