The Impact of Race, Gender, and Experience on the Leadership Practices of Orientation Leaders
Johns, Jessica Rena
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Research has examined student leadership in positions within residence life (Andersen, 2000; Levy, 1995; Posner & Brodsky, 1993; Romero-Aldaz, 2001), Greek life (Adams & Keim, 2000; Posner & Brodsky, 1992; Posner & Brodsky, 1994) and student government (Astin, 1992; Downey, Bosco, & Silver, 1984; Kuh & Lund, 1994; Schuh & Laverty, 1983; Schwartz, 1991). Very little research has been done to examine the leadership of orientation leaders. The purpose of this study was to examine the leadership practices of orientation leaders, by exploring how they rated their own leadership practices and how those practices were rated by first-year matriculants in their orientation groups. Differences by level of experience (first-year v. experienced), race (Caucasian v. non-Caucasian), and gender (male v. female) were examined. Data were collected by administering the student versions of the Leadership Practices Inventory (Kouzes & Posner, 2005a, 2005b). These instruments evaluate leadership using the Kouzes and Posner (1987, 2002a) model. The samples included 30 leaders and 584 matriculants who participated in five selected orientation sessions at a large, public research institution in the United States. Overall, orientation leaders self-reported high engagement on all five scales while matriculants indicated moderate engagement by orientation leaders on all five scales. Significant differences were revealed in the ratings of orientation leaders by level of experience and gender. Significant differences were not found in the matriculantsâ ratings of orientation leaders by level of experience or race. Interaction effects of race and gender were revealed on all five scales of orientation leader ratings.
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