Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Lawrence R. Frey

Abstract

As a relatively new addition to the modern workforce, interns are a unique and important but understudied population. In particular, scholars know little about the how interactions between interns and those who supervise them contribute to interns’ satisfaction with and learning from the internship experience. This study explores the effects of two supervisors’ communication styles—authoritarian and collaborative—on interns’ satisfaction and learning. Sixty-three university respondents who had completed an internship program completed an online questionnaire that assessed their upervisors’ communication style and their learning and satisfaction with the internship. Results showed that supervisors employed the collaborative communication style significantly more often than the authoritarian communication style, and that it was strongly associated with outcomes for interns, although the authoritarian style also was associated with those outcomes. The results suggest the need for a new way of conceiving of leadership/managerial communication that integrates aspects from both the authoritarian and collaborative communication styles, as well as the need to better integrate the three primary stakeholders of internship programs (interns, universities, and companies).

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