Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Scale Development for Emergent Leaders

Thomas J. Norbutus
February 2012

This study, based on a heuristics study of the characteristics and behaviors of emergent leaders, was conducted to develop a scale and refine the identification of the emergent leader in an organizational setting. A four-factor solution was selected and found most meaningful with 45 items describing the most salient dimensions of the emergent leader. These factors were named wisdom, knowledge, accessibility, and leaderful acts. The relative stability of the factor structure across the study confirmed factorial validity of the scale. The interpretation of the factors also established content validity of the scale. The reliability of factors was consistently above .88. The emergent leader assessment can be used to identify strong leaders from within an organization who are acting in a leadership capacity rather than from a position of management. This particular assessment is one where a person can be rated from a 360-degree point of view: from their managers, their colleagues, or from people they manage. This assessment intends to provide a solid basis for developing an organization's workforce through leadership education. The approach allows managers to identify people currently providing leadership in the organization regardless of position and can be the basis for the developmental activities of those who would benefit from mentorship, coaching, or other learning opportunities. Organizationally, this could transform a company's human resource development (HRD) program by changing the way people are evaluated and promoted. Just as people develop in their careers, so will the company. The transformation of a company's HRD program can also lead to other benefits such as increased productivity, higher effectiveness, and the potential to build into a high-performing organization.