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A Factor Analysis of Some Concepts of Leadership

Saunders, David R.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Factor Structure, Leadership Qualities, Military Training


The six rotated factors found in this study may be regarded as defining some primary concepts of leadership. They can be characterized as I. The Well-drilled Leader II. The Self-sufficient Leader III. The Social Leader IV. The Good-follower Leader V. The Leader of Leaders VI. The Universal Leader What has become of the familiar authoritarian--democratic dimension of leadership? And where are the academic and military leaders? It looks as though concepts I, II and IV are relatively authoritarian, while concepts III, V and VI are relatively democratic. Also, concept I seems closest to academic leadership, and concept VI to military leadership. Different individuals hold decidedly different concepts of leadership. Techniques for assessing leadership or leadership potential that allow these individual concepts to play even an implicit role in the measurement operation should beware of the effects that this may have. Care should be taken either to determine whether a valid concept is held by a single rater, or to employ enough raters to generate an average concept that will have some validity, even if it is less than optimal. Forced-choice self- description blanks can run into trouble too, since the preference values for each individual may vary substantially from the average preference value, according to his particular concept of the criterion.

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