Date of Award

Fall 12-9-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. H. Quincy Brown

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Heather M. Annulis

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Dale L. Lunsford

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Jonathan Beedle

Committee Member 4 School



Employee retention and commitment have gained attention over the past years (Mutsuddi, 2016). Commitment is the link that connects an individual to their organization, thereby decreases the probability of turnover (Allen & Meyer, 1990; Hague et al., 2019). According to Mutsuddi (2016), decreasing employee turnover remains a critical element for sustainment in any organization. However, most organizations invest in policies and practices to increase employee commitment; those same practices can lead to employee turnover (Mutsuddi, 2016). This study explores the effects of leadership development programs and their impact on organizational commitment and anticipated voluntary employee turnover. A qualitative research design was used for this study and allowed the participants to tell their stories through one-on-one interviews. Utilizing this method enabled the researcher to explain the participants’ leadership program development expectations.

The results of this study were derived from the analysis of interview transcripts. The researcher conducted 15 one-on-one semi-structured interviews with Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) employees. These employees completed at least one of the following programs within the past ten years: Each Leader Individually Trained to Excel (ELITE), Emerging VA Leaders (EVAL), and Leadership Development Institute (LDI). The researcher conducted a focus group as a method to achieve triangulation. For this study, the focus group participants consisted of six mid-level and upper-level supervisors employed at GCVHCS. Those supervisors approved at least one employee to participate in at least one of the abovementioned programs.

The analysis yielded ten themes, four expectations, five perspectives, and one impact on organizational commitment. The perspectives identified include organizational assimilation, personal development, supervisor support, participation, and benefits. The expectations identified include career advancement, leadership development, program follow-up, and ambivalence. The impact on organizational commitment includes enhanced organizational commitment for those that attend leadership courses. This study could improve leadership development programs by addressing employee expectations while developing a plan of action for a follow-up to ensure the skills gained during the programs are used to benefit the employee and the organization.