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Developing Socially Intelligent Leaders Through Field Education: An evaluation study of behavioral competency education methods

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ABSTRACT To date, less than 20 publications describe leadership development programs that demonstrate quantitative influence on team effectiveness or objective improvement in learned leadership competencies. More research is required to seek education strategies able to demonstrate measurable outcomes. This mixed-methods study evaluated the outcomes of an adaption of Social Work’s Field Education pedagogy to develop leadership competencies for front line managers in a healthcare company (N=56). This mixed methods study evaluated a participant survey, two group interviews, related company records and three culture surveys. Linear regression analysis was conducted on voluntary turnover trendlines. The results of the research survey confirmed front line leaders with adequate conceptual knowledge and high motivation retain an ongoing need for procedural and metacognitive knowledge to consistently deploy EI-SI in their roles. Study survey revealed that participants perceived their personal effectiveness to have improved an average of 3.2 areas post LFE program participation. The most commonly named areas of improvement included meeting daily expectations, operational quality, and managing relationships. Interview trends also revealed perceptions of enhanced organizational effectiveness in direct-report teams following leaders’ participation in the LFE program. Company records during the intervention period confirmed improved report submission compliance and higher cooperation levels in these teams. Linear regression analysis of turnover records revealed a statistically significant drop in voluntary turnover (p = .001) following initiation of the LFE program. Study trends suggest the LFE framework has promise as an effective pedagogy to develop SI behavioral competencies in leaders and effectiveness in their teams. The dissertation concludes with recommendations on how to implement and evaluate an LFE workforce program.
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