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The Impact of Leadership on Community College Faculty Job Satisfaction

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TITLE The Impact of Leadership on Community College Faculty Job Satisfaction
RESEARCHER Jaime Klein & Becky Takeda-Tinker
Academic Leadership
2009, Vol. 7, No. 3

The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether a significant relationship existed between full-time business faculty members in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and the leadership practices of their direct supervisor.

This study targeted the entire population of full-time faculty members certified and currently teaching in a business-related program at one or more of the 16 colleges in the WTCS, of which 215 participated (30% response rate). They completed the Leadership Practices Inventory and the Job Satisfaction Survey (Spector, 1985). The typical respondent was female (55%), holding a master’s degree (58%), with an average age of 48 years and just over 14 years of service.

Significant positive correlations were found between the overall leadership practices of the direct supervisor and faculty satisfaction with supervision (r = .88), overall job satisfaction (r = .61), satisfaction with contingent rewards (r = .56), satisfaction with communication (r = .45), satisfaction with promotion (r = .40), satisfaction with operating conditions (r = .25), satisfaction with coworkers (r = .37), and satisfaction with the nature of the work (r = .37). No significant correlations were found between overall leadership practices and satisfaction with pay or with fringe benefits. Overall job satisfaction was not found to be related to respondent gender, age, level of education or their years of service at the current institution.

The authors point out that:

When hiring leaders to fill vacancies it is important to understand what leadership practices are related to high levels of job satisfaction among employees and hire candidates that display those leadership characteristics. This research could even provide interview questions to ask potential leaders to determine whether their leadership practices are consistent with those that relate to higher levels of job satisfaction.

When looking at faculty satisfaction issues within each college in the WTCS, it is also important to note this relationship between job satisfaction and leadership practices of the supervisor. If a department is experiencing job satisfaction problems, the leadership practices of the direct supervisor should be looked into, as the relationship is strong enough that this factor cannot be overlooked. Finally, as the sixteen colleges in the WTCS and other two-year colleges start looking to promote from within to leadership positions, training the potential candidates in the leadership practices that relate best with job satisfaction of faculty is an excellent method for ensuring effective leaders and satisfied faculty. This research may even provide the colleges with ideas for a training program for these potential internal candidates moving up to leadership positions.