Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Second Advisor

Erich W. Baumgartner

Third Advisor

Sylvia Gonzalez

Abstract

Problem Statement. The Seventh-day Adventist church has consistently advocated that adherents to this religion should be Christ-like in every aspect of their lives. They should be of service to others as they create a community of believers who are loving, kind, and considerate of others. These ideals form some of the characteristics of servant leadership. The question therefore is whether servant leadership is being practiced in the P-12 school system. No study related to the presence and practice of servant leadership in the P-12 school system of the NAD has been conducted. Research was needed to determine the perceptions of the evidence of servant leadership and the possible impact of gender, age, ethnic background, the size of the school in which the respondents worked, the gender of the principal, the respondents’ level of education, the configuration of school operation, and the type of SDA teaching certification that the respondents held.

Methodology. A descriptive, explorative, cross-sectional survey was conducted. Participants in this study were selected by stratified random sampling from a population of 6,697 educators employed in the P-12 school system of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. Data were collected using the Organizational Leadership Assessment and a demographic questionnaire that were mailed to 1,110 educators with a response rate of 33.4%. Two research questions and eight null hypotheses were tested. The first research question was analyzed using descriptive statistics and a comparison of means. The null hypotheses and remaining research question were tested at the .05 level of significance using one-way ANOVA.

Results. Laub contends that organizations at or above a 4.0 composite mean score on the OLA can be identified as a servant organization. The composite means of all scores on this survey was found to be 3.91 which are very close to the Laub threshold score of 4.0. This would seem to indicate that the P-12 school system of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists is not a fully servant organization, but instead practices a positive version of paternalistic leadership. The results also indicated that there is a difference in how educators perceive the attributes of servant leadership based on the gender of the educator as well as the enrollment and configuration of school operation in which the educator works. However, there is no difference in how educators’ perceive the attributes based on age, ethnic background, gender of the principal, the educators’ level of education, as well as the SDA teaching certification.

Subject Area

Servant leadership, Educational leadership, Seventh-day Adventist teachers.

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