The health care expenditures in the United States are nearly 18% of the GNP and the industry employs over 12 million workers nationwide. Health care doctor associations play an important role in determining policy, research, cost, access, quality, and methods of delivery within the industry. An association’s success is dependent upon competent leadership, from both salaried executive staff and volunteer member leaders. Assessing and analyzing preferred leader behavior in a prominent health care association is, therefore, the subject of this study. Evaluating leadership styles and behaviors can reveal where gaps in leadership skills and training might exist. Using the DISC psychological assessment, a sample of 88 volunteer leader –doctors serving in a large health care association were studied to determine their preferred leadership behaviors. The results were compared with leadership behaviors found in other settings, such as business and politics. The doctor–leaders scored higher in the compliance and influence parameters while leaders in other fields scored higher in the dominance and influence parameters. Association leaders, therefore, appear to be less authoritarian, leading from a position of rules and standards, not unlike other technical professions. It was thought that this difference could be attributed to conditioning during their professional education and to the nature of their profession. Understanding the nature of the doctor-preferred behaviors is considered important for intra-organizational communication, leadership development, training, and programming. The association volunteer leaders consisted of mixed-gender and generation members and it was assumed that there would be significant variation in styles in their preferred leadership behaviors. Profiles of each were analyzed and it was determined that there was no statistically significant difference in their assessment scores. This, too, was thought to be the result of conditioning in as much as research has established that there are significant gender and generational differences in leadership behavior and communication styles in other arenas.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Physician executives -- Attitudes; Leadership; Medical care -- United States

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Stephens, Ronald;