Abstract: (Withdrawn) Are Leaders Climate Instigators or Climate Followers? an Autoregressive Model on Whether Leader Inclusiveness Shapes Climate or Inclusive Climate Shapes Leadership (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

152P (Withdrawn) Are Leaders Climate Instigators or Climate Followers? an Autoregressive Model on Whether Leader Inclusiveness Shapes Climate or Inclusive Climate Shapes Leadership

Friday, January 13, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Kim Brimhall, PhD, Assistant Professor, Binghamton University, NY
Kelley Cook, PhD Student, PhD Student, Binghamton University
Laura Piekunka, MSW Candidate, Graduate Student, Binghamton University
Stacey-Ann Gordon, MSW Candidate, MSW Candidate, Binghamton University
Background: Human service and social work organizations are striving to create inclusive workplaces because it gives employees a sense of belonging and feeling valued and respected. The concept of workplace inclusion originated in social work science and is one of the most effective tools for building equitable workplaces. Although over the last two years there has been a significant increase in attention toward organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, little is known about how to effectively create inclusive workplaces. Some scholars argue leadership is key to creating an inclusive climate, suggesting leaders are the architects of organizational climate. Other scholars posit the organizational environment dictates what kind of leadership is accepted and rewarded in the workplace, arguing that leaders mold to their surroundings and thus climate shapes leadership. The purpose of the current study is to disentangle and examine this debate and uncover whether leader inclusiveness creates an inclusive climate or an inclusive climate creates leader inclusiveness. This information is critical for developing targeted workplace interventions designed to increase inclusion and can shed light on how organizations can more effectively build inclusive and equitable workplaces.

Method: An autoregressive model using three waves of longitudinal data was used to examine study hypotheses in Mplus statistical software. Data were collected at three time points 6-months apart from a nonprofit healthcare department (Time 1 n = 213, Time 2 n = 245, Time 3 n = 239).

Results: In regards to the sample, 41% of respondents self-reported as Asian, 21% as white, 20% as mixed race or other, 14% as Latinx, and 4% as Black. The model fit the data well (χ2 = 10.667; df = 5; p > .05; CFI = .97; TLI = .92; RMSEA = .07, 90% CI = .00, .14). After controlling for employee race/ethnicity, gender, age, education, job position, and job tenure, result suggested leader inclusiveness at Time 1 positively influenced climate of inclusion at Time 2 (β = .19, SE = .08, p < .05) and leader inclusiveness at Time 2 positively influenced climate of inclusion at Time 3 (β = .27, SE = .09, p < .01). These results were significant above and beyond controlling for previous time point leader inclusiveness and inclusion. In addition, the reverse pathways were not found to be statistically significant (climate of inclusion at Time 1 was not significantly associated with leader inclusiveness at Time 2 and climate for inclusion at Time 2 was not significantly associated with leader inclusiveness at Time 3).

Conclusions: Results support the argument that leaders are climate instigators and can set the tone for what the organizational climate will be. In other words, leaders are key to creating an inclusive and equitable workplace. Human service organizations are increasingly tasked with implementing DEI efforts and creating inclusive work environments to solve complex problems around inequity in the workplace. This study provides evidence-based information critical for designing leadership interventions aimed at increasing a climate of inclusion.