Sharing the Full Range of Leadership in Student Teams: Developing an Instrument

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ASEE Conferences
Sharing the Full Range of Leadership in Student Teams: Developing an Instrument The federal government and industry have called for engineers to play a more prominent leadership role in business and public service. Increasing the technical literacy in high levels of leadership may help shape decisions which support well-informed, economically sustainable innovation and solutions to problems facing our planet. Because formative experiences during undergraduate years help engineers shape their professional identities, purposefully helping students cultivate their leadership skills is an important step toward meeting those calls. Leadership scholars suggest that shared leadership may be a more effective leadership model than the historical norm of hierarchical individual leadership for students engaged in team-based capstone design projects. The capstone experience replicates the creative, complex, and interdependent knowledge work where shared leadership can be effective. To be able to study a shared leadership model with engineering student design team contexts, we need to develop new data collection instruments—our paper takes up this challenge. Based on Bass and Avolio’s (1994) Full Range of Leadership Model, the newly developed instrument was designed to measure transformational leadership behaviors across the Full Range of Leadership in a round robin fashion. We drew on Bass and Avolio’s (1995) Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire as the base set of survey questions and collected pilot data from a total of 240 mechanical engineering capstone design students at a large, mid-Atlantic engineering research institution (n=198) as well as a smaller northeastern military focused engineering college (n=42).Our analyses explore these round-robin survey data in several ways. We show consistent leadership constructs using both exploratory factor analysis and principal component analysis. The results were compared to the original construct of the Full Range of Leadership Model to determine model consistency in the student design team context. In an effort to minimize survey fatigue in future administrations of the survey, the resulting factors were further analyzed to decrease the number of survey items while maintaining acceptable factor reliability. We present a reliable and shortened data collection instrument that will facilitate further study of shared Full Range of Leadership within engineering student capstone design teams. A novel finding of the study is a leadership construct for mechanical engineering student design teams that is not wholly consistent with previous applications of the Full Range of Leadership Model to other contexts.
Leadership, Engineering
Novoselich, B. J., & Knight, D. B. (2015, June), Sharing the Full Range of Leadership in Student Teams: Developing an Instrument Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24707