Dentists' leadership-related perceptions, values, experiences and behavior results of a national survey

Academic Article


  • Background. The authors developed a survey and administered it to members of the American Dental Association (ADA) to elicit their views on leadership in dentistry, as well as to explore their leadership-related values and evaluation of their effectiveness as leaders, their experiences with leadership-related activities and perceptions of barriers to being a leader. The authors also examined how male and female dentists differed in their leadership-related responses. Methods. The authors collected survey data from 593 ADA members (mean age, 51 years; standard deviation, 10.75 years). Seventy-seven percent of respondents were male and 85 percent were European American. Results. The most frequently reported aspects of leadership were leadership in one's own practice (31 percent), in the profession (26 percent), in the community (14 percent) and in dental organizations (9 percent). The most valued aspects of leadership were being a good leader in one's own practice (mean rating = 4.64 on a five-point scale, with 5 = very important) and having patients perceive them as leaders (mean rating = 4.38). The most frequent past leadership experiences were related to leadership in dental organizations (47 percent), and the most frequent current activities were related to leadership activities in the community (40 percent). Time constraints (46 percent) and family obligations (20 percent) were the biggest barriers to taking on more of a leadership role. According to the survey results, female respondents valued the importance of leadership more highly than did male respondents. Conclusions. The results of this survey show that dentists perceive professional leadership as closely related to leadership in their own dental practices and value this type of leadership most highly. However, about 40 percent of respondents reported that they engaged in current leadership activities in their communities, and 32 percent reported doing so in professional organizations. Practical Implications. ADA members who responded to this survey focused primarily on leadership in their own clinical practices. However, substantial numbers of dentists valued leadership activities in their communities and on a state and national level. © 2013 American Dental Association.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Forest AE; Taichman RS; Inglehart MR
  • Start Page

  • 1397
  • End Page

  • 1405
  • Volume

  • 144
  • Issue

  • 12