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Dissertation Abstract

The Measurement of Sternness in an Adult Self-Directed Leader

William David Winner
April 2008

The purpose of this study was to use current literature on behaviors associated with sternness as the foundation for a theoretical construct that was used to develop an instrument to measure the level of sternness in an adult self-directed leader. Carr, Coe, Derrick, and Ponton (2007) proposed a self-directed leadership definition operationally defined and based on valid and reliable instrumentation. It is not dependent on one perspective but is based on Sun Tzu's classic The Art of War which states "Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage and sternness" (as cited in Cleary, 2000, p. 44). The three co-occurring behaviors of sternness are (a) a willingness to establish obedience through rewards and punishments within limits, (b) consistency in actions to ensure good behavior through rituals and respect, and (c) a determination to do the difficult tasks of leadership. The Inventory of Leader Sternness (ILSv2) was developed for this study. Construct, face, and content validity were assessed in addition to reliability via Cronbach's alpha measure of internal consistency and a test–retest reliability study. Principal component analysis (PCA) was also used to assess the three-factor construct. Based upon the results of this study, the ILSv2 is a valid and reliable instrument for use in the assessment of sternness in an adult self-directed leader. The research reported in this dissertation was conducted as a discrete component of a group effort to develop and test theoretical constructs associated with the five aspects of self-directed leadership. In order to ensure consistency and continuity of these separate efforts, the dissertation required that certain operational definitions and methodological matters be described in identical terms by each researcher involved in the overall project. As a result, identical or parallel language will be found in some passages of the dissertations produced by Jeff Guichard, Brian Duhart, John Hale, and Dee Dee Kramer.