Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Charles Justice Tillman

Committee Members

Raquel Benbunan-Fich

Stephan Dilchert

Elena Vidal

Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Leadership Studies | Organizational Behavior and Theory


Territoriality; Psychological ownership; Leadership; Turnover intention; Job satisfaction; Organizational commitment


A central concern for organizations and organizational studies is how effective management is influenced by the relationship between supervisors and subordinates. While we know a great deal about how leaders interact with their subordinates, there is limited knowledge about managerial behaviors that are rooted in feelings of psychological ownership, that is, behaviors that are aimed at constructing, marking, and maintaining territories inclusive of their subordinates. The majority of existing work on the behavioral manifestations of psychological ownership is on behaviors that are directed towards non-social targets, such as objects, spaces, and ideas. Importantly, only one study has investigated territoriality in hierarchical work relationships from the manager’s perspective. However, one important aspect of managerial territoriality is the recipient’s (i.e., social target) perceptions and reactions, given the potentially widespread impact such behaviors can have on the subordinate and the organization. This work represents a systematic investigation of managerial territoriality by conceptualizing the leadership construct as an extension of workplace territoriality, and developing a scale to measure such behaviors. This dissertation frames managerial territoriality as having positive or negative outcomes. I find these behaviors are aimed at either preventing subordinate extra-team or extra-organizational defection. Results suggest managerial territoriality can serve as a double-edged sword that can be used to retain employees if they are nurtured but also cause an exodus if they are stifled. This dissertation contributes to bodies of work on leadership and workplace territoriality.

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