Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kortegast, Carrie A.

Second Advisor

Mac, Jacqueline

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


The Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education requires Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program directors to have the necessary academic and professional qualifications to lead their programs, but many directors lack awareness of their leadership styles. The purpose of this quantitative descriptive correlational study was to examine the leadership styles of current DPT program directors within the United States, analyze the relationship between DPT program directors’ self-perceptions of their leadership style and effectiveness, and understand a relationship between leadership styles with race and ethnicity.Methods: Data were collected using the 45-item Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire 5X Short Leader Form developed by Avolio and Bass, which measures transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles and the leadership outcomes of extra effort, effectiveness, and satisfaction, and a Demographic Profile Questionnaire. The surveys were distributed electronically to 247 DPT program directors. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Pearson correlations. Results: Eighty-three DPT program directors responded to the survey (33.60% response rate). The results suggested a positive correlation that DPT program directors perceived themselves as having a transformational leadership style and to a lesser extent laissez-faire leadership styles. There was a statistically significant positive correlation (p < 0.01) between the transformational leadership factors of inspirational motivation and the leadership outcome of effectiveness. There was a statistically significant positive correlation (p < 0.01) among the transformational leadership factors of idealized influence attributed, inspirational motivation, individual consideration; the transactional factor of contingent reward; and the leadership outcome of satisfaction. There was no correlation between the remaining leadership factors management-by-exception active, management-by-exception-passive, and laissez-faire and leadership outcomes. A relationship between leadership style with race and ethnicity was not established. Discussion: The results of this study suggest that current DPT program directors perceive themselves as consistently implementing a transformational leadership style. DPT program directors exhibited some characteristics of transactional leadership style factor contingent reward, but laissez-faire leadership was generally not exhibited. A relationship between leadership style with race and ethnicity could not be determined due to non-response bias. Implications for practice and research are discussed. Conclusion: This study is known to be among the first to explore the leadership styles of DPT program directors. Further development of the transformational leadership style and behaviors of DPT program directors should be considered a priority in DPT programs to improve leadership extra effort effectiveness, and satisfaction.

Keywords: Leadership styles, Physical therapy program director, Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), Transformational leadership


110 pages




Northern Illinois University

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