Are the Leadership Practices of College Presidents in the Northeast Distinct from Those of Leaders of Business and Industry?

Date of Submission


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Science in Management Systems (Sc.D.)




Gordon R. Simerson

Committee Member

Tara L'Heureux-Barrett

Committee Member

Steven Goldberg

LC Subject Headings

Leadership, College presidents--New England, Executives

Call No. at the Univ. of New Haven Library

AS 36 .N290 Mgmt. Syst. 1993 no.3


The purpose of the study was to determine if the leadership practices of presidents of higher educational institutions in the economically challenged northeast were different from those of leaders from business and industry. To accomplish this, the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), developed by J. Kouzes and B. Posner, was utilized. Usable response sets were provided by 142 institutions.

For the academic sample, the LPI showed reliability and factor structure similar to those reported for Kouzes and Posner's business sample.

Four testable hypotheses were developed to determine whether the leadership practices of college presidents in the northeast were different from those of leaders and business. T-tests of differences of means between the academic and business sample revealed that there were significant differences for eight out of ten practices for the LPI-Self and LPI-Other. "Enabling others to act" and "encouraging the heart" for the LPI-Other did not reflect any significant differences.

The relative influence of each dimension on leadership effectiveness was investigated through regression analysis for both the academic and business samples. Results indicated that "modeling the way" was the dimension most predictive of leadership effectiveness. For those institutions undergoing "Change", the most predictive dimension was "modeling the way". For those institutions undergoing "No change", "enabling others to act" was the most predictive dimension for leadership effectiveness.

Significant differences (p < .05) were observed for "inspiring a shared vision" in a comparison between public and private institutions, and for "modeling the way" in a comparison of female and male college presidents' leadership practices.

Overall, the confusion among dimensions which occurred in the factor analysis and again in the interrater correlation results appear to imply that there might be reason to suggest further compression of the leadership dimensions into two major behaviors — envisioning and implementation. The addition of the contextual factor "situation" would improve the theory.