Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Higher Education Administration EdD

First Advisor

Rudolf E. Klimes

Second Advisor

Lyndon G. Furst

Third Advisor

Ruth Murdoch


Problem. The research literature in educational administration describes few studies directed toward identifying the relationship of specific characteristics of administrators to their performance levels. Yet such research would be useful in providing information relevant to the educational preparation and selection- of administrators and of value to practicing administrators. The purpose of this study was to Identify the relationship of the leadership characteristics of academic deans in Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities to their performance levels.

Method. Six research hypotheses were formulated for determining the relationship between the deans' performance levels and their leadership characteristics and for testing the differences between selected groups of deans with regards to leadership character­istics and performance.

Eight North American and sixteen overseas institutions participated in the study. The deans' leadership characteristics were rated by 196 respondents including subordinates of the dean and randomly selected departmental chairpersons and/or faculty members. Their performance was evaluated by 209 respondents in­cluding superordinates, peers, and randomly selected departmental chairpersons and/or faculty members.

Two instruments were used in the study. The Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire— Form XII (LBDQ) developed at Ohio State University was used to assess twelve leadership character­ istics of the deans. The researcher prepared the Academic Dean's Functions Questionnaire (ADFQ) to determine the expected functions of the dean at each institution and to evaluate the dean's per­formance of each expected function.

Spearman's coefficient of rank correlation rho (p) was used to determine the relationship of the deans' ranking by median scores on the ADFQ to their ranking by median scores on each characteristic of the LBDQ. The mean scores on the LBDQ were examined for significant differences between the following groups of deans: (1)the upper third in performance versus the lower third, (2) the upper half of the North American deans in performance versus the upper half of the overseas deans, and (3) the recently appointed deans versus those who had served for one year or longer in their present positions.

Factor analysis was used to reduce the twelve character­ istics of the LBDQ to two dimensions of leadership and varimax rotation was performed to determine the loadings of each characteristic on these factors.

Results. The following eight characteristics listed in the order of the strength of the relationship were significantly related to the deans' performance levels: Predictive Accuracy, Demand Reconciliation, Initiating Structure, Role Assumption, Persuasiveness, Superior Orientation, Integration,and Consideration. There were significant differences in the mean scores of high and low performance deans on all of these same characteristics except Superior Orientation. Recently appointed deans exhibited significantly more of the characteristic Role Assumption than did deans with one or more years of experience in their present position.

When factor analysis and varimax rotation were performed on the subscales of the LBDO. eight leadership characteristics loaded on an institutional-oriented factor and four loaded on a person-oriented factor.

Conclusions. The findings of the study support the following conclusions

1. The leadership characteristics of deans have a bearing upon the effectiveness with which they perform their functions.

2. High- and low-performance deans exhibit significant differences in leadership behavior.

3. The leadership behavior of deans demonstrates the two-dimensional theories that view leadership as consisting of system- oriented and person-oriented dimensions. The deans in this study were strongly system-oriented.

The close relationship between the deans' leadership characteristics and their performance levels has important implications for the educational preparation, selection, and practice of academic deans.

Subject Area

Deans (Education), Seventh-day Adventist universities and colleges

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