12.2 Dissertation Notices

Kooreman, E. (2018). A study of collaborative skills of graduates of a national, faith-based, leadership development program. Ph.D., Andrews University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 10751259.

Collaboration is often cited as a long-term benefit of participation in leadership development programs. Successful collaboration requires unique leadership skills which rely on trust and influence rather than authority and position takes place over time. Evaluation of leadership development programs that focus on outcomes after the passage of time is rare, making it difficult to confirm if a relationship between the collaborative skills taught and measurable collaboration activity exists.

This study was able to draw on the alumni of the DeVos Urban Leadership initiative, a national faith-based leadership development program that maintains on-going relationships with its graduates. Alumni from a ten-year period were surveyed using a pre-existing instrument called the collaborative Leadership Self-Assessment and a collaboration activity measurement designed for the study. An analysis of the effect of the collaborative leadership skills and demographics of the participants on collaboration activity was conducted using Pearson correlation,
multiple regression analysis, and one-way analysis of variance.

All of the collaborative leadership skills had a significant relationship to reported collaboration activity. The ability of the leader to bring clarity to a shared vision and create action plans to mobilize people had the most direct contact to collaboration activity. Leaders who showed a willingness to share power and influence also had a secure connection to collaboration activity. Analysis of demographic segments of the study participants showed there was a significant difference between men and women, with men reporting collaboration more often than women. There was also a considerable difference based on education level. Alumni who had no college degree reported more collaboration activity than those who had a graduate degree.

Plantak, Z. (2018). Ethical analysis of abuses of power in Christian leadership—A case study of “kingly power” in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Ph.D., Andrews University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 10744387.

Problem and purpose: Power is an integral aspect of all types of leadership. The term “abuse of power”Âť describes an inappropriate and corrupt application of power. The exercise of power becomes an abuse of power when a person in a position of power acts in a manner that cannot be justified in terms of truth or morality (goodness, kindness, justice, or obedience). While abuses of power have always been a part of Christian leadership—including Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership—no scholarly study on the moral dimensions of abuses of power in the Adventist Church has been done. Although such abuses are well known, without an ethical analysis of these experiences, valuable lessons of how christian leaders might deal with the corruptive nature of power cannot be learned. An analysis of the misuse of power is a necessary first step to learn how to avoid the traps of power abuse and to find possible solutions for enhancing Christian leadership.

Methodology: The ethical analysis in this study concentrated on only one aspect of leadership—the misuse of power. Since the abuse of power is a deviation from authentic Christian leadership and morally inappropriate, the ethical analysis did not include common moral dilemmas such as discerning between good and bad, or right and wrong. Instead, the analysis in this study searched for the causes of the abuses of power.

As a case study, this study investigates the “kingly power” incident in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It analyses the leadership of two prominent leaders involved in the controversy, John Harvey Kellogg, leader of the medical branch of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and Arthur Grosvenor Daniells, leader of the ministerial branch and president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists.

Based on its causes, this research categorizes the abuse of power into the following seven groups, abuses related to: misuse of authority, mistreatment of subordinates, preservation of power, misconduct of a leader, corrupted character traits, ignoring Christian principles, and misplaced responsibility, authenticity, and presence.

Conclusions: Some proposed measures for their prevention follow the analysis of the abuses of power. Preclusion starts with the awareness that spiritual leaders are servants of God who are in service to His people. It requires transparency and a clear, limited mandate of the leader. Additionally, subordinates and leaders are supposed to act as checks and balances for each other. Leaders must be reminded that they are not irreplaceable. Practical solutions for the problem would include limiting a leader’s time in office, mandating changes or rotations in the leadership position, clearly defining the boundaries and limits of a particular position, and educating leaders regarding the extent and limitations of their position. Consequently, sharing responsibility, empowering the whole body of the church, and making decisions through committees have the purpose of shifting power from the hands of the individual to the entire church. The purpose of the election process is to elect a leader with the clear principles and who practices them.

While the Seventh-day Adventist Church attempted to deal with the abuses in its leadership by implementing changes in organizational structure, the discrepancy between Christocentric theory and abusive practice proves that abuses of power depend on the personal conduct of the leader and on how much his subordinates allow that leader to exercise such inordinate power. The steps suggested in this study are a simple attempt to propose some potential solutions, to start a constructive discussion of practical steps to prevent power abuse.

Primeau, P. (2018). Developing successful leaders using spirituality in the workplace. D.B.A., Baker College (Michigan), ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 10973439.

Many leaders fail to see the additional value their organizations gain by incorporating spiritual leadership practices. This problem affects employees and leadership because it can prevent a consensus that could boost morale and productivity within the organization. Among the contributors to this problem are fear of retaliation and workplace lawsuits, leaders’ lack of integrity, and a lack of leadership skills needed to inspire employees. Many leaders are unaware of or have not considered the role spirituality plays in leadership. The study addresses the relationship between spirituality in the workplace and leadership success, the process an organization can use to train leaders to become spiritual, and how to encourage spiritual leadership. The study was supported by the transformational leadership theory, spiritual leadership theory, and the servant leadership philosophy. The research design was a qualitative exploratory case study. This sample consisted of 12 individuals who were in leadership/instructor roles at various Christian universities and leaders in higher-level roles at spiritual organizations, such as churches. Data were collected during face-to-face interviews. The interviews were transcribed and responses evolved into themes for each research question. The identified themes promote the relationship between spirituality and leadership and suggest a leader’s success can be measured by his or her own spirituality and the ability to incorporate this into his/her style of leadership. Spiritual leaders support employees by offering support that in turn increases organizational morale and productivity. Spiritual leadership theory should be considered as a leadership theory practice. This research is beneficial for organizations, leaders, and employees by promoting successful organizational outcomes, effective leadership practices, and committed productive employees.

Black, W. J. (2017). The relationship between involvement in religious student organizations and the development of socially responsible leadership capacity. Ph.D., University of Kentucky, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 10628791.

This study of 76,365 students from 82 US institutions explored the relationship between involvement in a religious student organization and student capacities for socially responsible leadership, based on the Social Change Model of Leadership (SCM). Results from t-tests found students involved in both religious and secular student organizations reported statistically significantly higher scores on all eight measures of socially responsible leadership than students engaged in only religious student organizations.

Hierarchical multiple regression models explained between 26% and 29% of the variance in student reported levels of overall socially responsible leadership. Compared to students involved in no organizations, involvement in religious only, secular only, and both religious and secular organization types were found to be negative yet statistically insignificant predictors of socially responsible leadership. The highest predictors of socially responsible leadership were precollege capacities for socially responsible leadership, number of years in school, and collegiate student organization involvement frequency.

Haines, P. L. (2017). Presidential decision-making at the Protestant Evangelical Christian college when religious values and mission are at issue and survival is in question. Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 10598971.

Like most presidents of private, residential four-year liberal arts colleges, the presidents of Protestant Evangelical Christian Colleges face an increasing number of institutional challenges, many of which threaten institutional survival. Added to their burden, however, are the unique challenges of navigating a growing number of values and missional conflicts that arise when cultural norms and related legal authority change rapidly and in a manner that is inconsistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs and those of their institutions. These cultural and legal changes present challenges to Protestant Evangelical Christian college presidents and to their personal and institutional convictions in ways that have not been experienced previously.

This study examines the thinking and decision-making of ten
Protestant Evangelical Christian College presidents who are faced with these challenges. Specifically, this study asks how the Protestant Evangelical Christian College leader has navigated the values conflicts that arise when religious beliefs and institutional mission are deemed to be inconsistent with evolving cultural norms and legal authority? Using data from one-on-one interviews with ten Christian college presidents and institutional documents from their respective institutions, this study found that these presidents (1) stay true to personal religious faith; (2) focus on and remain committed to institutional mission which, in all cases, aligned with their own personal convictions; and (3) implement a variety of operating strategies, both offensive and defensive, to address the challenges confronting them today.

Koko, A. S. (2017). The role of spirituality in the leadership style of organizational leaders. Ph.D., Capella University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 10270632.

People perceive and practice spirituality in ways that are unique and personal. Studies in the field of psychology and related psychological theories have suggested that personal spirituality and human beliefs may influence behavior, leadership styles, and the day-by-day or lived experience of organizational leaders while in their leadership role. Leaders are the image of their organizations, and their position can significantly affect the profitably and success of their organization. Understanding the role that these leaders’ everyday experiences, mind state, cognition, and perception of being spiritual play in their style of leadership becomes important. The goal of this study was to investigate how organizational leaders experience and describe the role of spirituality in their leadership style. Previous studies have been mostly quantitative, and none of the qualitative studies investigated spirituality from an experiential perspective based on the interpersonal-oriented and task-oriented leadership styles. The transcendental phenomenology research design was used to investigate the essence or meaning of these leaders’ experiences regarding their spirituality and leadership style as they were currently experiencing it. The knowledge obtained from this study explained spirituality, consciousness and cognition’s role in leadership style, which can be applied to the fields of sports, politics, organizational management, coaching, mentoring, leadership, employee recruitment, and other areas of society or within any organization where leadership performance is essential. The conclusion from this study was that organizational leaders who self-identified as being spiritual demonstrated compassion when relating to their employees and others. These organizational leaders also demonstrated core ethical values and were more interpersonal-oriented than task-oriented in their leadership style.

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