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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Faculty Perceptions of the Leadership Style of a Former University President Who Is a Retired Military General
by Sarver, Rebecca S., Ph.D., Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2020, 168; 27741838
Abstract (Summary)

Institutions of higher education are facing turbulent times. Declining enrollment, reduced budgets, demographic shifts, and globalization are some of the factors contributing to this crisis (Khan, 2017; Krupnick, 2015). Because of this, universities are looking at new governance methods and unconventional leadership (Khan, 20107; Krupnick, 2015). Universities are turning to leadership theory for assistance in hiring top administrators, particularly the position of president (Altbach, 2011; Black, 2015; Miller, 2013; Sagintayeva, 2013). Several universities in the United States have turned to leaders who come from disciplines outside of higher education Krupnick, 2015; Sagintayeva, 2013). These unconventional university leaders have included retired military officers (Arnett, 2017). Mansfield University of Pennsylvania is one example of this. From 2013 to 2017, retired Brigadier General Francis L. Hendricks served as president of Mansfield University, his alma mater (Morningstar, 2017; Murray, 2012).

This study seeks to address the paucity of research on veteran military officers serving as leaders in the civilian workforce by focusing on the case study of President Hendricks. According to Arnett (2017), this is an understudied area and my review of the academic literature supports this claim. I was unable to locate information on veteran officers serving as university presidents. This mixed methods case study serves as a starting point for the study of this phenomenon and helps to fill the void in the literature on the topic of former military officers serving as presidents in higher education by investigating faculty perceptions of the leadership style of their former president, Francis L. Hendricks who is a retired United States Air Force brigadier general. For the quantitative component, I surveyed 23 current Mansfield University faculty members on their perception of Hendricks's leadership style and the outcomes of his leadership style using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ-5X). Leadership theory served as the framework for analyzing quantitative data. The results of the survey indicated that faculty did not perceive Hendricks's leadership style and his leadership outcomes positively. For the qualitative component of this study, I interviewed four current faculty members on their perceptions of Hendricks's leadership style and the factors that impacted their perceptions.

Results of the quantitative component found that faculty perceived Hendricks's leadership style as passive/avoidant. Faculty viewed Hendricks's leadership outcomes negatively. Faculty felt that his leadership style failed to generate extra effort among faculty. His leadership style did not generate a sense of satisfaction among faculty, nor did it produce effective outcomes. Results of the qualitative component affirmed the quantitative findings and produced information on how faculty formed their perceptions of Hendricks's leadership style. Faculty perceived Hendricks's leadership style as hierarchical and top-down. They felt that his leadership style was not effective in producing positive outcomes. Faculty formed their perceptions through their interactions with Hendrick's. Symbolic interactionism and social identity theory, as well as Goffman's concept of the power elite, served as the theoretical framework for understanding how faculty formed their perceptions, and these perceptions changed over time.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sandhoff, Michelle
Commitee: Heckert, Alex, Vaccaro, Christian
School: Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public administration, Management
Keywords: Higher education leadership, Leadership, Leadership style, Military, Military leadership, Military officer
Publication Number: 27741838
ISBN: 9798607310448
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