Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, EdD; Zachary Gabriel Green, PhD; Cheryl A. Getz, EdD


empirical study, gender, leadership circle profile, leadership effectiveness, Leadership studies, management, multi-level investigation, organizations, systems awareness


Leadership is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, with scholarly literature that documents the progression from leaders focused on inspiring transformation in others, to leaders who can engage entire systems towards more globally conscious and ethically focused actions. Such leadership involves increasingly complex relationships, perspectives and context. Empirical contributions to the study of leadership, however, have remained focused on the individual and thus limited to a single level of analysis. As researchers acknowledge the dynamic process of leadership, it is paramount that studies identify and investigate the multiple layers of analysis present. This study sought to uncover patterns in leadership effectiveness by statistically interpreting the variance that existed at multiple levels of analysis. Utilizing The Leadership Circle Profile, an existing 360-degree instrument which integrates leadership competencies and internal assumptions that span leadership theories and are correlated with stages of adult development, this study employed multi-level modeling techniques (MLM). Specifically, leadership effectiveness was examined as it varied among participants (level-one) and across industries (level-two). Hypothesis testing revealed that gender, ethnicity, management, and education levels were positively-oriented predictors of leadership effectiveness. However, second-level variance was found not to be best explained by leadership effectiveness; instead, exploratory MLM analysis revealed that systems awareness was a particularly powerful construct when understood from an organizational perspective. Additional analyses were conducted and revealed that in addition to gender, other predictors of systems awareness were age, industry type, management, and education levels, as well as the distance score between self and others. This study extends the literature by demonstrating the importance of context, in that as the models gradually incorporated first and second level predictors, the emphasis and contribution of predictors changed. Thus, this study provided evidence for the consideration of more complex empirical studies in leadership and emphasized the marked difference of practicing leadership with systems awareness. Further, the findings of gender, education, and management level support the development of personal and professional growth while highlighting the significance of feminine leadership. Indeed, as global growth requires a deeper understanding of resources and complex relationships, effective leadership will need to be met with heightened capacity in systems awareness.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies