Q: Can the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) dimensional scores be aggregated into one numeric score without violating the validity of the instrument? I have only seen dimensional scores used in studies for comparisons, but never an aggregate.
A: A number of researchers have combined The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® into a single measure and labeled it Transformational Leadership. Generally, researchers have found this single measure to have acceptable psychometric properties and significantly correlate with positive individual and organizational outcomes. (Abstracts of these studies, among many others, can be found in the research section of The Leadership Challenge® website.
From an empirical perspective, however, when The Five Practices are merged into a single measure much of the particular variance–regarding which practice or individual leadership behavior in a given situation is having the most impact–is lost. Similarly, from a developmental or educational perspective it is more difficult to teach "Transformational Leadership" as an overall concept versus The Five Practices.
Barry Z. Pozner is Dean of the Leavey School of Business and Professor of Leadership at Santa Clara University where he has received numerous teaching and innovation awards. He is co-author of The Leadership Challenge.