Moving towards inclusion : servant leadership and the aged care resident

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While it is accepted that the style of leadership in organisations has a profound effect on the welfare, satisfaction and productivity of staff, to date there has been little mention of the effect of leadership on the client stakeholder. This work involves a large provider organisation in the not-for-profit Faith-based aged and community care sector, and the impact of Servant Leadership on the experience of residents in that organisation’s care. The leadership literature provided little evidence about leadership from the client stakeholders’ or consumers’ perspective. I explored the origin and development of FaithCare, its adoption of a particular leadership model and how that leadership model is transmitted to the residents. My philosophical stance was one of pragmatism because of its applicability to the real world and its outcome orientation. Pragmatism aims to create desirable communities. This is both the stated and implicit aim of FaithCare and it would be expected to be that of organisations generally. The methodology adopted for this research rested on my pragmatic approach and involved mixed methods research, incorporating grounded theory into some of its elements. It is said that pragmatism has a philosophical foothold in the mixed methods research domain. Using mixed methods research enabled both qualitative and quantitative assumptions to be drawn, different world views to be taken into account and different forms of data collection and analysis to be used. Residents’ interviews exposed a lack of participation in areas they considered important to them, despite the feedback systems FaithCare has put in place to record residents’ comments and complaints. This thesis established that organisational culture is the way in which leadership is transmitted via the staff to residents in this organisation. Analysis of the data collected revealed that although the leadership model adopted by FaithCare is ideal for staff, the contribution of today’s residents in this not-for-profit Faith-based organisation is compromised by the model. Further, it was found that the residents of the future, the baby boomers, will expect a degree of empowerment that FaithCare seems not to be aware it should provide. The outcome of this work is twofold: • to add to the existing body of leadership research by placing the ‘third-party stakeholder’ within Russell and Morse’s (2002) Servant Leadership Model; and • to develop the idea of ‘Successful Presence’, in which residents are potentially able to achieve a feeling of quiet satisfaction and peace within their community.
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