Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Janie Butts

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Patsy Anderson

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Bonnie Harbaugh

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Lachel Story

Committee Member 4 Department


Committee Member 5

J.T Johnson

Committee Member 5 Department

Educational Studies and Research


The purpose of this study is to identify leadership practices of nursing instructors in the southern U.S.; and to determine if instructor leadership practices differ from the ‘norm’ leadership practices reported by the LPI instrument (Posner 2008), or from the practices observed by their matched students (observer version). Further, the purpose is to determine the relationship between instructors self-reported leadership practices (self-version) and student observed practices based on institution type, and instructor education level. The consisted of a group of instructors and students that were primarily Caucasian and female. The demographics for the instructors and students were similar to the demographics of all nurses in the state. Statistical analysis by way of a t-test was performed to determine if any significant differences exist between observed nursing instructor leadership practices and the observed practices of leaders as reported by the LPI instrument. The results indicate that nursing instructors in this study display 4 of the 5 exemplary leadership practices, challenging the process t (42) = 3.27, p = .002, inspiring a shared vision t (42) = 4.89, p < .001, modeling the way t (42) = 4.15, p < .001, and encouraging the heart t (42) = 4.23, p < .001, at a statistically higher rate than the ‘norm’ for leaders as reported by the LPI instrument (Posner, 2008). No other statistical significance was noted however, a trend was determined that may be academically significant. Those instructors holding doctorate degrees were rated by students and rated themselves as practicing transformational leadership as measured by the LPI with the five practices of exemplary leadership at a higher rate than instructors holding a master’s degree. This study provides some baseline from which to delve into the reasons nursing instructors may score higher than leaders in general, the differences in leadership practices by education, and the benefits that may be gained by both students and instructors should all nursing instructors demonstrate very high levels of transformational leadership practices.