Conflict Management Styles of Pastors and Organizational Servant Leadership: A Descriptive Study
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SubjectConflict management--Religious aspects--Baptists
The purpose of this descriptive correlational study was to examine the relationship between the conflict management styles among senior pastors and the perceived organizational servant leadership tendencies in their churches. This study should help senior pastors to understand how their conflict management styles and servant leadership behaviors may relate to the organizational servant leadership tendencies in their churches so that they may improve the congregational health and effectiveness of their churches. This research presented theological foundation about servant leadership by extracting biblical principles from two Old Testament and six New Testament passages: 1 Samuel 15:22, Micah 6:8, Matthew 5:1-12, 20:20-28, Mark 9:33-37, John 12:20-26, 13:1-35, and Philippians 2:1-11. It was followed by a detailed discussion on the theoretical foundation of servant leadership and the Organizational Leadership Assessment (OLA) instrument (Laub 1999) for measuring organizational servant leadership tendency. A theological foundation of conflict management and a discussion on the Rahim Organizational Conflict Instrument II (ROCI-II) (Rahim 2001) for measuring the level of the five interpersonal conflict management styles (integrating, obliging, dominating, avoiding, and compromising) were also provided. The research instrument was a Web-based composite survey that consisted of (1) a 9-item demographic questionnaire, (2) the 28-item ROCI-II Form-C, and (3) the 66-item OLA. The research population was limited to the senior pastors of the 44,848 member churches of the 1,182 associations in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). With this population, a minimum response rate of 381 surveys was needed for this study to achieving a 95% confidence level with a confidence interval of ±5%. Cluster sampling on the 1,182 SBC associations was used to obtain a smaller but sufficient sample frame of 2,562 churches. A total of 406 usable responses were collected and analyzed. Pearson r was used to analyze the collected data in order to answer the research questions. It was found that (1) there existed a statistically significant, positive, and weak correlation between the level of organizational servant leadership tendency of a church and the integrating style (r = 0.314, p = 0.000); (2) there was no statistically significant correlation between the organizational servant leadership tendency of a church and the obliging style (r = 0.064, p = 0.202); (3) there existed a statistically significant, positive, and very weak correlation between the organizational servant leadership tendency of a church and the compromising style (r = 0.106, p = 0.033); (4) there was no statistically significant correlation between the organizational servant leadership tendency of a church and the dominating style (r = -0.052, p = 0.292); and (5) there existed a statistically significant, inverse, and weak correlation between the organizational servant leadership tendency of a church and the avoiding style (r = -0.200, p = 0.000). The findings implied that as pastors embrace the integrating style and refrain from the avoiding style when handling interpersonal conflict in pastoral ministry, they model Jesus' character directly to the parties involved and indirectly to their congregations. This is discipleship at its core, and it has a positive influence on the servant orientation of their congregations.