Academic journal article Journal of Allied Health

Faculty Perceptions of Occupational Therapy Program Directors' Leadership Styles and Outcomes of Leadership

Academic journal article Journal of Allied Health

Faculty Perceptions of Occupational Therapy Program Directors' Leadership Styles and Outcomes of Leadership

Article excerpt

This research study investigated the relationship between faculty perceptions of occupational therapy program directors' leadership styles and outcomes of leadership and the effects of moderating demographic and institutional characteristics. Data for this study were collected utilizing the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire Form 5X and the self-designed Demographic and Institution Questionnaire. The study working sample included 184 graduate occupational therapy faculty members from 98 (65%) of all accredited academic occupational therapy programs in the United States for the 2005-06 academic year. Major findings from the study indicate that, in general, transformational leadership had a significant (p < 0.001) positive predictive relationship with the leadership outcomes whereas transactional leadership had a significant (p < 0.001) negative predictive relationship. The contingent reward leadership attribute (although belonging to the transactional leadership construct) was found to be a positive predictor of leadership outcomes. Demographic and institutional characteristics did not have a significant (p > 0.01) influence on perceived leadership styles and leadership outcomes. The results of this research show that the most effective occupational therapy leaders in academia have been found to be those who adopt and utilize a full range of leadership styles that combine both transformational and transactional contingent reward leadership styles and suggest common effectiveness for other allied health fields. J Allied Health 2008; 37:225-235.

THE RELATIONSHIP between leadership style and leader effectiveness has been studied extensively.1-5 Much of the published research has focused on Fortune 500 and 1,000 firms, a variety of government and not-for-profit agencies, smaller companies in service, manufacturing, health care, education, and technology industries, and religious institutions in the United States and abroad. Researchers in leadership and leader effectiveness assert that a supervisor's leadership style has a significant influence on employee effectiveness, satisfaction, and extra effort across all types of organizations and in all fields.1

Leadership of Administrators in Higher Education

Leadership is essential in all organizations, including institutions of higher education. However, the notion of academic leadership is unique in higher education. Leadership in this setting extends beyond the walls of academia into the larger world that higher education institutions attempt to serve.6 The challenging task of job performance in a higher education environment leads to debate regarding the impact of different leadership styles on faculty motivation and satisfaction. The higher education setting is a dynamic environment that demands effective leadership styles to achieve targeted organizational outcomes.7

Department heads are recognized as key leaders within the university setting.8 Sieg9 found that 80% of an institution's decisions are made at the departmental level. The leadership skills of a program director cannot be underestimated and are often a central criterion for appointment to the position of academic department head.6 Thus, the success of an academic department hinges on the program director's ability to lead the department's faculty as well as to lead the education and scholarship within it.10 Table 1 depicts a summary of the studies examining leadership of administrators in higher education.

Leadership in Health Care

The "Crossing the Quality Chasm" report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM)15 suggested that the US health care delivery system does not offer consistent, high-quality effective care to all people due in part to the poor organization of the health care delivery system. Levey et al.16 responded to the IOM's report by stating that it was a "call to arms" for the redesign of health organizations to achieve higher levels of organizational effectiveness because this cannot be achieved without strong leadership and further suggested that discovering new ways to promote leadership development in health care organizations is critical. …

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