Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Joyce Thomas Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten

Third Advisor

Dr. Pamela Chally


The leadership of American not-for-profit hospitals is one context in which servant-leadership finds appropriate expression. However, little research exists that explores the sources of servant-leadership within the leader, what processes leaders use to engage in servantleadership, or what impact servant-leadership has on organizations and communities. This research presents a new perspective offering insight into those questions.

The Dimensions of Servant-Leadership in American Not-for-Profit Hospitals is a qualitative study of the lives and works of four chief executive officers of successful not-for-profit health systems identified as exemplars of servant-leadership. The researcher further examined perceptions of servant-leadership among colleagues of each of the four CEOs and their health systems.

The findings of the study indicated that the common denominators of servant-leadership, as perceived by those served by these four CEOs and their organizations, are that the people grew as individuals; the people felt that they were healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, and more likely themselves to become servants. The servant-leader CEOs gave strong evidence of a group-oriented approach to decision making. They fostered strong organizational involvement in programs of community betterment, they each had a strong commitment to continuing education for their associates, and they demonstrated in all their activities a great love and compassion in caring for the health of their communities. Finally, the study offers valuable insights into servant-leadership which might be useful in the postsecondary education of future healthcare leaders.

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