Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Duane Covrig

Second Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Third Advisor

Gordon Bietz



Leadership has been shown to be crucial in the success of organizations, especially in higher education. However, little research has been done about leadership styles and effectiveness in North American Division (NAD) of Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) higher education institutions. My study examined transformational, transactional, and passive avoidant leadership styles and leadership effectiveness in these higher education institutions.


To examine leadership in Adventist colleges, I used the online MLQ-5X short form. I secured participation from 12 colleges and after repeated emails secured 168 responses. I analyzed the relationship between leadership styles, several leader characteristics and leader effectiveness, using SEM, correlation, and multiple regression.


Of the 168 respondents, 92 were males and 76 females. Transformational leadership was predictive of greater leadership effectiveness. Although weak, transactional leadership had a direct effect on leadership effectiveness. However, it was not statistically significant. Passive avoidant was negatively correlated to leadership effectiveness. Age was positively correlated with leadership effectiveness, in that older leaders reported higher effectiveness. By contrast, gender did not significantly predict leadership effectiveness. Additionally, years of experience at their institution had a negative non-significant correlation with leadership effectiveness. Multiple regression also showed age was statistically significantly related to leadership effectiveness with older leaders reporting higher effectiveness. However, years of experience did not show a significant relationship with leadership effectiveness. Multiple regression also did not significantly predict effectiveness between male and female. Although not statistically significant, being a leader with more years of experience at their institution was associated with less leadership effectiveness.


My findings mirror the scholarship that shows transformational leadership style is strongly correlated with leadership effectiveness. However, an exception showed in data suggesting that transformation and transactional leadership style overlapped and both positively impacted leadership effectiveness. I call that overlap, transact-formational leadership style. Effective leaders display aspects of both transformational leadership and transactional leadership styles. I recommend institutions considering recruiting and/or developing leaders toward these transact-formational leadership characteristics. Because age was positively correlated with leadership effectiveness but negatively (non-significantly) related to years of experience, I discussed hiring as a balance between securing leaders that have used age to garner wisdom, but need to be cautious about assuming leaders with longer experiences or service have the breadth of experience for effectiveness.

Subject Area

Educational leadership; Leadership; Seventh-day Adventist universities and colleges--Administration; North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists; General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. North American Division