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ERIC Number: ED535624
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 128
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-7071-5
Leadership Stress in California Community Colleges
Mattson, Carol
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, California State University, Fullerton
Research indicates that stress is steadily increasing among college administrators. This has implications for the California Community College (CCC) system's ability to recruit and retain qualified leaders as the need to replace retiring baby boomers increases. For those working in leadership positions in CCCs, stress is compounded by the way that colleges are funded and governed and by the need to fulfill the broad scope of the CCC mission, especially with the state's economic struggles. This descriptive study used a mixed-methods approach to determine the impact of stress on CCC chancellors, vice chancellors, college presidents, superintendent-presidents, provosts, and vice presidents. Overall, it included leaders who self-identified as white/non-Hispanic, were over the age of 50, and had more than six years of leadership experience in California community colleges. Additionally, over half were women. Specifically, it investigated the positive and negative effects of stress and identified what leaders find most effective in managing stress. The theoretical foundation of this study was stress models and theories, including those of Cannon (1922), Selye (1976), Ellis (1997), and Sternberg (2001). The major findings of this study concerned the factors that leaders attributed to positive and negative stressors. Budget and finance was the category that resulted in the highest percentage of negative stress (79%), followed by dealing with unions (78.1%) and campus-related politics (75%). The highest percentage of positive stress responses (79.7%) concerned professional responsibilities and accomplishments, followed by a tie between issues involving students and working in a shared governance (54.7%). The results also indicated that leaders attribute their ability to effectively manage work-related stressors to their years of work experience, self-confidence, willingness to seek advice from their colleagues, skill at building relationships, and ability to engage in strategic thinking. Additionally, they typically use various coping mechanisms, including talking with someone or laughing (46.9%), relaxing (37%), and engaging in some type of physical activity (32.8%) to help alleviate or minimize negative stress and to maintain a healthy work-life balance. For the most part, leaders enjoy what they do and view their professional responsibilities and accomplishments as positive stressors. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California