Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Erich W. Baumgartner

Second Advisor

Tevni E. Grojales

Third Advisor

Duane Covrig

Abstract

Servant leadership has been discussed and described mostly in the North American context. Thus, there are concerns that this model of leadership may be culturally anchored in North American metaphors and thinking and may have limited universal applicability outside that context. In recent times, the Seventh-day Adventist Churchhas seen its membership swell mainly in non-Western areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa.

With the changes taking place in the church membership globally, and the challenges these changes impose on leadership, this study was pursued with a twofold purpose. One was to investigate the differences in the perceptions of elders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ghana and the U.S. on four servant leadership attributes (Agapao Love, Empowerment, Vision, and Humility). The second was to investigate the relationship between servant leadership and three cultural dimensions (Power Distance, Gender Egalitarianism, and In-Group Collectivism).

Method. A quantitative research design was used to survey the elders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in two selected union conferences in two different countries, Ghana and the United States of America (USA). The Servant Leadership Assessment Instrument (SLAI), prepared by Dennis (2004), three cultural variables incorporated from the GLOBE Research Study (2004), served as part of the survey instrument for thecollection of data on servant leadership and cultural attributes. In addition, a one-page, nine-item instrument was used to collect demographic information. These surveys were sent to 3,000 randomly selected Seventh-day Adventist church elders which resulted in responses from 1,284 elders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ghanaand U.S., 831 and 417 respectively. Hoteling's T2 or two-group between subjects multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to analyze the differences in perception of servant leadership. Canonical correlation was used to analyze therelationships between servant leadership and culture.

Conclusions and Recommendations. The findings revealed statistically significant differences in the perceptions of elders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ghanaand the U.S. regarding the servant leadership attributes of Agapao Love, Empowerment, Vision, and Humility. Elders in U.S. reported experiencing servant leadership behaviors significantly more than did their Ghanaian counterparts. Secondly, there were statistically significant relationships between the perceptions of elders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ghana and U.S. regarding the servant leadership attributes of Agapao Love, Empowerment, Vision, Humility and cultural dimensions ofPower Distance, Gender Egalitarianism, and In-Group Collectivism. The elders in both countries reported moderate relationships between servant leadership and the cultural dimensions. In Ghana, the relationships were high between Gender Egalitarianism and Empowerment, while in the U.S., they were high between In-Group Collectivism and Vision. Because the Seventh-day Adventist Church currently operates in 203 countries where cultures influencing the expectations about the process of leadership differ widely, it is imperative that it takes time to examine the qualities that characterize servant leadership, to assess current practices, to identify gaps, and to provide training to make up the difference.

Subject Area

Servant leadership--Cross-cultural studies, Servant leadership--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists, Elders (Church officers)--United States--Attitudes, Elders (Church officers)--Ghana--Attitudes

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