Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Valarie Sessa

Committee Member

Kenneth Sumner

Committee Member

Jennifer Bragger


Personality is one of the individual differences that should be addressed in leadership development research and practice, as it can provide one with valuable insights about identifying specific needs and personalized methods for development. The existing literature demonstrates the importance of personality traits in leadership emergence and outcomes. However, to date only few scientific investigations have explored the role of personal traits in leadership development. The purpose of this mixed method study was to explore the relationship between personality and leadership development. Fifty college students were interviewed to investigate significant developmental events they experienced and leadership lessons learned from these events. In addition, the students were asked to complete an online personality survey: The Big Five Inventory (BFI) (John, Naumann, & Soto, 2008). It was hypothesized that the Five Factor Model (Big Five) personality traits predict certain kinds of developmental events recalled and leadership lessons gained from them. Results revealed no significant associations between any of the Big Five personality dimensions and developmental events and lessons. The findings suggest that personality does not play an important role in predicting leader development through learning from experience. Further empirical research is needed to highlight the role of personality in leader development.

File Format


Included in

Psychology Commons