The purpose of this study was to examine the leadership practices of orientation leaders.
The sample population consisted of 30 orientation leaders and incoming first-year students (N = 584) who attended orientation sessions staffed by these leaders at a large, public, research institution in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Both groups completed the Student version of the Leadership Practices Inventory (Self or Observer) and provided demographic information. Half of the orientation leaders were male and half were women, with Caucasian being the predominant ethnicity (70%), most were either sophomores (37%) or juniors (40%) in school, and 23 of them were doing this for the first time (77%). The typical matriculant participant was male (62%) and Caucasian (85%).
Orientation leaders reported significantly higher scores on all five leadership practices than did their constituents. The first-year orientation leaders reported significantly higher leadership practices scores than the experienced orientation leaders on four of the five practices (the exception being Challenging the Process). No differences were found in LPI-Observer scores between first-year and experienced orientation leaders. No differences were found for any of the five leadership practices on the basis of race/ethnicity (Caucasian versus Non-Caucasian), from either the Self or Observer perspective.
On the basis of gender, female orientation leaders reported
significantly higher assessments than males on Modeling, Enabling and
Encouraging. However, from the perspective of constituents, matriculates
reported female orientation leaders engaging significantly more often
only for Enabling than did matriculates with male orientation leaders.
Analyses by race and gender revealed significant interaction effects on
all five leadership practices. Caucasian females reported engaging in
Modeling more than Caucasian males, as did Non-Caucasian females versus
Non-Caucasian males. Caucasian males reported engaging in Inspiring and
Challenging more than Caucasian females, while Non-Caucasian females
indicated more engagement in these two leadership behaviors than
Non-Caucasian males. On Enabling and Encouraging, Non-Caucasian females
and Caucasian females reported more frequently engaging in this behavior
than did Non-Caucasian males and Caucasian males respectively. However,
significant interaction effects (race x gender) were not found on any
of the five leadership practices from the perspective of the first-year
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