Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sibin Wu

Second Advisor

Dr. Linda Matthews

Third Advisor

Dr. Lei Wang


The focus of this dissertation primarily examines the optimism contagion from the supervisor to his/her employees. Though the literature has discussed different types of optimism such as dispositional optimism (Scheier & Carver, 2006; Chang, 1998; Segerstrom, 2006) and unrealistic optimism (Weinstein, 1980; McKenna, 1993; Radcliffe & Klein, 2002), this paper will focus on trait and state optimism. State optimism (which relates to particular situation) is theorized as being easily transferrable when compared to trait optimism. The level of the transfer will depend on the emotional expressivity of the supervisor. The facets of emotional expressivity are impulse strength, positive expressivity and negative expressivity. Affecting the optimism contagion are factors such as relationship quality, perceived authenticity and the clarity of vision. The data used in this dissertation will be collected via a questionnaire in which respondents will consist of employees of small businesses. The questionnaire will gather questions reflecting the supervisor’s expressivity, the level of optimism of the employee when he/she started their job and the level of optimism after months of interaction with the supervisor. It is anticipated that the results will indicate that supervisors with high positive expressivity will produce the strongest transfer of optimism when compared to supervisors with high negative expressivity. Also expected is the finding that perceived authenticity, clarity of vision, and relationship quality are moderators of the optimism contagion.


Copyright 2014 Roger S. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American