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Perceptions of the Applicability of Transformational Leadership Behavior to the Leader Role of Academic Department Chairs: A Study of Selected Universities in Virginia Open Access

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Abstract Despite the importance of chairs' leadership role in colleges and universities, there is not a theoretical framework through which to guide their leadership behaviors. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions of faculty and chairs regarding the applicability of transformational leadership behaviors conceptualized by the Roueche et al. (1989) model to the leader role of academic department chairs. This study addressed the research question: How do faculty and chairs perceive the applicability of transformational leadership behaviors conceptualized by the Roueche et al. (1989) model to the leader role of academic department chairs? The research question was operationalized by three subquestions that investigated the applicability of the themes (vision, influence orientation, motivation orientation, people orientation, and values orientation) identified by the Roueche et al. model. The post-positivist paradigm of inquiry guided the design and procedures used to address the research questions. The study used a cross-sectional survey design to collect quantitative data. Data were collected from a stratified random sample of 86 department chairs and 302 faculty members from the three institutions (Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, and the College of William and Mary) granted the highest level of autonomy under the Virginia Higher Education Restructuring Act. The quantitative data indicated that generally, faculty and chairs perceived the Roueche et al. model applicable to the role of department chairs. The theme scores ranged from 8.22-8.71 on a 10-point scale. Faculty rated the people orientation theme highest (8.71) and chairs rated the values orientation theme highest (8.71). The data also indicated that there were no statistical differences between the perceptions of faculty and chairs of the applicability of the themes to the leader role of chairs. The findings were consistent with previous empirical research regarding transformational leadership in academic environments and theoretical research regarding academic leadership. The results of the study have implications for department chair selection, evaluation, and professional development.

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