What Does Standard Deviation Mean in The Five Practices?

Barry Posner

Q: The LPI's Group Summary report lists each of The Five Practices, the average score by observer group, and the standard deviation. The text at the top of the report explains that the standard deviation indicates the extent of agreement among the individual leaders and their observers. Can you explain more about what that actually means?

A: The standard deviation is a score that measures the dispersion of responses (or variance) around the average of all of the scores. It might be thought of as measuring the extent to which respondent's scores agree or disagree with one another.

From a mathematical perspective the standard deviation might simply be thought of as a proxy measure for the distance (or range) between the lowest and highest scores in the distribution. For example, if everyone's score was 45, then the standard deviation would be zero (no deviation around the average score of 45). If the average score was still 45 and the scores were, for example, 25, 25, 65, 65 the standard deviation from this distribution would be higher than if the scores were, for example, 40, 40, 50, 50.

The Group Summary page computes a standard deviation for your sample of respondents and is not calculated against the normative data base.

I hope you find this information helpful. Thanks for making use of the LPI and I hope that your colleagues found this feedback useful.

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