To examine factors that contribute to the leadership and advocacy role for
people with disabilities.
Interviews with key informants with physical impairments (N=9) were
conducted in order to reveal issues contributing to the advocacy movement within the
disability arenas in Canada and the U.S. These guided the development of a survey
instrument, including the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), which was mailed to 250
people identified in leadership rosters within medical, rehabilitation and independent living
organizations (68% response rate yielded a sample of 172). On average respondents were
43.4 years old, with 61% of them women, 91% caucasian, and two-thirds were employed.
Canadian respondents comprised just over one-third of the sample. Leadership roles
assumed by the respondents included membership within executive committees (52%),
service on Boards of Directors now or previously (68%), 55% had served in a staff or
management role within the disability arena, and 90% identified themselves as members or
consumers of disability organizations.
An initial factor analysis and a structural equation analysis was conducted using
LISREL 7 to determine if the same factors identified by the LPI originally could be replicated
with this target group. "...the analysis shows the data fit this model. This is also confirmed
by the Goodness of Fit and Adjusted Goodness of Fit indices...The Cronbach's Alpha
scores ranges from .79 to .85 for the factors identified" (p. 117-118).
There was no different in factor structure/leadership behaviors on the LPI
when comparing leaders with disabilities to those without disabilities. Logistic regression
techniques revealed that leadership practices differed depending upon the roles performed
and engaged in. People who have served in staff roles tend to be more likely than those
who have not served to challenge, inspire, enable, model, and encourage. Members of
Boards of Directors will be more likely than non-members to challenge, inspire and enable.
Consumer/members are more likely than non-members to encourage. Americans were not
different from their Canadian counterparts on enabling, modeling and encouraging,
although they reported engaging more frequently in challenging and inspiring.