Browsing Theses and Dissertations School of Social Work by Author "Peters, Sara Colby"
The Validation of a Set of Principles for Social Work LeadershipPeters, Sara Colby; Hopkins, Karen M., 1954- (2016)A recent increase in social work leadership research reveals two primary issues: 1) lack of demonstrated linkages between the social work mission and leadership theories commonly used in social work research; and 2) leadership deficit on multiple practice levels. This first part of this dissertation examines the historical evolution, current trajectory, and consequences of these issues, and the negative outcomes for the profession, its employees, and its clients. The primary purpose of this dissertation research, to develop a model and measure of social work leadership to address challenges in leadership practice and research, is fulfilled using the following methodological steps: 1) extraction of social work leadership principles from a systematic theoretical literature review, empirical literature reviews, and focus group; 2) development of a definition of social work leadership; 3) a review of leadership measures that have been used in social work research to determine if one or more could be used as the basis of a social work leadership measure; 4) development of a measure of social work leadership based on the leadership principles, with the addition of a set of items measuring respondents' perceptions of positive change facilitation for clients; and 5) statistical validation of the leadership measure. Exploratory factor analysis, used to validate the measure, produced a five factor model provisionally labeled organizational health, change management, community relations, relational empowerment, and social work ethics. Multiple regression analyses are performed to assess the relationship between the validated leadership measure and respondents' perceptions of client outcomes. All subscales, except for change management, predicted a significant amount of variance in their corresponding change score. The five subscales together accounted for about 50% of the variance in the total change score. The conceptual meaning behind each of the five subscales is explored with the use of supporting literature and results of the statistical analyses are used to develop implications for research and practice. Potential uses of the final leadership measure and model in addressing the previously identified research and practice challenges are discussed.