Over the past decade there has been a lack of attention in the discipline paid to developing strong academic leaders. It is widely acknowledged that the role of the dean has shifted dramatically over the past two decades, with an increasing emphasis on interaction with and accountability to external constituencies at the university, community, and national levels. The overall purpose of this study was to investigate the self-reported leadership styles, behaviors, and experiences of deans of schools of nursing in the United States. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) was sent to 655 deans who were members of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing; 344 returned completed surveys for a return rate of 52.5%. Scores on the transformational scale (n = 321; 20 items) ranged from 2.75 to 4.0, with a mean of 3.79; transactional scores ranged from 1.3 to 4.0, with a mean of 3.3 and mode of 3.5. The passive leadership component was lowest, with a range of 0 to 3.75, mean of 1.1, and mode of 1.0. The highest scores for each dean were then examined and compared across the three components. Seventy-seven percent of the deans' highest scores fell on the transformational, 21% on the transactional, and 2% on the passive-avoidant scale. There were no significant differences in the most commonly reported leadership behaviors by gender, ethnicity, or terminal degree. Deans of nursing, compared with over 3,000 other leaders who have completed the MLQ, ranked in the 80th percentile for self-reported transformative behaviors and outcomes effectiveness. The findings from this sample, who were predominantly female, are congruent with previous research on women leaders. Recommendations for future research leadership development programs are presented.
- Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire
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