Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Management, Marketing and Employment Relations - Faculty of Commerce


This thesis explains the concept of Minimising Attainment Deficit. This is a leadership process whereby leaders help workers fulfil their expectations of achieving their potential in their work.

The purpose of the research was to generate a theory of the leadership process within a large, slow change, public sector, engineering bureaucracy. The aims were to discover the main concern of workers and to explain the leadership processes that resolved this main concern. The substantive processual theory of minimising attainment deficit has been presented as the basic social process which resolves the main concern of workers wishing to minimise the gap between their current work reality and that level which they perceive themselves to be capable of attaining.

A qualitative approach to the collection and analysis of data was adopted through the use of orthodox grounded theory. Its aim was to generate rather than to test theory. This research has contributed knowledge relevant to practitioners in the substantive area by identifying the main concerns of participants and the process by which these concerns can be resolved. It has also identified opportunities for further research that may significantly progress the continually evolving understanding of the leadership process.

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