This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Leadership Analysis of Executive Directors of State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies




Schmieg, Gregory

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling


Working-age individuals with disabilities in the United States experience meaningful employment at a significantly lower rate than individuals without disabilities, and having a job is a critical factor to having access to much of what life has to offer. State vocational rehabilitation agencies are the national public system federally mandated to address the employment issues of individuals with disabilities. In 2014, the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) set new performance standards by which all state vocational rehabilitation agencies will be judged. The literature indicates that there are many factors that contribute to an organization’s performance; one of these is leadership, which may have a direct or indirect influence on performance outcomes. Yet there has been almost no research on the leadership within state vocational rehabilitation agencies. This study provides an initial analysis of the demographic background and the leadership style of the highest level leaders within state vocational rehabilitation agencies. Results of this study showed that most of these leaders have more than twenty years of experience in vocational rehabilitation with limited experience in their current role. Further, the results of this study indicated that a transformational leadership style and a transactional leadership style are the best predictors of an overall leadership style. The results also indicated that a transformational leadership style has a positive correlation with outcomes of leadership, such as extra effort and satisfaction, while a laissez-faire leadership style has a converse effect.