The development and validation of the leadership versatility index for students (LVI-S)

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James Preston Yarborough, Assistant Director of Leadership (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Craig Cashwell

Abstract: Directed by Dr. James M. Benshoff and Dr. Craig S. Cashwell pp. 350 According to Bass' (1990) summary of fifty years of research and nearly thirty dichotomy-based theories, leaders influence people through autocratic use of power (task-oriented) or through democratic use of power (people-oriented). Each style produces unique tensions and tradeoffs, but versatile leaders can incorporate strategies from both sides of the dichotomy, depending on situational needs (Kaplan, 1996). Versatile leaders avoid overusing strengths to the point of weakness--a frequently overlooked leadership flaw (Kaplan & Kaiser, 2006). The versatile leader concept shares much with synergistic supervision, a student affairs supervision model (Winston & Creamer, 1997; 1998). Synergistic supervisors blend strengths from autocratic and democratic approaches, creating synergistic relationships with those they lead (Winston & Creamer, 1997; 1998). Synergy and versatility may be considered different sides of the same coin. Until the Leadership Versatility Index--Student (LVI-S), no quantitative, multi-rater measure of leadership versatility was available for campus leaders. The LVI-S was derived from the executive-focused Leadership Versatility Index® (Kaplan and Kaiser, 2006). Participants were recruited from departments of housing and residence life across seven institutions in the Southeastern United States, including staff from small private colleges through large public universities. Resident Advisor supervisees (n = 262) rated leadership characteristics of their Hall Directors (n = 52); the study averaged 4.9 raters-per-leader. Convergent validity was tested using the Student Leadership Practices Inventory© (SLPI) (Kouzes & Posner, 2003); predictive validity was tested through a global effectiveness measure derived from Tsui's (1984) effectiveness research. LVI-S scale alphas exceeded .80 and scales offered compelling evidence of convergent and predictive validity. A strong predictive relationship was found between versatility and effectiveness (R = .60, Adj. R = .31, F = 7.72, p < .01). Results validated the LVI-S for use in residence life settings and validated behavioral aspects of synergistic supervision. Applications for the LVI-S were discussed as well as avenues for future research.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
360 Degree or Multi-rater Measurement, Leadership Assessment, Residence Life Leadership, Student Affairs Leadership, Student Leadership Development, Versatility or Versatile Leadership
Resident assistants (Dormitories)
Educational leadership

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