An initial examination of leadership and team communication behaviors within the organizational environment of a dental practice

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this study was to discover, through qualitative analysis, the current leadership behaviors and team communication practices of today's dentists and their teams. In-depth interviews of the/a dentist, the most senior, and the newest staff member were conducted in each of ten dental practices. Simple thematic analysis found dentist leadership behaviors as consisting of: heirarchical or team-oriented organizational role perspectives, proactive or laissez-faire leadership styles, and autocratic or participative decision-making processes. Findings concluded that the leadership style of the dentist, to a great degree, affected the types of communication practices employed within the organization. Subsequently, the interview language of each dental team was analyzed using Donnellon's (1996) American model of team work to discover the relationship between decision-making processes and communication patterns and the resulting degrees of team interdependence, identity, social distance, and conflict management style. The most significant findings in this study were that the inclusion of staff in the decision-making process along with the facilitation of open communication and accepted methods of collaboration and confrontation as forms of conflict management are the two leadership and communication behaviors that create a real team culture.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Health Sciences, Dentistry, Mass Communications, Sociology, Organizational