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The Impact of Transformational Leadership on the Job Satisfaction of Certified Athletic Trainers in the NCAA Division I Setting

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TITLE The Impact of Transformational Leadership on the Job Satisfaction of Certified Athletic Trainers in the NCAA Division I Setting
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Unpublished Master’s Thesis: May 2009

The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of transformational leadership behaviors of Head Athletic Trainers (HATC's) of Division I, NCAA institutions, and identify how these practices affect the job satisfaction of the subordinate certified athletic trainers (ATC's) in their departments.

Surveys were sent by email to 1,110 ATC's at Division I institutions, of which 398 responded (36%). They were asked to evaluate the leadership behaviors of their HATC's using the Leadership Practices Inventory-Observer, and then to assess their current satisfaction with their job by completing the Job Satisfaction Survey (Spector, 1994). The mean age of the respondents was 31 years of age, with nearly an average of eight-years of work experience. There were 180 men and 213 female in the sample.

The leadership practice of Enabling Others to Act was used significantly more than the other four leadership practices. Modeling followed next in frequency and then Challenging, Encouraging and Inspiring. Satisfaction with pay was correlated with Encouraging the Heart while satisfaction with promotion was significantly correlated with Enabling Others to Act, and Challenging the Process. Satisfaction with one's immediate supervisor was significantly impacted by the leadership practices of Enabling Others to Act, Modeling the Way, and Challenging the Process. The job facet of fringe benefits was significantly influenced by the leadership practice of Enabling.

The leadership practices of Encouraging and Enabling were predictors of satisfaction with contingent rewards. Enabling was also significantly correlated with the job facet of operating conditions. Job satisfaction with co-workers was significantly impacted by Modeling and Challenging. The job facet of nature of work (the satisfaction with the type of work being done) was significantly impacted by the leadership practices of Modeling and Enabling. Finally, Modeling was significantly correlated with satisfaction with the job facet of communication.

The author concludes: "The practices of modeling the way and enabling others to act appear to be strong areas of leadership for HATC's and contribute to the overall job satisfaction of ATC's in this setting. The other three areas of transformational leadership have not permeated in to the HATC position yet. It may greatly benefit athletic training and sports medicine departments to have leaders that practice the transformational leadership practices of encouraging the heart, challenging the process, and inspiring a shared vision, more often. By adding these additional skills, the departments will be more likely to work synergistically, with a clear vision of always improving the level of care given to patients, and a better quality of life for its employees" (p. 33).