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Factors that influence leader identity development in college students




Thompson, Sara E., author
Kuk, Linda, advisor
Berry, Joyce, committee member
Gloeckner, Gene, committee member
Riggio, Ron, committee member

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In the present study, I explore the extent to which college students who take a leadership theory course experience a change in their leader identity. As a secondary area of focus, I also explore if students taking a leadership theory course experience changes in their self-perceptions on constructs such as motivation to lead, leadership self-efficacy, leader developmental efficacy, and attitudes and beliefs about leadership. Research has shown that one's self-concept as a leader or one's "leader identity" influences the leadership opportunities in which he or she chooses to participate (Day & Harrison, 2007). Studies have also shown that leader self-efficacy can influence a student's desire to engage in leadership activities (Dugan, Garland, Jacoby, & Gasiorski, 2008; McCormick & Tanguma, 2007). Leadership self-efficacy and systemic attitudes and beliefs increased over the course of semester-long leadership theory course; while data did not show changes in one's leader identity, motivation to lead, or leader developmental efficacy over the same period of time. Leadership self-efficacy and developmental self-efficacy combined predicted leader identity to the .08 significance level; however, these results should be interpreted with caution in that they only explained 4% of the variance. There were no differences by gender for pretest and posttest scores of students taking a leadership theory class. In addition, there was not a difference between the experimental and comparison group in part due to a small sample size.


2016 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.

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