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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An Analysis of the Impact Servant Leadership Has on Staff Retention in Elementary Schools
by McMillan, Kendra, Ed.D., Northwest Nazarene University, 2017, 116; 10602820
Abstract (Summary)

A successful superintendent once shared that, according to his research, the primary reason people remain with a company or a school is they enjoy those with whom they work. The second reason they stay? They enjoy those for whom they work. These kinds of leaders stand out in the crowd. They inspire people to work harder and improve themselves. People stay at the company or school because of them. Initially, this dissertation began as a mixed-methodology study and emerged to be qualitative in nature. The study focuses on two styles of effective leadership—transformational and servant—and whether one style has a greater impact on staff retention in elementary schools. Given the percentage of teachers who leave the profession and the impact that loss has on student achievement, elementary principals need to know effective leadership styles and how the role of the principal impacts school climate, job satisfaction, and, ultimately, staff retention. Using two Likert-scale surveys, elementary teachers determined whether their principals led with tendencies toward transformational or servant leadership. The teachers then responded to open-ended questions and personal interviews to determine the reasons behind their desire to remain at their current schools. All participants perceived their principals to lead with more of a servant leadership style than a transformational style. This led to the focus of the study shifting from a comparison of two styles to honing in on only servant leadership. The qualitative data revealed that the elementary principals can encourage staff members to remain at their schools by focusing on building relationships with others, supporting them, and being an effective communicator. Trust was also identified as a key component on how those relationships are built and sustained. Trust was also tied to how effective the support and communication was between the teacher and principal.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Robinson, Ed, Curtis, Heidi
Commitee: Raney, Taylor, Wills, Rebecca
School: Northwest Nazarene University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Idaho
Source: DAI-A 78/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Elementary education, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Educational leadership, Elementary schools, Servant leadership, Staff retention, Transformational leadership
Publication Number: 10602820
ISBN: 978-0-355-08672-0
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