Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Authentic Leadership, Research Integrity, and Institutions of Higher Learning: Why Focusing on Departmental Leadership is Critical for Preserving the Sanctity of Science
by Echols, Katherine I., Ph.D., Mississippi State University, 2017, 129; 10640254
Abstract (Summary)

One of the most overlooked and complex problems that universities and colleges face nation-wide is how to reduce and eliminate research misconduct. Because of the confidential nature of allegations of research misconduct and the high rate of underreporting, administrators at scholarly institutions struggle with understanding the cause of such behavior. Without a clear picture of the prevalence of misconduct or the barriers to reporting, leaders at institutions of higher learning find themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with these problems. This uncertainty coupled with a growing regulatory emphasis from federal funding agencies, results in a reactionary approach while questionable practices go unchecked.

In the early 2000s, federal funding agencies began requiring colleges and universities to provide training in the responsible conduct of research prior to receiving funding. The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training covers research misconduct (falsification of data, fabricating data, and plagiarism) as well as other topics related to research misbehaviors (mentoring, peer review, data management, authorship, etc). This emphasis on training, while well intended, has not had a significant impact on faculty and student knowledge about misconduct.

Authentic Leadership Theory is based on Aristotle’s concept of authenticity and has gained attention over the last decade. It is comprised of four main components: Balanced processing, internalized moral perspective, relational transparency, and self-awareness. These types of leaders focus on moral standards and values and that is what guides his or her leadership.

This study evaluates the impact authentic leaders have on shaping the ethical attitudes of faculty when they are placed in direct departmental supervisory positions. A survey of faculty from 15 Mississippi colleges and universities was conducted. Results indicate that the self-awareness and relational transparency constructs of authentic leadership influence faculty attitudes towards objective research integrity issues, but the direction of influence conflicts with each of the constructs. Additional variables failed to reach a level of significance suggesting that other variables, not historically associated with organizational leadership and research integrity, are influencing faculty’s ethical perceptions. Additional attention is focused on barriers to effective leadership caused by the compliance focused culture of institutions of higher learning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Emison, Gerald A.
Commitee: French, P. Edward, Rush, Christine L., Shoup, Brian D.
School: Mississippi State University
Department: Political Science and Public Administration
School Location: United States -- Mississippi
Source: DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Public administration, Organization Theory, Science education
Keywords: Authentic leadership, Departmental leadership, Higher education, Organizational climate, Organizational culture, Research integrity
Publication Number: 10640254
ISBN: 978-0-355-51373-8
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