Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Kristen Crossney, PhD

Committee Member

Angela Kline, PhD

Committee Member

Megan Nolan, PhD


One of the many responsibilities of the president is the management of the expansive federal government. From agenda planning to reform implementation, a political leader can impact the federal employees’ job role. The federal government, however, does not administer alone, top-down mandates are managed by tiers of management, with the front-line supervisors acting as the liaison to federal employees. Understanding a president’s leadership capital alongside the federal employee perceptions of job satisfaction and supervisory support can provide opportunities to gain insight into establishing and maintaining a public sector landscape that is effective and efficient.

The study consisted of a quantitative analysis of secondary data to examine federal employee perceptions informed by the leadership capital of two political leaders. The Leadership Capital Index (LCI) was utilized to assess and identify whether there is a difference in leadership capital between Obama in 2010 and Trump in 2018. Subsequently, the 2010 and 2018 Federal Employee Viewpoint Surveys (FEVS) were used to examine federal employee perceptions of job satisfaction and supervisory support, controlling for the perceptions of upper management. Together the LCI and FEVS were employed to draw conclusions about the impact a political leader’s leadership capital can have on federal employee perceptions. Results found that there are differences in the leadership capital between the political leaders and that federal employee perceptions do vary.