Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Amanda Pascale

Second Advisor

Dr. Amanda Kulp

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Gregg

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Matthew Ohlson


Back in 2015, the Board of Governors for the state of Florida implemented new funding policy within its public state university system, as a mechanism to hold institutions accountable to their performance. According to the performance-funding policy, lower performing institutions were at risk of losing state funding if university metrics were not met. This challenging accountability and performance environment can cause much strife within lower-performing institutions, where it is relevant to explore positive workforce strategies that keep university employees engaged in the work that is needed to get the job done while keeping employees adaptive to challenges presented to them. Thus, this research study asserts the concepts and practices of employee engagement and adaptive leadership, as two constructs that can drive institutional success. This research uses the Work & Well-being Survey (UWES-17) and Northouse’s Adaptive Leadership Questionnaire to present a quantitative study of an engagement-leadership framework among participants at a public state university. This study presents a correlation analysis and hierarchical multiple linear regression model to explore the relationship between employee engagement and adaptive leadership. Results indicate a moderate relationship between the two constructs, and adaptive leadership is a significant predictor of employee engagement. In this case the implications lead to four recommendations for future research. Overall, it is imperative that employees on all levels of organizations are engaged in their work, and more so that leadership capacity is fully harnessed within institutions. And as the model of adaptive leadership prescribes practical leader behaviors that can be exuded by individuals of all backgrounds and of various job roles within the institutions, it is most relevant to consider how these adaptive actions of employees are related to higher levels of engagement with the aim to drive institutional success. Conclusively, findings from this study validate the need for higher education practitioners to facilitate effective workforce strategies that focus on implementing leadership practices for all employees to engage in for the sake of accountability, performance, and the like.