The Roles of Internal Public Relations, Leadership Style, and Workplace Spirituality in Building Leader-Employee Relationships and Facilitating Relational Outcomes

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2008-04-25

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Through a qualitative case study, this dissertation's purpose was to explore the confluence of internal public relations, leadership styles, and organizational culture--specifically in a spiritually based workplace--in order to better understand their influence on leader-employee relationship management. The organization researched was a bank with approximately 110 employees including several branch locations. Data collection triangulation included in-depth interviews, participant observation, and document analysis of relevant internal publications and communications. Analysis employed grounded theory strategies using the constant comparison method. Results indicated that this confluence, driven by the founder/top leader's faith and vision, enacted authentic/transformational/principle-centered/servant leadership style, spiritually based organizational culture, and open, two-way symmetrical communication to foster intentional, positive, people-driven cultural maintenance, interpersonal communication, and employee empowerment/growth strategies. In turn, this hybrid environment fostered strong relationship building between employees and organizational leaders as well as between employees across the organization. The confluence also promoted organizational unity as well as intentional leadership development among employees through both specific career goal planning and opportunities for honing individual employees' leadership skills. These outcomes feed back into the leadership, culture, and communication processes to perpetuate a cycle of organizational success. This study extended previous research in internal public relations, leadership styles, and organizational culture by examining their confluence and resulting outcomes to produce a model for internal public relationship building. Ultimately, this model and the understanding enhanced by it offers value to organizational leaders and public relations practitioners as they seek to build more successful leader-employee relationships as well as relationships between employees across the organization through heightened trust, control mutuality, job satisfaction, and commitment. The research also offers value by describing a model that encourages greater empowerment and leadership development among employees at various organizational levels, potentially serving to increase productivity and reach organizational goals.

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