To develop a biodata (background characteristics) measure of leadership.
Participants are volunteers from the Southeast region of the
super-center division of a large national discount retail chain. Fifty managers completed
a life history essay questionnaire (16 of these managers had been identified previously by
senior management as poor performers and the others as good performers). From this
analysis a total of 157 biodata items were generated and grouped into seven dimensions.
Fifty-six managers participated in the second phase (31% response rate) aimed at refining
the instrument. Sixty items were subsequently retained and grouped into three general
categories (educational experiences, problem solving, and mentor relationships). The
third sample consisted of 734 participants (74% response rate), of which two-thirds were
managers and one-third were hourly employees. The criterion measure consisted of
supervisory ratings of performance on eight dimensions. Respondents also completed the
Leadership Practices Inventory Individual Contributor, the Leader Behavior
Questionnaire (Sahkin & Fulmer, 1985), the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Bass,
1985), and measures of Self-Efficacy (Sherer, Maddux, Mercandante, Prentice-Dunn,
Jacobs & Rogers, 1982) and Impression Management (Paulhus, 1988).
The internal reliability for the LPI-IC scales for this sample ranged
from .73 to .86. The author reports that: "Overall, the pattern of correlation’s between the
biodata scales and other measures of leadership suggests that each of the measures is
distinct from the others, but that they are sufficiently related to suggest that they are
measuring somewhat similar constructs.....None of the measures are so highly correlated
as to suggest redundancy. That is, non of the measures could be substituted for another
and be said to measure the same constructs. The pattern of correlation’s indicates that the
leadership measures display evidence of construct validity" (p. 111).
Overall, the LBQ had the highest percentage of significant correlation’s with
criterion dimensions (33%), followed by impression management (30%), and the LPI-IC
(16%). The MLQ and self-efficacy scale did not correlate significantly with any of the
criterion measures. There were no differences reported for gender, marital status, or age
for the LPI-IC scales, although non-minorities scored significantly higher than minorities
on all five of these leadership practices, as did managers versus non-managers.