Date of Conferral
Stephanie N. Hoon
After 30 plus years of research, clergy burnout is an ongoing concern; as such, it is important to identify the causes of this phenomenon. Researchers have already demonstrated that internal factors such as personality types, personal mastery, or conflict management and external factors such as role conflict, excessive activities, or unrealistic expectations, can lead to burnout. The problem that led to this study was that more exploration is needed about clergy's perceptions on leadership and burnout within the church. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore clergy within the Wesleyan Church in the Midwest to discover their perceptions about leadership and burnout within the church. The conceptual framework was shaped by the great man theory of leadership and Maslach's burnout theory. The central research question for this study focused on clergy's perceptions about leadership and burnout within the church. Data were collected using face-to-face semistructured interviews with 23 pastors who are currently leading and experiencing burnout. Data collected included transcribed interviews, field notes, and observations. Data were hand-coded to find key concepts and themes. Two themes that emerged from the data were leadership is understood as hierarchical and leadership is understood as the work of solo actors, which were consistent with the great man theory of leadership. The results of this study may contribute to a better understanding of the factors that lead to clergy burnout. The results of this study will address a gap in literature and may result in positive social change for both the clergy and church congregants because the results can be used to come up with solutions for burnout. This study may also lead to new theories about clergy burnout.