Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Albert J. Lott


There is a gap between a theoretically ideal pastoral term (ten years) and the more frequently observed term of less than three years. This study is part of a series of studies undertaken to determine 1) whether pastors and parishioners differ in their expectations of church leadership along Transformational and Transactional lines, 2) whether that difference is associated with tension in pastor/parishioner relations, and 3) whether that tension causes pastors to have brief tenures.

This research operationalizes and extends the Transformational and Transactional leadership perspectives into a religious setting. A review of the social science literature, as well as, the Biblical literature suggested the particular importance of the Transformational leader providing a Model, being involved in a wide Breadth of interests, and Persevering. The Transactional leader, on the other hand, is less concerned about providing an example, is interested only in a few specific areas, and is likely to conform. The first hypothesis was that pastors would respond more Transformationally relative to parishioners regarding this basic leadership distinction. This basic distinction was addressed through a Likert-type scale in which participants described a "successful pastor" and an "unsuccessful pastor"; as hypothesized pastors describe "successful pastors" more Transformationally than do parishioners and parishioners describe "unsuccessful pastors" more Transformationally than do pastors. Three sub-dimensions of Transformationalism (Modeling, Perseverance, and Breadth of Involvement) developed for this series of studies were also investigated; the second hypothesis was that pastors would respond more Transformationally relative to parishioners on these sub-dimensions. The second hypothesis was not supported. The third hypothesis was that parishioners more frequently than pastors would relate Transactional rather than Transformational behaviors to reduced tensions; i.e., that parishioners more often than pastors would see pastors' emphasis on Transformational concerns rather than the parishioners' Transactional needs resulting in tension. The third hypothesis, which was addressed through an open- ended question, was supported. Responses elsewhere in the questionnaire are compared to the responses to the open-ended question in a qualitative way; this comparison, which provides data on pastor/parishioner tension, was pursued without hypothesis. Finally, pastor/parishioner views on a sub-set of the Modeling sub-dimension, a "love factor", were clarified.



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