The Development and Validation of the Leadership Versatility Index for Students

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TITLE: The Development and Validation of the Leadership Versatility Index for Students
RESEARCHER: Preston J. Yarborough
Graduate School
University of North Carolina (Greensboro)
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: May 2011

The overarching purpose of the current study was the construction and validation of a new, multi-rater, student leadership assessment instrument named the Leadership Versatility Index-Student (LVI-S); and exploring the relationship between versatile leadership, residence hall director (HD) performance, and resident assistant (RA) ratings of leadership effectiveness.

Data was collected from seven colleges and universities in the Southeast United States, with HDs (N = 57) and RAs (N = 262). Participants completed two leadership instruments (the LVI-S and the Student LPI), an effectiveness scale (Tsui Reputational Effective Scale; Tsui, 1984) and a brief demographic questionnaire. The majority of HDs were women (53%), Caucasian (63%), from public universities (82%), 28 years old on average, with three years of resident hall experience, and supervising 10 RAs. RAs were typically about 21 years old, female (57%), Caucasian (64%), with a little over one year of work experience, and associated with a public university (89%).

The convergent construct validity of the LVIS with respect to the Leadership Practices Inventory—Student Version (SLPI) was investigated. The correlation analysis examined the relationships between the LVI-S and the SLPI, finding that the “Enabling sub-dimensions of the LVI-S (Empowers, Listens, and Supports) were expected to correlate significantly with the SLPI scales Enabling Others to Act, Inspiring a Shared Vision, and Encouraging the Heart. Hypotheses 3a was supported, providing evidence of convergent validity. Listens and Supports were positively correlated with all three hypothesized scales. Additionally, significant positive correlations were found for Models the Way and Challenge the Process. The third LVI-S sub-dimension, Empowers, correlated positively and significantly with Enables Others to Act but was not significantly correlated with the other SLPI scales” (pp. 194-95).

“In hypothesis 3b, the forceful sub-dimensions of the LVI-S (Takes Charge, Declares, and Pushes) were expected to correlate significantly with the Challenge the Process scale from Kouzes and Posner’s SLPI. Takes Charge demonstrated a significant, positive correlation with Challenge the Process (r = .33, p < .01) providing convergent evidence. Although not hypothesized, Takes Charge also exhibited significant positive correlations with Models the Way (p = .25, p < .01). Declares and Pushes were not significantly correlated with Challenges the Process. Negative correlations between Enables Others to Act and the LVI-S sub-dimensions Declares (r = -.21 p < .01) and Pushes (r = -.21 p < .01) were interpreted as evidence of discriminant validity for the forceful dimension” (p. 195).

Regression analysis showed that the Student LPI accounted for significant amounts of explained variance around effectiveness. Considering all five leadership practices together, the adjusted R2 was .25. Separate regression equations for each leadership practice found an adjusted R2 for Model of .25, for Inspire of .24, for Challenge of .29, for Enable of .24, and for Encourage of .08.

Each of the five S-LPI scales exhibited strong internal consistency characteristics. Internal measures of reliability ranged from .85 to .92. “In comparison to the LVI-S, the five SLPI scales produced ICC (1,5) values that ranged from .68 to .77, with four of the SLPI scales yielding coefficients exceeding .70. Given the same number of raters (k = 5), the SLPI will provide greater inter-rater reliability. The SLPI scales are more refined, as evidenced by their greater internal consistency and ICC coefficients. The SLPI requires fewer raters to obtain comparable levels of inter-rater reliability to the LVI-S, however both instruments provide sufficient levels of inter-rater reliability” (p. 228).

“In summary, the LVI-S and the SLPI related to each other in expected, as well as unexpected but theoretically understandable ways. The significant correlations found in the analyses provided evidence of convergent and discriminate validity for the new instrument” (pp. 244-45).

“The transformational scales from the SLPI were strongly correlated with effectiveness. In comparison to the LVI-S, the predictive validity of the SLPI was more consistent across each of its scales. The SLPI demonstrated excellent reliability characteristics and its psychometric stability surely aided these predictive characteristics” (p. 253).