Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Physicians as servant leaders
by Slockett, Deena L., Ed.D., Pepperdine University, 2012, 127; 3547795
Abstract (Summary)

This research study explored to what extent, if any, a relationship exists between servant leadership and worklife satisfaction among general practice physicians. The literature shows worklife satisfaction is related to demands and controls of work tasks and resources (Karasek & Theorell, 1990). Furthermore, the literature identifies that physicians have a myriad of responsibilities that leave them without control over their time, which can result in burnout (Novack et al., 1997). Research shows that servant leadership builds trust in organizations (Joseph & Winston, 2005), increases job satisfaction (Meyer, Allen, & Smith, 1993; Rude, 2004), and performance (Laub, 1999). The objective of this study is to identify general practice physicians as servant or non-servant leaders and determine the relationship, if any, that exists between their leadership style and worklife satisfaction, to provide support for servant leadership development and increasing worklife satisfaction among physician leaders.

The population for this study included 1,000 general practice physicians listed in the American Medical Association (AMA) database. Using the Servant Leadership Profile – Revised (SLP-R) instrument (Wong & Page, 2003), physicians' self-perceptions were investigated in each of the seven factors: developing and empowering others, power and pride, authentic leadership, open participatory leadership, inspiring leadership, visionary leadership, and courageous leadership. A second instrument, the Areas of Worklife Scale (AWS), examined physicians' perceptions of worklife satisfaction differences between the servant leader and non-servant leader groups, in the six focus areas of worklife: workload, control, reward, community, fairness, and values (Leiter & Maslach, 2006). Using data collected from both instruments, a regression analysis was used to investigate selected demographics (gender and work experience) and the Servant Leadership score for correlation with the overall worklife satisfaction score.

The study did not demonstrate any correlation with the Servant Leadership score and overall worklife satisfaction score when analyzed with the selected demographics (gender and work experience). The study did reveal that characteristics of inspiring and visionary leadership demonstrated higher than average scores for the servant leadership group. Furthermore, physicians in both groups felt the greatest mismatch in their work area related to workload. This result is confirmed in the literature that recognizes burnout as a result of workload and worklife dissatisfaction (Leiter, Frank, & Matheson, 2009; Wallace & Lemaire, 2007). Results of this study may prove useful in further developing characteristics of servant leadership that will increase worklife satisfaction and reduce burnout among physicians.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rhodes, Kent
Commitee: Harvey, Andrew, Schmieder, June
School: Pepperdine University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Organization Theory, Organizational behavior, Health care management
Keywords: Health care leadership, Physician, Physician wellness, Servant leadership, Work satisfaction, Worklife
Publication Number: 3547795
ISBN: 9781267829115
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