Candidates' and non-candidates' perceptions of student leadership factors at the University of Southern Mississippi

Eddie Aaron Holloway

Abstract

This study was designed to assess how candidates and non-candidates for student leadership positions perceive themselves on the variables of motivating and inspiring others, decision making, supervising skills, management of self, adaptability, counseling skills, innovative thinking, interpersonal relations and communication. Additionally, selected individual characteristics were examined for their relationship to the variables. The subjects of the study were students of The University of Southern Mississippi. The Leadership Questionnaire instrument was administered to collect the data. It is composed of 40 items on a Likert-type scale to which subjects respond. The statistical technique of multiple linear regression was used for the analysis of the data. The results of the study indicate that there was a significant difference between candidates (elected and selected) and non-candidates for Student Government Association and Greek Life student leadership positions on selected individual, family and demographic characteristics. As it relates to the criterion variables, there were significant differences in the perceptions of candidates and non-candidates. Additionally, there were significant relationships that exist between candidates (elected and selected) and non-candidates for student leadership positions in certain identified variables of the study. The findings provide numerous opportunities for educational programming that will benefit student development and leadership skill building in secondary school systems as well as in higher education settings. The results also reveal the possibilities for civic and community-based groups to positively influence student development and student leadership.