Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Monte E. Piliawsky


This study examined the leadership styles of community college presidents and chancellors in the Midwestern part of the United States on leadership styles they embraced based on their personal characteristics, age, gender, education and experience in higher education, location, and other prevailing personal characteristics. The three leadership styles measured in the study were transformational, transactional and passive avoidant. Three research questions were posed for the study. A total of 176 presidents in five states were sent surveys. Of this number, 82 (46.6%) completed and returned the MLQ questionnaire and the investigator-developed demographic survey. Survey findings suggested participating presidents appeared to favor a transformational leadership style, with the passive avoidant styles least preferred. Comparison on the three leadership styles by size of the student body for each president was not statistically significant. College demographics were not statistically significant as a predictor of transformational, transactional, or passive avoidant leadership styles. Conversely, years employed in higher education was a statically significant predictor of transformational leadership styles. Community college presidents who had been in higher education for longer periods of time had less positive perceptions of transformational leadership styles. Years employed in a community college and gender were statistically significant predictors of passive avoidant leadership styles. The longer community college presidents were employed in a community college the less they favored a passive avoidant leadership style. Findings also suggested that female community college presidents were more likely to have higher scores for passive avoidant leadership styles. The findings of this study supported the argument to begin community college leadership training early. Community college boards and stakeholders need to implement programs for community college educators interested in leadership positions. These boards need to be aware of the type of leadership styles that are most desirable when making hiring decisions. Faced with impending retirements within the ranks of current community college presidents, these programs could serve a vital role in identifying qualified applicants for pending vacancies.