Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Robert Hammond, DBA

Co-Major Professor

Richard Will, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lisa Milici Gaynor, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Townsend, DBA


effective leaders, first level managers, leadership development programs


This exploratory research examined the leadership skills essential for frontline managers to be effective in a multicultural organization. The purpose was to inform company management of vital skills to include in a new leadership development program (LDP) initiative. The literature review revealed that a list of commonly accepted leadership skills does not exist. This research gap is even greater for multicultural environments. In addition to developing a list of skills, I assessed the impact of situational factors, including the scenario and demographics of the people involved, on perceived critical leadership skills.

I conducted a survey within the company of interest to validate and refine a list of skills previously identified in pilot study interviews. These skills formed the basis of the survey, which included both quantitative and qualitative questions. Both team members and managers from the diverse workforce completed the survey.

Results of the survey validated the list of six leadership skills that evolved from the pilot study: leveraging individual differences, building team cohesion, managing expectations of team members, motivating team members, resolving conflicts, and communicating with team members/others. As expected, findings also revealed that perceived essential leadership skills vary based on the scenario and demographic make-up of the individuals involved.

The resulting list of leadership skills and insights regarding the impact of situational factors already serves as a starting point for the company’s LDP. However, future research could contribute not only to the company, but also the limited field of study of leadership skills in multicultural environments. Plans are already in place to compare results with input from company employees from different regions of the world from those who participated in the original survey.