Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Trust, leadership, and communication satisfaction in higher education: Faculty perceptions of their department and division chairs
by Jachowicz, Lynette Marie, Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2016, 110; 10162975
Abstract (Summary)

The formalized study of leadership dates back to the early 20 th century and has continued to evolve since that time. Contemporary leadership theories emphasize morals and values with an interest in how followers are treated; in opposition to the early and more traditional approaches to leadership, contemporary leadership theories view leadership not as an assigned position of authority or responsibility but rather a collaborative process where followers are recognized as essential co-contributors. Guided by this approach, the current study examined authentic leadership as a predictor of interpersonal trust within the context of higher education. The current study operationalized authentic leadership as faculty perceptions of their chairs’ self-awareness, relational transparency, balanced processing, and internalized moral perspective. Self-awareness comes from continual self-reflection and results in an understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses as well the effects those strengths and weaknesses have on others. Relational transparency refers to presenting one’s true or real self, through the open sharing of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Balanced processing occurs when one solicits multiple perspectives, including those that contradict each other as well one’s initial point of view; not only is that input solicited, but also it is given objective consideration before decisions and/or recommendations are made. Internalized moral perspective references the existence and use of one’s moral compass; actions are consistent with this compass and not influenced by organizational or societal pressures. Communication satisfaction was tested as a mediating variable, and organizational trust was tested as a moderating variable. Faculty perceptions of their department and division chairs exhibiting authentic leadership as well as self-reports of interpersonal trust, communication satisfaction, and organizational trust were used. Ninety-eight surveys were collected and provided the data used for the analyses.

Significant positive correlations between authentic leadership and interpersonal trust, authentic leadership and communication satisfaction, and communication satisfaction and interpersonal trust were found. Additionally, the data supported authentic leadership as a strong predictor of interpersonal trust. Communication satisfaction was found to mediate this relationship, with communication with supervisors (one of the communication satisfaction subscales) serving as the main contributor driving the effect. While the indirect effect was significant, the direct effect was much stronger. Organizational trust was found to moderate the direct effect; the relationship between authentic leadership and interpersonal trust was strongest when organizational trust was low. Support for organizational trust as a moderator of the indirect effect was not found.

This study highlighted the value of how authentic leadership, perceived by faculty through their chairs’ use of self-awareness, relational transparency, balanced processing, and internalized moral perspective, effects interpersonal trust. This study also emphasized the importance of organizational trust when trying to understand the effect of authentic leadership on interpersonal trust. This research can be used by scholars, department and division chairs and other leaders in higher education to better understand how faculty perceptions of their chairs exhibiting authentic leadership characteristics predict interpersonal trust in those chairs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Woszidlo, Alesia
Commitee: Banwart, Mary, Kunkel, Adrianne, Russo, Tracy, Twombly, Susan
School: University of Kansas
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: DAI-A 78/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Communication, Higher education
Keywords: Authentic leadership, Communication satisfaction, Intepersonal trust, Organizational trust
Publication Number: 10162975
ISBN: 9781369177480
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