Date of Award

12-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

E. Grady Bogue

Committee Members

Norma T. Mertz, Charles L. Norman, C. Glennon Rowell

Abstract

Leadership effectiveness is a complex phenomenon involving personality traits, learned and natural skills and abilities, and the resulting behaviors as leadership is performed within context. Because of leadership influences upon organizational outcomes, it is critical for an organization to identify job-specific leadership indicators, to recognize potential leaders, and to recognize the absence of desirable traits in existing leadership. This descriptive study explored the relationships between performance and leadership traits for county directors, the first-line administrative personnel in the University of Tennessee Extension. Performance appraisal scores were compared to items measured in a Managerial Assessment of Proficiency (MAPTM) and an inventory measuring aptitude and personality dimensions currently utilized as a pre-employment evaluation (Personal Style Inventory, PSI) in Tennessee Extension. Statistical relationships were expressed using Pearson's Correlation coefficient (rho, p) and multiple regression was utilized to express predictive potential.

Relationships did exist between Tennessee Extension County Director performance and MAP and PSI constructs. Though inconsistent, seven MAP constructs (communication and MAP overall proficiencies; advising, theory X and theory Y communication response styles; and the sensor and feeler personal style) were significantly (p<0.05) correlated with one or more performance scores/years. Correlation coefficients ranged from 0.22 to 0.32. A total of sixteen PSI constructs were correlated with one or more performance scores/years. Pearson's rho values ranged from 0.19 to 0.49. The constructs work drive and overall personality score demonstrated the most frequent and strongest relationships with performance. The PSI constructs of interest in community development, conscientiousness, customer responsiveness, openness to new experience, optimism, achievement/status striving, potential for long tenure, work drive, big 5 model of personality and overall personality score all exhibited one or more moderate (r>0.30, p<0.05) relationships with performance. The PSI construct ofwork drive was the strongest predictor variable in both the correlation and regression analysis. Regression analysis produced a workable model ofMAP, PSI and demographic variables that accounted for 50.2 percent ofthe variance in program performance, 56.7 percent of administrative and 51.5 percent of total performance score. Major non-demographic contributors to the model were work drive, theory X and theory Y management styles, the advising communication response style, verbal cognitive reasoning, big 5 model of personality score, MAP communication and cognitive composites, and customer service/responsiveness score.

Demographically, male county directors scored higher in the theory X management style than did female county directors. Female county directors scored higher in the PSI constructs of agreeableness, child management skills, conscientiousness, extroversion, integrity & values, optimism, achievement/status striving and overall personality score. County directors with an earned master's degree exhibited higher work drive scores than did those with a bachelor's degree only.

Recommendations for practice and for further study are offered.

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