Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Major Professor

Michael C. Rush

Committee Members

Dave Woehr, Michael Lane Morris, Eric Sundstrom


Organizations are frequently investing time and money in preparing to develop the leaders within their organizations. Past research has shown that individual differences are generally related to participation in leader development activities, and past research has confirmed that individual difference factors are related to individual propensity to accept feedback. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that participation and attention to feedback are important. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore two alternative measures of leader development effectiveness (e.g., the quality of leader development goals; correspondence between leader development feedback and leader development goals), and to examine potential dispositional antecedents of these criteria (e.g., core self-evaluation; goal orientation; narcissism). Several control variables were also included in the study (e.g., critical thinking ability; responsibility; and past feedback and development experience).

The data used in this study was archival in nature, and came from 119 individuals enrolled in a leader development program associated with an Executive MBA degree at a Southeastern university. Multiple conclusions were drawn based on the results. First, goal quality and feedback-goal correspondence are not redundant variables; individuals who submit goals that appear difficult and specific are not necessarily incorporating the feedback they received into the goals. Second, performance-prove goal orientation, performance-avoid goal orientation, and narcissism are each negatively related to feedback-goal correspondence. Third, variables that tend to predict the choice to participate in leader development (e.g., core self-evaluation; goal orientation) do not necessarily predict quality of developmental goals once enrolled in leader development. Fourth, critical thinking ability was positively related to both goal quality and feedback-goal correspondence, and past participation in developmental activities was positively related to goal quality, lending validity to the goal quality and feedback-goal correspondence measures.

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