Phenomenological Study on Healthcare Worker's Perceptions of Employee Engagement, Servant Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Phenomenological Study on Healthcare Worker's Perceptions of Employee Engagement, Servant Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Author: 
LaTrice D. Snodgrass
Program of study: 
D.H.A.
Abstract: 
Health care organizations are plagued by increasingly high levels of employee turnover particularly in their front line workers. Indeed, the lack of employee engagement is costing organizations from 35% to 50% of their payrolls and is a primary factor in their absorbent turnover rates (Gopal, 2006). To curb costly turnover in health care organizations, this study sought to gain a better understanding of the lived experiences and perceptions of front line health care employees who often leave health care organizations prematurely. Using face-to-face semistructured interviews, the study explored employee engagement, servant leadership and emotional intelligence in twenty-four front line workers (primarily working in a clinical support capacity). Participants’ responses were audio recorded, transcribed and organized using NVivo 10 ® software to ensure accuracy. Responses were analyzed and bracketed into meaningful units using a seven-step, modified van Kaam phenomenological approach (Moustakas, 1994). The study identified six central themes: (a) concept of others; (b) concept of team; (c) environment; (d) leadership; (e) focus on employee; and (f) communication. The themes revealed that servant leadership positively influenced participants’ environments and was an important factor in employee engagement. In addition, front line workers emphasized the value of servant leaders’ ability to focus on and communicate with their employees and provide timely feedback in order to promote engagement and emotional intelligence. These findings support the potential value of servant leadership-based training programs for managers in health care organizations with high or growing turnover of front line workers.
Dedication: 
I dedicate my dissertation to my daddy in heaven, Keith Dale Snodgrass, Sr. who was my number one supporter and fan. He was so very proud of me and began referring to me as “Doctor” long before I reached the point of completion. I did not always have faith in my ability to complete this process, but my daddy always knew that I could. I love you Pops! I would also like to thank my mother Shirley Ann Lewis who sacrificed more than words can express to support me in only ways a mother could. I am grateful to my little big brother Keith Jr. who continued to pray for and push me during points of frustration as well as my phenomenal aunt, Kimberly Jenkins-Snodgrass, who has loved me through everything and shares her strength with me particularly when I feel that I have none of my own. Lastly, I thank my son Tommie “TJ” Harris. I honor him for being a great kid and loving me unconditionally. I can only pray that I have encouraged him and other members of my family to strive for greatness and to never give up on their dreams. Based on the love and support of these influential members of my family, I now recognize that “to whom much is given much is required” (Luke 12:48) and I vow to always pay it forward!
Acknowledgements: 
First, I would like to give honor and praise to God because I never would have made it without Him! He is my strength, my salvation and my redeemer and I am grateful for His Grace, Mercy and Favor. One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 8:28 and this journey has been my living testimony that all things really do work together for the good of those who love the Lord! Many thanks to my mentor Dr. Ramer, and my committee Dr. Kovacic and Dr. White for your continued support and guidance and for your willingness to join my team so late in the process. Dr. Ramer, a special thank you for your willingness to stick with me and mentor me through the process when I changed my study method and design two months into the process. Then there are the countless friends, family members and colleagues that believed in and supported me throughout this season. Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Patrick J. Fernicola who encouraged me early in the process when I became extremely overwhelmed. He coached me through my moment of anxiety. He said, “If it were easy, everyone would do it”. Those words stayed with me from that point forward.