The impact of university religious affiliation on presidential leadership practices

Richard David Savior, Fordham University


Colleges and universities in the United States face a set of significant and progressive challenges requiring exemplary senior leadership. The purpose of this study was to measure and analyze the senior leadership practices at private/secular and private/religious affiliated colleges and universities to identify differences in leadership practices as they relate to the personal and institutional demographics of the respondents to improve organizational effectiveness. The study focused on five predictive variables of exemplary leadership: behaviors that clarify values and set an example for others, behaviors that envision the future for an organization and that are able to enlist others to shared or common aspirations, behaviors that seek opportunities for change, innovation and growth, behaviors that foster collaboration and sharing of power, and behaviors that recognize the contributions of others through rewards. The findings for this quantitative research project were derived from a survey distributed to 200 university presidents. The study found that while institutional affiliation had little bearing on the specific leadership practices, sense of job satisfaction and efficacy of the respondents, those respondents from religious institutions reported a higher commitment to institutional mission and values. Experience as president was highly correlated to job satisfaction and effectiveness, which suggests that time in the job matters. Additionally, gender differences were found for specific leadership practices; there were, however, some limitations in the measures of job satisfaction, efficacy, and commitment to institutional mission and values.

Subject Area

Higher Education Administration|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Savior, Richard David, "The impact of university religious affiliation on presidential leadership practices" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3608445.