Student Research Projects

How Management Styles Affect Work Ethic and Stress Level

Student Catherine Boggs, ‘13
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Psychology
Course PSYCH 480: Original Research Project in Psychology


An effective management style is the leading force that makes companies succeed or fail. If an employee is working for a good manager, s/he is likely to be more productive. This research analyzed three different types of management styles: laissez-faire, democratic, and autocratic to determine which one is the most effective at keeping employee work ethic high and stress levels low. I hypothesized that a democratic management style would have the best impact on work ethic and stress levels. I also hypothesized that participants would give up more quickly on the more difficult tasks, which were unsolvable anagrams. To measure work ethic and stress levels, participants were divided into three scenario groups (laissez-faire, democratic, and autocratic). As participants entered the room, I acted out one of the three styles. Participants then filled out the solvable and unsolvable anagram worksheets in response to the three different management styles. They also filled out the Perceived Stress Scale and a Work Ethic Questionnaire. Participants were timed on how long they took to do each worksheet as well. The results indicated that the democratic leadership style kept work ethic the highest with a .19 significance. The results also showed that there was a high significance of .006 between the unsolvable and solvable times. Participants did tend to give up more quickly on the unsolvable anagrams than the solvable ones. However, there was no significance between stress levels and management styles. These findings are important for the fields of psychology and business. Using a management style that results in more productivity is something that is valuable for a company’s success.