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Dissertation Abstract

Values as Determinants of Motivation to Lead

Alton B. Clemmons
May 2008

Drawing from Fishbein and Ajzen’s (1975) theory of reasoned action and Triandis’ (1980) theory of interpersonal behavior, Chan and Drasgow (2001) defined motivation to lead (MTL) as an individual-differences construct affecting individuals’ decisions to assume leadership training, roles, and responsibilities and their intensity of effort and persistence as a leader. They found empirical support for three MTL dimensions: affective-identity MTL, social normative MTL, and noncalculative MTL. They examined Big Five personality factors, leadership self-efficacy, previous leadership experience, and cognitive ability as MTL antecedents. They also investigated individual values as possible predictors of MTL but limited their values measure to an individual’s tendencies toward individualism or collectivism. This study examined the incremental contribution of personal values (spirituality, integrity, willingness to serve, and regard for excellence) in determining the MTL within a sample of military leaders. A review of the literature indicated the plausibility that the selected values might predict an individual’s MTL above and beyond factors in Chan and Drasgow’s work. The regression analyses indicated strong, positive relationships between integrity and overall, social normative, and noncalculative MTL. The data also indicated no significant relationship between willingness to serve and MTL; however, it did have a significant relationship to noncalculative MTL. The data also indicated strong, positive relationships between regard for excellence and overall, affective-identity, and social normative MTL. The data indicated statistically significant negative relationships between spirituality and overall and affective-identity MTL. Spirituality, then, experienced a suppression effect because it shared substantial variance with some or all of the other independent variables. Partial correlations revealed that the correlation between spirituality and MTL is positive and significant. However, the correlation does not exist when controlling for the other independent variables. A post hoc analysis indicated that the correlation becomes negative when controlling for both willingness to serve and regard for excellence. It seems, then, that regard for excellence and willingness to serve mediated the relationship between spirituality and MTL.