Employee Motivation Related to Leadership Behaviors in Rural Outpatient Healthcare Settings

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)

Committee Chair

George Velez

Committee Member

Dail Fields

Committee Member

David Meckstroth


The healthcare industry is continuously faced with increasingly difficult challenges. This is especially true in rural healthcare environments where additional challenges make leading healthcare organizations even more complex. Part of this challenge in effective healthcare leadership is maintaining a motivated and engaged front line workforce within the organization. There are a multitude of benefits to having more highly motivated frontline employees, many of which are discussed in this dissertation. Employee motivation can be strongly impacted, either positively or negatively, by the leadership qualities possessed by the leaders overseeing frontline employees. A gap in academic research was identified in the field of leadership behaviors related to their impacts on employee motivation in rural outpatient healthcare delivery. Therefore, this qualitative study was developed, conducted, and the data were analyzed to attempt to close that gap in research. This qualitative research study analyzed the leadership behaviors and techniques that are currently employed within the population, as well as analyzed the most effective motivational strategies for employees working in rural outpatient healthcare environments. The study concluded that leadership qualities that are personal in nature and focused on leader-follower relationships are more effective in motivating and driving employees than other factors. This study also provides guidance for future potential research within this environment to gain an even better understanding of how to overcome motivational challenges faced by leaders in rural healthcare settings.