Towards an empirical typology of collegiate leadership development programs: Examining effects on student self-efficacy and leadership for social change
Owen, Julie Elizabeth
Komives, Susan R.
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether a meaningful empirical typology of institutions with co-curricular leadership development programs could be developed based on structural elements and programmatic characteristics, and then examine any effects of different classifications of leadership programs on perceived student leadership outcomes of self-efficacy and social change. Findings from a two-step cluster analysis and an integrative content analysis indicate an emergent typology of leadership programs based on variables related to theoretical intentionality, resource level, and productivity. Results from two hierarchical linear models reveal numerous level-one effects on perceived student leadership outcomes related to social change and self-efficacy for leadership, including pre-college positional leadership and group experiences, gender, and race. Two-level hierarchical linear models also showed limited second level interaction effects, primarily related to institutional control and Carnegie classification. Typologic clusters had few meaningful differential effects on student outcomes. Results suggest the importance of pre-college experiences to collegiate student leadership development, reveal gender differences related to efficacy for leadership and actual leadership performance, and detail significant interaction effects among institutional control, race, and leadership outcomes. Results have implications for higher education research in that the use of hierarchical linear modeling revealed significant effects of institutional type and control on student leadership outcomes that were not apparent in existing literature (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). Cluster analysis results provide validation of extant leadership program evaluation variables (Kellogg, 1999; CAS, 2006). Implications for professional practice include the need to attend to the heterogeneity of collegiate leadership development programs in access to resources, theoretical approach, and stage of development. The on-going development of a data-driven typology will assist with leadership program planning, advocacy, and evaluation needs.