A Comparative Study of Hospital Administrators in Saskatchewan with Various Levels of Education
Danchilla, Harold W.
The main purpose of this study was to determine what influence levels of education had on the leadership behavior of hospital administrators in the Province of Saskatchewan. One of the contributing factors of an occupational group becoming more professionalized involves increased levels of education. The levels of education range'from apprenticeship to Hnon-credit" continuing education to certificate programs to undergraduate degrees and finally to graduate degrees. For the purpose of this study, the apprenticeship and continuing education categories were combined as were the undergraduate and graduate categories. The leadership behavior of the hospital administrators was assessed by department heads reporting to the administrators. In small hospitals where department heads do not exist, the staff reporting directly to the administrator were utilized to assess leadership behavior. The study was limited to the leadership behavior of administrators of acute short-term care hospitals in the Province of Saskatchewan. Assistant hospital administrators were also included in the study to increase the size of the population. The study involved a total population survey. Leadership behavior was broken down into the leadership dimensions of Consideration, Initiating Structure, Innovation and Executive Professional Leadership. The Consideration and Initiating Structure dimensions were measured by the Halpin and Winer's (1957) Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire consisting of forty questions. Six questions were added to assess the dimension of Innovation. An additional six questions were added to determine Executive Professional Leadership. The study also examined the effect of personal and non-personal variables on leadership behavior. The personal variables consisted of age and work experience (in the position of hospital administrator). The non-personal variables consisted of bed size of hospital and the number of administrative support staff (department heads). The questionnaires and the data therein were analyzed. The hypotheses relating to differences between the mean scores on the leadership dimensions of Consideration, Initiating Structure and Executive Professional Leadership for each level of education were rejected. However, a difference did exist between the levels of education for Innovation. The personal variables did not correlate to leadership while non-personal variables did correlate. This study agrees with other studies which conclude that leadership is not a factor of personal traits but rather is situational in nature. The Certificate Program group of administrators had the highest mean scores on the majority of leadership dimensions. The Certificate Program administrators also had the highest percentage of their group in the high Consideration, high Initiating Structure quadrant of the Ohio State Quadrant Scheme.