What was the publication date of the study
What was the publication date of the study?
What was the purpose of the study?
The purpose of the study was clearly stated with a bold central heading. Zaharis, Sims, Safer, Tagaris, Hendricks, Sekulich, & Glasgow (2017) stated:
The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and understanding of school leaders as they relate to exemplary leadership and spiritual leadership practices to inform a more holistic model of educational leadership. The intent of this study is to provide insight into a more holistic approach to leadership that recognizes the need for balance between the tensions inherent in the pursuit of desired school goals with the need to prioritize the well-being and care of the human spirit. (p. 80)
The overarching purpose and intent of the study was attained. This study will lend itself
well as a resource because the authors’ topic and topic of my interest are relative. Key words and phrases are spirituality, spiritual leadership, exemplary leadership practices, and educational leadership.
What were the research questions within the study?
The focus of the study was predominately on school leaders’ perceptions and practices of spiritual leadership and exemplary leadership practices that aligned within the dimensions. The four research questions of the study are as follows:
1. What are the perceptions and practices of school leaders that align with the dimensions of school leadership?
2. What are the perceptions and practices of school leaders that align with the dimensions of exemplary practices of leaders?
3. How do the spiritual leadership and exemplary practices and perceptions of school leaders relate to each other?
4. How might the convergence or divergence of spiritual leadership and exemplary practices as shown by the participants of this study inform a more holistic model of educational leadership?
My interest is in part the third and fourth posed research questions. The part of research question three of interest is how spiritual leadership and exemplary leadership practices relate to each other. Research question four is of interest because I will propose the question “How might the convergence or divergence of spiritual leadership and exemplary leadership practices of Executive Directors/CEO’s of 501(c)3 community organizations inform a more holistic model of educational leadership?
What are the theoretical and conceptual frameworks used in the study?
Spiritual leadership and exemplary leadership practices are the theoretical and conceptual frameworks used in this study. Please refer to the appendix for a thorough description of the authors’ theoretical and conceptual framework for the study.
What type of methodology was used in the study? (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods)
A qualitative research design was used to investigate perceptions and practices of school leaders concerning spiritual leadership and exemplary leadership practices. Collected data was assessed through inductive analysis. The data was triangulated by semi-structured interviews, observations, and participant artifacts. The researcher took notes, recorded, and transcribed interviews allowing accuracy to be checked by participants.
What was the sample size of the study?
The sample was composed of six subjects from a group of 80 doctoral students. The students were enrolled at a Midwestern religiously affiliated university.
What are the demographics of the subjects?
The subjects were Principals and Assistant Principals of grades K-12 from public and private schools. There were three male subjects between the ages of 34-43 and three female subjects between the ages 30-56.
What were the results of the study?
The study showed spiritually connected leaders are exemplary and exemplary leaders are spiritually connected. Data analysis revealed that exemplary leadership practices were derived through firm spiritual core values serving as a foundation to effective practices of school leadership. These exemplary leaders integrated spiritual leadership that demonstrated care and concern for the well-being of self and other. Spiritual and exemplary leadership proved to be complimentary by necessitating care for the heart and soul in quest of meeting goals.
The union of spiritual and exemplary leadership consistently displayed elevated levels of productivity, achievement, and the well-being and care for others. School visions were stewarded with higher meaning and purpose. This style of leader demonstrated the ability to challenge the process and were innovative leaders. An unanticipated finding exposed inner life and outer life balance necessary to positively influence the leader’s ability to balance work and personal life. Finally, achievement and well-being are equally important to the school improvement process.
What were the implication of the study and suggestions for future research?
Current thinking about school improvement needs to use a multi-dimensional approach. Students need supported by a more holistic view of leadership. Zaharis, Sims, Safer, Tagaris, Hendricks, Sekulich, ; Glasgow (2017) stated:
When the core spiritual values of fairness, kindness, trust, respect, honesty and integrity are embedded in the practice of exemplary leadership, care for the human spirit and well-being is ensured and becomes the inspiration needed to continue the struggle for shared aspirations. Learning how to create intentional time and space throughout the day to recollect thought processes through quiet, spiritual and mindful reflection may help school leaders refresh and refocus on the tangible impact that their levels of stress have upon the well-being of themselves and others. (p. 90)
Early burnout is a substantial concern for school leaders. Most diseases are tracked back to chronic levels of stress. A healthy life style for school leaders should be promoted through policy and proactively implemented through wellness programs.
What were relevant references or footnotes worthy of further investigation?
There were 19 relevant references of interest. Eleven of the 19 relevant articles were of high interest for review.