Outcome Assessment of Boston’s Emerging Leaders Program: Evaluating Effectiveness of Training in Collaboration and Diversity

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TITLE: Outcome Assessment of Boston’s Emerging Leaders Program: Evaluating Effectiveness of Training in Collaboration and Diversity
RESEARCHER: Jennifer M. Leigh
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Doctoral Dissertation: May 2003

The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a specific leadership development program aimed at increasing diverse leaders who can foster collaboration within diverse work groups.

The sample consisted of 82 percent (N=27) of the individuals enrolled in the Emerging Leaders Project (ELP) through the Center for Collaborative Leadership at UMass, Boston. A comparison group was created (N=27), matching the nomination process of the ELP and consistent with the gender and ethnic diversity of the ELP participants. Respondents completed the Sociometric Survey (Baker, 2000), Social Dominance Orientation (Sidanius, Pratto, Martin & Stallworth, 1991), Mentoring and Communication Support Scale (Hill, et al., 1989), Goal Setting Form (Swanson & Holton, 1999), Team Member Exchange scale (Seers, 1989), and Leadership Practices Inventory. These instruments were provided generally prior to the start, mid-way and at the end of the program. No differences were found between the two groups of respondents on the basis of type of organization, level of education, gender, age, or race. Similarly no differences were found on baseline differences for any of the scales employed.

To explore changes in participants’ reported leadership practices, a 2 (group) X 3 (time) mixed ANOVA with repeated measures on the second factor was conducted using the LPI. For the reported frequency with which participants practiced “new leadership” behaviors, a significant main effect for time was found. In addition, a group X time interaction effect emerged wherein, as predicted, the average LPI score of the ELP group grew at a significantly higher rate than the comparison group’s over the course of the program. Consistent with hypotheses, the ELP’s post-program LPI score was significantly greater than their baseline score; in contrast the comparison group showed no such increase in LPI score from baseline to completion (the baseline LPI scores for the two groups were not significant at baseline).

The interpersonal networks grew at a significantly higher rate for members of ELP versus those of non-members, although there were no differences in social networks. Approaching but not quite reaching statistical significance, the quality of mentoring and supportive communication experienced at work was marginally higher for ELP members than non-members by the program’s end. “ELP members did show a measurable gain in the frequently with which they reported that they engaged in a number of core leadership behaviors as assessed by the Leadership Practices Inventory, whereas non-members did not” (p. 54).