Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Management

Committee Director

Roger Richman

Committee Member

William Leavitt

Committee Member

James Nolan


This study attempts to identify the leadership styles of Virginia prison wardens within public adult prisons, and to determine which factors contribute to the development of their leadership styles. The two instruments used in this study to assess leadership style were the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI, which measures "transformational" leadership), and the Leader Behavior Analysis II Self (LBAII Self, which measures "transactional" leadership). Both instruments have been used in prior research with correctional personnel, and comparisons of this research study is made with previous dissertations utilizing the LPI and LBAII.

Also developed for this study was a set of questions containing the independent variables of gender, race, age, educational level, college major, career experiences, size of institution, location of institution, and security level of institution. The LPI, LBAII Self, and Demographic Survey were administered to all the prison wardens within Virginia (Total N=46).

Results indicate that the majority of wardens (86.8%) prefer a "Highly Supportive" leadership style. The variables of race, education, and location of institution are not statistically significant with either instrument. The variables gender, size of institution, and security level produce some significant differences in leadership style. Career experiences (categorized as previous experience in either "Security", "Treatment", "Management", or "Other") have weak correlations within the "Effectiveness" scores on the LBAII Self. "Treatment" background produces a positive correlation; "Security" and "Management" background produce a negative correlation.

Statistical analysis indicates that the wardens scored above average on the LPI instrument in "Challenging the Process, Inspiring a Shared Vision, Enabling Others to Act, Modeling the Way, and Encouraging the Heart". Implications for future research are discussed, utilizing the information gathered on leadership style.


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