A Study of Leadership Behaviors among Chairpersons in Allied Health Programs

By Firestone, Deborah T. | Journal of Allied Health, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

A Study of Leadership Behaviors among Chairpersons in Allied Health Programs


Firestone, Deborah T., Journal of Allied Health


This study was designed to investigate leadership behaviors among chairpersons in allied health programs, based on their perceptions and the perceptions of faculty. Transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership behaviors, as well as organizational outcomes of effectiveness, extra effort, and satisfaction, were measured using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ Form 5X-Short). A form developed by the researcher was used to gather demographic and program information. One hundred thirty-eight chairpersons and 327 faculty participated in the study. Major findings support the view that chairpersons primarily demonstrate leadership behaviors associated with transformational leadership factors and the contingent reward factor of transactional leadership. Statistically significant differences were found between the mean values of the self-perceptions of chairpersons and faculty for the transformational leadership factors of idealized influence (behavior), inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, individual consideration, and organizational outcomes of effectiveness and satisfaction. There was a statistically significant positive correlation, based on the self-perceptions of chairpersons and faculty, of the five transformational leadership factors with the three organizational outcomes and the transactional leadership factor of contingent reward with the organizational outcomes of effectiveness and extra effort. There was a statistically significant negative correlation, based on the perception of faculty, with the management-by-exception (passive) and laissez-faire leadership factors, and the organizational outcomes of effectiveness, extra effort and satisfaction. Transformational leadership has been identified as an effective strategy to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Further development of the transformational leadership behaviors of chairpersons should be considered a priority for the allied health professions. J Allied Health 2010; 39:34-42.

THE IMPORTANCE of and need for leadership in allied health education has been well documented.1,2 The health care system is in a constant state of flux, and chairpersons of allied health programs are ultimately tesponsible for reshaping the organizational practices of their educational programs in order to adapt to these environmental changes. In addition, colleges and universities are facing difficult economic times and the survival of allied health programs may very well depend on the ability of leaders to align theii program's mission with that of their parent institution. In times of change and budget constraints, allied health programs need leaders to ensure that their voices are heard and needs are met.1 Transformational leadership, a process by which a leader identifies a need for change and inspires others to be a part of the process to execute change, can facilitate the adaptation of the allied health professions to this changing environment.

Research in higher education shows a strong relationship between transformational leadership behaviors and organizational effectiveness.3-4 Although studies have been conducted on leadership behaviors in individual allied health disciplines,5-11 there has been no research to date on leadership behaviors among chairpersons in allied health programs.

The purpose of this research was to investigate the leadership behaviors of chairpersons in allied health programs in the northeast United States through their self-perceptions and the perceptions of faculty, as measured by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) Form 5XShort.12 The MLQ uses a broad range of leadership behaviors to measure leadership styles (transformational, transactional, and laissez faire) and organizational outcomes (effectiveness, extra effort, satisfaction). The researcher examined whether the mean values for leadership factors (transformational, ttansactional, laissez-faire) and organizational outcomes (effectiveness, extra effort, satisfaction) differed between the self-perceptions of chairpersons and perceptions of faculty. …

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