Document Type

Honors Thesis


This paper serves to investigate leadership styles experienced and exerted by leaders at various levels in a public accounting firm. The focus of this study is on the Big4 accounting firms located in Dallas and Fort Worth. In this study, we investigate how accounting has evolved over the years to form the public accounting culture that we know of today. As the study is about effective leadership styles, we review the development of various leadership theories over the years. Then, we go on to discussing some of the most prominent leadership styles as per Lewin’s Leadership Theory. Once understanding the foundations of the leadership styles, the study examines the responses of current Big4 employees about their experience of the leadership. This survey is used to test Lewin’s theory in the Big4 accounting firms. Finally, the study concludes with a theory inspired by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The theory describes the transition of leadership style based on the position of employees in public accounting firms.

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