Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Valerie Sessa

Committee Member

Jennifer Bragger

Committee Member

Kevin Askew


Although Leader Developmental Readiness (LDR) has been discussed in the leadership literature for over a decade, there has been little consensus on what factors constitute whether one is ready to develop as a leader. The purpose of our research was to consolidate and provide a cohesive model of the motivational components of LDR that encompasses the existing body of research. We used a longitudinal database containing 328 first semester freshmen students from five universities involved in leadership development programs to assess how the proposed LDR factors cluster and the antecedents of these factors. Our model suggests LDR as constituting a general readiness to learn, having a leader possible self (LPS), high leadership self-efficacy (LSE), and a motivation to lead. A hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to explore how first semester college students participating in a leadership development program group cluster based upon their aforementioned components of LDR. The cluster analysis yielded two distinct groups of individuals which were entitled Mature LDR and Emerging LDR. The Mature LDR cluster was associated with higher general readiness to learn, LPS, LSE, and motivation to lead than the Emerging LDR cluster. Antecedents to these clusters were examined and it was determined that environmental support factors such as coming from higher social-economic status, having greater previous leadership experience, having a peer role model, and being more engaged in high school were found to predict being grouped into the Mature LDR cluster. Students entering a leadership development program during their first year in college with a high LDR were more likely to participate in leadership development experiences during their sophomore and junior year than those students entering with a low LDR.

Included in

Psychology Commons