Presentation Blocks: 03-22-2018 - Thursday - 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Title: Impact of Collaborative Leadership in Dental School Team Clinics


Wylie Tang (Presenter)
University of Nevada Las Vegas

Karl Kingsley, University of Nevada - Las Vegas
Robin Reinke, University of Nevada - Las Vegas


Objectives: We determined the relationship of team leader qualities focused on collaborative leadership, and related to perceived individual ability to critique team performance in dental school team clinics.

Methods: This study used a voluntary 12-question survey, distributed via email to students of the UNLV School of Dental Medicine (N=311) after completion of the Spring 2017 semester. Responses were stratified by team, class year, and sex, and analyzed for statistical differences (ANOVA, p<0.05) and post hoc two-tailed T tests (p<0.05). The quantitative distribution of answers (1-7 scale) for each question was also evaluated using a correlation analysis.

Results: Team leader collaborative qualities, which included openness for communication, cooperative decision making, and well defined goals, were found to have a significant positive relationship with students’ willingness to both raise concerns and make suggestions (n=87, 28%). However, differences in voice behavior assessment by students across the teams were found to be independent of class year and no differences were found in responses between sexes. While a significant team variation was not identified regarding the individual’s perceived psychological safety to question/critique, i.e. perceived risk, the level of response regarding these interactions within the teams were overall lower (3.84±2.36) than the level of responses for all other questions (mean: 5.13±0.48).

Conclusions: Our study is one of the first to provide insights into the impact of leadership traits on dental students’ inclination to raise concerns and provide suggestions within the dental education team structure. These results suggested that in order to maintain proper reporting and a high standard of care, dental schools should encourage team leaders to enhance their capacity to be collaborative in the school clinic setting. The study also highlighted potential deficiencies in some dental school teams, reflected by the significant disparities in evaluation of voice behavior and collaborativeness between teams.