Thesis Title

Effects Of Goal-Structure-Based Planning On Leadership And Group Process

Date of Graduation

Spring 2007

Degree

Master of Science in Psychology

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Thomas Kane

Keywords

leadership, goals, group effectiveness, creativity, planning

Subject Categories

Psychology

Abstract

Effective organizational leadership is contingent on leaders' planning activities. Functional leadership theory defines a leader's job as providing the necessary support and monitoring to meet group needs (Hackman & Walton, 1986). Similarly, theorists of problem-solving leadership posit that effective leaders are creative when working with group members to solve complex problems (Mumford, Zaccaro et al., 1993). Goal structures (e.g. Bandura, 1997) were tested as a method to assess leadership planning. Well-structured goals were hypothesized to represent a systematic, thorough, and creative approach to a group problem. Half of the leader-participants were trained to create quality goal structures, while the other half simply set goals for leading a group. Leaders then prepared groups to solve a hypothetical problem. Results indicate that trained leaders had more complex goal structures than untrained leaders, and the groups of trained leaders produced higher quality plans. Also, the complexity of goals structures was associated with more group effort, higher collective efficacy (confidence), higher group evaluations of leaders but lower group cohesion. Implications for the complexity of leader planning and group dynamics are presented.

Copyright

© Philip T. Walmsley

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