An organization’s success depends on hiring and retaining satisfied employees (Cordeiro, 2010). Faculty members play a vital role in the success of higher education institutions (Cordeiro, 2010). Through increased job satisfaction, greater employee retention helps colleges and universities achieve adequate faculty allocations (Froeschle & Sinkford, 2009). Faculty job satisfaction and its relationship to retention in higher education are business-related issues, as a 5% increase in retention can lead to a 10% reduction in costs (Wong & Heng, 2009). A similar increase in retention can further result in substantial productivity increases, to as much as 65% (Wong & Heng, 2009).
Seventy-seven percent of employees in the United States have reported dissatisfaction with their jobs (Mardanov, Heischmidt, & Henson, 2008), and as DeConinck (2009) reported, job dissatisfaction eventually leads to voluntary turnover. The estimated salary premium required to replace one dissatisfied faculty member totals $57,000 (Finch et al., 2010). Since the State University System of Florida launched the New Florida Initiative, increased enrollments created the need for faculty members to assume administrative positions with leadership responsibilities (Austin, 2012). Some new administrators lack knowledge of how their leadership style impacts faculty member job satisfaction (Lawrence & Bell, 2012).
Universities in the United States experience high levels of faculty turnover (Klein & Takeda-Tinker, 2009). Most universities use faculty search committees that screen initial applications and, simultaneously, represent a massive investment of financial resources and faculty time (Cordeiro, 2010). The ability to hire and retain effective faculty remains a serious problem for higher education institutions (Wong & Heng, 2009). Job satisfaction plays a vital role in retaining faculty (Wong & Heng, 2009). Colleges and universities experience lack of trained leaders for a number of reasons. As members of the baby boomer population retire, which creates a smaller workforce population, colleges draw new faculty administration members from a smaller pool of qualified applicants (Campbell, Syed, & Morris, 2010; Finch, Allen, & Weeks, 2010). Apart from the fact that hiring and retaining talented college faculty administrators may be extremely costly, and time consuming (Green, Alejandro, & Brown, 2009), generational differences play one of the major roles in faculty members’ continued dissatisfaction with leaders (Salahuddin, 2010).
The difficulties seen in the State University System of Florida bring these generational challenges to the surface. As the State University System of Florida is in the process of launching the New Florida Initiative, enrollments likely will increase across all universities within the system. This increased enrollment may result in rapid transformation of leadership positions because of the need for a larger teaching faculty (Lawrence & Bell, 2012). This may push administrators to assume new leadership responsibilities, and many leaders may not understand the importance of encouraging an open and productive conversation with faculty members (Lawrence & Bell, 2012). Administrators selected for the new leadership positions may have little understanding of how their leadership decisions affect faculty members’ satisfaction with their job (Klein & Takeda-Tinker, 2009). As faculty leaders retire and transition, filling vacant faculty positions will also require much evaluation and thought. Research into a state university within the State University System of Florida, through the present study, may expose differences between the motivations and desires of the academic leaders and faculty members.
Research Purpose and Question
The purpose of this quantitative, correlational study was to examine the relationship between perceived academic administrator leadership styles and job satisfaction of full-time faculty members. The design of the study was correlational and nonexperimental. The independent variables were the transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant leadership styles of academic administrators as evaluated by faculty members. The dependent variable was job satisfaction of full-time faculty members. The population consisted of 567 full-time faculty
members within the university, including professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors, and lecturers. The minimum number of participants required for significant study results was 81 as determined by a power analysis, and 104 participated. The location of the study was an institution within the State University System of Florida, which had experienced increased demand for new leaders since the launch of the New Florida Initiative.
Conceptual Framework and Hypotheses
We evaluated the relationship between academic administrator leadership styles and faculty job satisfaction within an institution in the State University System of Florida. We evaluated the relationship between academic administrator leadership styles using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Bass, Avolio, Jung & Berson, 2012) and faculty job satisfaction using the Job Satisfaction Survey (Spector, 2011) within an institution in the State University System of Florida. Using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Bass, Avolio, Jung & Berson, 2012) and the Job Satisfaction Survey (Spector, 2011), we sought to answer the following primary research question and secondary questions:
Primary research question 1: What is the relationship between perceived administrator leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members?
Secondary research question 2: What is the relationship between perceived transformational leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members?
Secondary research question 3: What is the relationship between perceived transactional leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members?
Secondary research question 4: What is the relationship between perceived passive/avoidant leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members?
We sought to answer the research questions by testing the following hypotheses:
H1o: There is no significant relationship between leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members.
H1a: There is a significant relationship between leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members.
H2o: There is no significant relationship between perceived transformational leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members.
H2a: There is a significant relationship between perceived transformational leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members.
H3o: There is no significant relationship between perceived transactional leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members.
H3a: There is a significant relationship between perceived transaction leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members.
H4o: There is no significant relationship between perceived passive/avoidant leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members.
H4a: There is a significant relationship between perceived passive/avoidant leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members.
The data for this study were numeric indicators of the variables of interest, and hence the study was quantitative. The method of data analysis was logistic regression—a form of regression appropriate for dependent variables measured on a binary scale—to test the primary hypotheses (Siemsen, Roth, & Oliveira, 2010). Using logistic regression as the primary analysis tool allowed us to control for possible confounding variables (Siemsen et al., 2010).
Transformational and Transactional Leadership Styles
Comparison and contrast of transformational and transactional leadership offers a valuable perspective on leadership theory. Historically, theories of leadership focused exclusively on the characteristics of the leader (Bennis, 2010; Derue, Nahrang, Wellman, & Humphrey, 2011; Yukl & Mahsud, 2010). According to Li and Hung (2009), transformational leadership shifted the emphasis from the leader to the quality of the relationship between leaders and their followers. Li and Hung noted that transformational leaders show similar values and inspirational motivation. High-quality workplace relationships are fundamental to positive work outcomes (Li & Hung, 2009). Transformational leadership seems to foster “the building and maintenance of social networks in the workplace, on both vertical and lateral levels resulting in higher levels of task performance and active participation in citizenship behaviors” (Li & Hung, 2009, p. 1141). Joo and Lim (2013) found that employees showed higher career satisfaction when they (a) perceived high meaning, competency, self-determination, and impact from their work and (b) perceived idealized influence from their leaders (i.e., a dimension of transformational leadership). Invoking Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Bass and Riggio (2006) pointed out that transactional leaders secure and maintain power by focusing on their followers’ lower order needs while transformational leaders encourage their followers toward self- realization. In contrast, transactional leadership puts emphasis on administrative issues and assesses the needs of subordinates to satisfy those needs in exchange for work (Zembylas & Iasonos, 2010).
Comparison and contrast of transformational and transactional leadership often leads to preference for one over the other, but not always. Bass and Riggio (2006) recognized that the most effective leaders use both transformational and transactional leadership. In fact, Yukl and Mahsud (2010) decried the dualistic approaches to leadership that emerged during the 20 century, such as the juxtaposition of task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership and transformational and transactional leadership. Yukl and Mahsud considered the ability to be versatile and adapt one’s leadership style to the demands of the situation to be a hallmark of an effective leader. Bass and Riggio’s model of transformational leadership has undergone many changes since its inception in the 1980s. This model meets the criteria of a full-range model, spanning transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles (Bass & Riggio, 2006).
The four-I model provides the basis for transformational leadership (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Bass and Riggio (2006) noted that this model includes four main aspects: idealized influence (or charisma), inspirational motivation, individualized consideration, and intellectual stimulation. Bass and Riggio stated that idealized influence refers to behaviors that elicit respect, admiration, and trust from followers. This aspect of transformational leadership includes leadership by example, which the principal modeling the way embodies as described in the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Supporting these findings, Deluga (2011) collected survey data from 86 subordinate-supervisor groups employed in a variety of organizations. He found that perceived fairness emerged as the supervisor trust-building behavior most closely associated with desired organizational citizenship behaviors in subordinates. Inspirational motivation refers to the ability to communicate a compelling vision that spurs action toward individual and collective goals (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Bass and Riggio stated that leaders who practice intellectual stimulation seek ideas, opinions, and input from their followers to promote creativity, innovation, and experimentation. Bass and Riggio also asserted that individualized consideration involves actively listening and being sensitive to each person’s needs for growth, learning, and recognition.
The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) captures the full range of leader behaviors, which include those that distinguish among transformational leadership, transactional leadership, and laissez-faire leadership (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Bass and Riggio’s (2006) factor analysis of the MLQ showed significant correlations between individualized consideration and transactional contingent reward leadership. Transactional leadership can serve as a foundation for building transformational leadership (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Bass and Riggio also stated that contingent reward leadership molds expectations for performance and fairness and works to build trust between the leader and followers. Contingent reward is implicit in the role of fair and competitive salary and compensation in the satisfaction of college faculty (Bass & Riggio, 2006).
Passive/Avoidant Leadership Styles
Two types of leadership contrast with descriptions of both transactional and transformational leadership (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Bass and Riggio (2006) stated that in active leadership by exception, the leader monitors performance. In other words, the leader acts only if the performance fails to meet the expected standards. Bass and Riggio also stated that in passive management by exception, the leader waits for a problem to arise before taking action. Laissez- faire leadership essentially means the absence of leadership (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Researchers reviewed by Bass and Riggio found less effective results with management by exception and laissez-faire leadership. The less effective modes of leadership are far less common than transformational and transactional contingent reward leadership (Bass & Riggio, 2006).
Individualized consideration distinguishes authentic transformational leaders from pseudotransformational leaders (Bass & Riggio, 2006). In a study of teachers from high- performing schools, Leithwood and Sun (2012) observed a relationship between the principals’ use of individualized consideration and the importance the teachers ascribed to a collegial, professional climate. A similar relationship appears throughout the literature on college faculty job satisfaction (Klein & Takeda-Tinker, 2009). Some theorists approach individualized consideration from the perspectives of developmental leadership and supportive leadership (Wang & Howell, 2012). Wang and Howell (2012) examined the effects of supportive and developmental leadership on employees. Wang and Howell defined supportive leadership as taking place when leaders express concern for followers’ needs and preferences and take account of these needs and preferences when making decisions.
Supportive leadership can effectively buffer against job stress (Wang & Howell, 2012). This aspect of supportive leadership (or individualized consideration) may be especially valuable for faculty members under conditions of organizational change (Coates, Dobson, Goedegebuure, & Meek, 2010). The behaviors associated with supportive leadership overlap heavily with mentoring, which early career faculty strongly desire (Austin, 2012).
The study design was correlational, with the model providing a prediction as to which variables moved up and down in parallel with the odds of satisfaction. We used logistic regression as the statistical design. Logistic regression uses a model of job satisfaction while considering control variables. The prediction resulting from a logistic regression model is either a probability or the odds of a faculty member being satisfied with his or her job. The goal of prediction is to get a significant estimate of what the value of the dependent variable will be on the basis of known independent variable values (Kawada & Yoshimura, 2012).
Sample and Data Collection Procedure
A survey was sent to the entire population (567) of full-time faculty members who taught at a single institution in the State University System of Florida. With a participation rate of 18.3%, the sample size was sufficient to detect a moderate effect size. Surveys were completed by 104 faculty members. Of the respondents, 52.9% (n = 55) were male, while 47.1% (n = 49) were female. Most of the respondents (93.3%, n = 97) were White; the remainder (6.7%, n = 7) were grouped together in the non-White category. More than half, 62.5% (n = 65), had tenure, while the remaining 37.5% (n = 39) did not. Males were overrepresented in the sample relative to their numbers in the population. Among all faculty, 45% (n = 256) were male, whereas 55% (n= 311) were female. In addition, non-White respondents were underrepresented, with the percentage of non-White faculty in the population being 16.9% (n = 96). Finally, tenured faculty members were overrepresented in the sample. The percentage of tenured faculty in the population was 47% (n = 268), whereas 53% (n = 299) were not tenured.
The study made use of three survey instruments. This included the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) Form 5x-Short, Spector’s Job Satisfaction Survey, and a brief demographic survey.
The MLQ-5x is a 45-item questionnaire that takes into consideration seven areas when assessing a leader’s behavior (Bass, Avolio, Jung & Berson, 2012). These areas are intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, contingent reward, and laissez-faire behaviors. According to the operational definition for the present study, a leader displays transformational leadership behaviors when he or she scores highly with regards to individualized consideration and motivation factors (Bass, Avolio, Jung & Berson, 2012). A five-point frequency rating scale uses the following numerical scale: 0 = not at all, 1 = once in a while, 2 = sometimes, 3 = fairly often, and 4 = frequently, if not always. The values of the choices that comprised each construct combine to formulate the average for each construct.
The MLQ-5x contains several subscales that can be combined to arrive at scores for the different leadership types. The analysis involved combining the following subscales to measure transformational leadership: (a) idealized attributes, (b) idealized behaviors, (c) inspirational motivation, (d) intellectual stimulation, and (e) individualized consideration (Bass, Avolio, Jung & Berson, 2012).
Each of these subscales consisted of four questions. According to the operational definition for the present study, transformational leadership equated to the average score across the 20 questions that comprised the five subscales.
The transactional leadership score depended on answers to the following MLQ-5x subscales: (a) contingent rewards and (b) management by exception (active). Both subscales consisted of four questions each. The average across the eight items equated to the score for transactional leadership.
The final management style considered was passive/avoidant, as measured by combining the following subscales: (a) management by exception (passive) and (b) laissez-faire. Both consisted of four questions, yielding a total of eight questions on the MLQ-5x. The MLQ-5x combined the questions to constitute the complete scale. The score for passive/avoidant leadership equated to the average across these eight items.
Determination of the scores to input in the model for each leadership style required the average of the subscales across each leadership style. For each respondent, these scores determined an average score for transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant leadership traits. The higher score indicated the dominant trait than the lower score, and the dominant trait is how the leader was labeled with a specific leadership style.
The Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) is a measurement tool designed by Paul Spector, a Professor of Psychology at the University of South Florida. Spector (2011) allows researchers to use his survey for non-commercial educational or research purposes as long as the researchers share their results with him. The Job Satisfaction Survey assesses how employees feel about their job and assesses their attitudes towards aspects of their job (Spector, 2011). The questionnaire yielded an overall job satisfaction scale that used all of the items in the survey (Spector, 2011). In addition, I scored nine facets on the basis of a subset of the questions (Spector, 2011). These facets were satisfaction with pay, promotion, supervision, fringe benefits, contingent rewards, operating conditions, coworkers, nature of work, and communication (Spector, 2011).
Following Spector’s (2011) instructions, I initially measured job satisfaction as the average score across all 36 items. As each item response corresponded to a 6-point Likert scale, the resulting average fell between 1 and 6 (Spector, 2011). Spector (2011) included some negatively worded items; these required reverse coding before calculating the average.
In addition, Spector (2011) also noted that it is possible to divide scores between satisfied and dissatisfied. Spector’s recommended approach is to code average scores from one to three as dissatisfied, from three to four as ambivalent, and from four through six as satisfied. To allow for the use of logistic regression, the ambivalent category required demarcation of a half point such that those scoring 3.5 and above qualified as satisfied, and those below 3.5 qualified as dissatisfied.
We coded the responses from a brief demographic survey using the following dummy variables: gender as 0 for males and 1 for females, tenure status as 0 for non-tenured and 1 for tenured, and ethnicity as 0 for White and 1 for non-White (i.e., racial or ethnic minority).
Table 1 contains the summary statistics for the scales that result from taking means across the constituent scale items. The transformational leadership scale ranges from 1.16 up to 5.0 with a mean of 3.77 (SD = 1.01). The short version of the transactional leadership scale (after dropping the two items) ranged from 1.0 to 4.75 with a mean of 1.90 (SD = .88).
Scale Descriptive Statistics
Transactional leadership (Short)
Scores on the passive/avoidant scale ranged from 1.50 up to 5.0 with an average of 3.33 (SD = .814). The job satisfaction scale ranged from 1 to 5 with an average of 3.94 (SD = 1.29). In the statistical analysis that follows, we dichotomized job satisfaction scores such that values greater than 3.5 indicated satisfaction and values less than or equal to 3.5 indicated dissatisfaction. As reflected in Table 2, this categorical coding of job satisfaction resulted in 67.3% (n = 70) of respondents falling into the satisfied category, while the remaining 32.7% (n =34) fell into the dissatisfied category.
Job Satisfaction and Dominant Leadership Type Frequencies
Dominant leadership type
In addition, a dominant leadership style variable emerged by identifying the leadership scale having the highest score. By far the most dominant style reported was transformational, which was the scale with the highest value for 76% (n = 79) of respondents. The second most common was passive/avoidant, which was the dominant type reported for 11.5% (n = 12) of respondents. Least common was transactional leadership, with only 7.7% (n = 8) of the sample reporting this type of leadership as most dominant. The remaining 4.8% (n = 5) of respondents did not identify a single identifiable salient leadership type.
Reliability Test of Scales. The MLQ-5 survey contained several subscales covering different types of leadership styles including transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant (Bass & Avolio, 2012). The type of reliability reported is Cronbach’s alpha. Cronbach’s alpha is a measure that varies from 0 to 1. This reliability measurement indicates the extent to which the individual scale items are consistently measuring the same concept (Fowler, 2008). Low levels of alpha mean that the scale contains quite a bit of error, while levels that approach 1 indicate that the scale measures the concept with relatively little error. Three of the scales—transformational leadership, passive/avoidant leadership, and job satisfaction—had high reliabilities. The highest value of Cronbach’s alpha was .974 for transformational leadership, followed by .944 for the job satisfaction scale, and .900 for the passive/avoidant scale. The transactional leadership scale, however, had a reliability of only .622 for the dataset used. We removed two items from the transactional leadership scale in order to improve the reliability.
These items were (a) MLQ.35— Expresses satisfaction when others meet expectations and (b) MLQ.24—Keeps track of all mistakes. Removing the two questions increased the reliability score to a more acceptable .758. We used this shortened version of the transactional leadership scale in the analysis that follows.
Primary research question 1. We answered the primary research question on the relationship between perceived administrator leadership styles and job satisfaction of faculty members. Prior to answering the specific secondary questions related to each of the leadership styles, Figure 1 displays the levels of job satisfaction by the dominant leadership type as identified in Table 2. The numbers along the vertical axis correspond to the percentage of subjects in the respective dominant leadership group that fell into each satisfaction category.
Figure 1 shows a clear pattern. No subjects who identified passive/avoidant as the dominant leadership style fell into the satisfied category. On the other hand, most of the respondents who identified transformational leadership as the dominant style fell into the satisfied category. Specifically, 15.2% (n = 12) of employees with transformational supervisors were dissatisfied, while the other 84.8% (n = 67) were satisfied. The employees with transactional leaders tended to be dissatisfied, though some did fall into the satisfied category. Of these respondents, 75% (n = 6) were dissatisfied, while the remaining 25% (n = 2) were satisfied.
Figure 1. Job satisfaction by dominant leadership type.
A chi-square test of independence showed that these differences are statistically significant (χ = 43.711, df = 2, p < .001). The effect size, Cramer’s V, was .664, which is large according to conventional standards (Fowler, 2008). In other words, job satisfaction appears to vary with leadership style in a manner that is both statistically and substantively significant, so the null hypothesis was rejected for this research question.
Primary research question 2. In secondary research question 2, we asked whether there is a significant relationship between transformational leadership styles and faculty member job satisfaction. For each one-unit increase on the transformational leadership scale, the odds of being satisfied increased 60-fold, an effect that was clearly significant (B = 4.109, SE = .968, p < .001). Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected for this research question.
Primary research question 3. In secondary research question 3, we asked whether there is a significant relationship between transactional leadership styles and faculty member job satisfaction. The size of the bivariate relationship between transactional leadership and job satisfaction was not quite as substantial as with transformational leadership, though it was still large. Each unit increase on the transactional leadership scale leads to a nearly 13-fold increase in the odds of being satisfied. The result was again highly significant (B = 2.552, SE = .506, p <.001). Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected for this research question.
Primary research question 4. In secondary research question 4, we asked whether there is a significant relationship between passive/avoidant leadership styles and faculty member job satisfaction. Once again, the result was highly significant (B = -2.310, SE = .440, p < .001).
Each unit increase on the passive/avoidant scale lead to a 90% decrease in the odds of being satisfied. Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected for this research question.
Multivariate relationships. The results of the full model simultaneously included all of the independent variables. Using a two-sided alpha level of .05 as the cut-off for significance, all of the demographic variables remained non-significant. The odds ratio estimate of 23.179 for ethnicity is extremely large, but this result should be interpreted carefully given the small number of non-White respondents. The tenure variable approaches significance (that is, it would be significant in a one-tailed test, B = -2.331, SE = 1.265, p = .078). The odds that a non-tenured faculty member is satisfied are 89.3% lower relative to a tenured faculty member. Still, holding to the .05 significance level criterion, it is not possible to state there are significant differences in satisfaction between tenured and non-tenured faculty.
Turning to the leadership style variables, it is clear that the transformational leadership style contains most of the predictive power. Each unit increase on the transformational leadership scale lead to a 63-fold increase in the odds of being satisfied, a result that is easily significant (B = 4.150, SE = 1.429, p = .004).
In the primary research question, we asked what the relationship is between administrator leadership styles and faculty member job satisfaction. Regarding dominant leadership types, clearly the respondents working under transformational leaders were most satisfied. Respondents working under passive/avoidant leaders were least satisfied. These differences were statistically and substantively significant according to a chi-square test (Fowler, 2008). This result confirms past research claiming that the most effective leaders use both transformational and transactional leadership (Bass, Avolio, Jung & Berson, 20122006; Yukl & Mahsud, 2010).
By far the most dominant style reported was transformational, and the second most dominant style reported was transactional. This confirms an earlier finding by Yukl and Mahsud (2010) study that as a group the deans or program directors in colleges and universities tended to prefer transformational leadership, also making use of transactional leadership. Leaders in Yukl and Mahsud (2010) study exhibited the transactional leadership style least often, as is true for the passive/avoidant leadership style in the present study.
Faculty members play a vital role in the success of higher education institutions (Cordeiro, 2010). Increased job satisfaction and better retention of faculty reduce the need for costly faculty selection and hiring, and higher retention adds financial stability to the institution (Froesche & Sinkford, 2009). Faculty job satisfaction and its relationship to retention in higher education are business related issues, as a 5% increase in retention can lead to a 10% reduction in costs (Wong & Heng, 2009). A similar increase in retention can further result in substantial productivity increases, to as much as 65% (Wong & Heng, 2009).
University leaders represent a crucial element of job satisfaction (Wong & Heng, 2009), and consequently, they directly affect faculty turnover in higher education institutions. As a large generation of academic administrators in the baby boomer era move into retirement, there will be a need for qualified, effective leaders as replacements. As this happens, faculty leaders will have greater responsibility and/or create more faculty leadership positions. This creates an opportunity for top college and university administrators to (a) communicate the expectation that leaders cultivate faculty job satisfaction and (b) assist faculty leaders in this effort by instructing them regarding research-based effective leadership models.
The results of the study indicated that higher scores on the transformational and transactional leadership scales increased the odds of faculty members of the university being satisfied while higher scores on the passive/avoidant leadership scale decreased the odds of the faculty being satisfied. Therefore, the results of this study provided a model for administrators to predict how their leadership styles will impact job satisfaction of faculty members.
Limitations and Future Research
The study sample included one state university of eleven state universities in the State University System of Florida. The study focused on academic administrators and full-time faculty at a specific public university, so the results of the study may not apply to 2-year community colleges or other 4-year state colleges. Furthermore, as the study sample included only a government-operated university, the results may not apply to for-profit, private colleges or universities, nor may the results apply to private sector corporations. Much more additional research in the area of academic leadership and faculty job satisfaction is warranted. First, due to the study sample only including a single government operated university, future researchers may explore the relationship between academic leadership styles and faculty member job satisfaction within 2-year community colleges or 4-year state colleges. Alternately, future researchers may evaluate the impact of leadership styles on faculty job satisfaction within for-profit, private colleges and universities, as these administrators face a unique set of challenges not predicated on government regulations and public stewardship. Second, the demographic questions addressed only included three confounding variables, which were tenure status, gender, and ethnicity. Future researchers may consider including additional demographic variables when evaluating job satisfaction among faculty members, such as teaching experience, education level, and different sub-sets of ethnicity. Finally, researchers may also wish to consider verifying the apparent assumption of the absence of interaction among the demographic variables.
This finding formed the basis of the recommendations that academic leaders take a proactive position by (a) disseminating this information and (b) refining their leadership styles on the basis of their faculty members’ indicated preferences. Thus, they may be able to achieve the highest possible job satisfaction rates among their faculty members. It is critical that universities retain satisfied employees to enhance productivity and maintain sound financial standing (Cordeiro, 2010). This strong financial standing allows for the institution’s leadership to offer affordable tuition, compete effectively in attracting quality students, and maintain or enhance their standing among higher education institutions. Stakeholders can use the results of this study to create a strategy that will help them to increase faculty satisfaction, and thereby, increase faculty and university effectiveness.
Based upon the findings of this study, three key recommendations for action were developed. First, senior academic administrators should identify current transformational leaders in their organizations and perhaps use them as mentors to assist in the training and mentorship of current and future leaders. Second, academic administrators should recognize that leadership traits can be learned, and therefore, provide professional development and training opportunities in the areas of transformational leadership for present and future academic leaders. Finally, those who seek leadership positions in academia should become aware of the attributes of an effective higher education administrator, and work to develop an intrinsic understanding of and cultivate a skillset of transformational leadership characteristics.
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