PREFERRED LEADERSHIP STYLE OF AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION TEACHERS: AN EXPRESSION OF EPISTEMOLOGICAL BELIEFS ABOUT YOUTH LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Bradley C. Greiman, Assistant Professor Leah S. Addington, Graduate Assistant University of Minnesota Timothy G. Larson, Agricultural Education Teacher Medford High School Keith R. Olander, Agricultural Education Teacher Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School Abstract Supported by Bandura’s social cognitive theory, this study examined the preferred leadership style of agricultural education teachers, and determined if preferred leadership style and leadership factors differed on selected personal characteristics. The accessible sample consisted of agricultural education teachers (N = 234) who taught in Minnesota during the 2005-2006 school year, and a 75.2% response rate was achieved. Data were collected using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), and this study concluded that agricultural education teachers are more transformational in their preferred leadership style in contrast to transactional and laissez-faire styles. Teachers exhibited individualized consideration the most often as a transformational leadership factor, and used contingent reward the most often as a transactional leadership factor. A statistically significant difference was not found in preferred leadership style on gender, years of teaching experience, and highest academic degree earned. However, two statistically significant differences were found pertaining to the factors comprising transformational leadership: male and female teachers differed on individualized consideration, and teachers with bachelor’s degrees and those with master’s degrees differed on intellectual stimulation.
Introduction Leadership is a respected and highly sought after commodity by individuals and organizations (Northouse, 2004). Employers value leadership (van Linden & Fertman, 1998), and Maxwell (1998) argued that a person’s career effectiveness was connected to his or her ability to lead and influence others. Bennis and Nanus (1985) contended that all people have leadership potential, while Hersey and Blanchard (1993) recognized that leadership looks different in various situations. In agricultural education, youth leadership development has been acclaimed as one of the three primary components of a total program, along with classroom instruction and experiential learning. Further, the mission of agricultural education is to prepare “students for
successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources systems” (National FFA Organization, 2006, p. 5). In support of this mission, community leaders credited their experiences in agricultural education with having assisted their leadership development and career success (Brannon, Holley, & Key, 1989). Agricultural education teachers have been identified as having a major impact on students’ leadership development (Butters & Ball, 2006). However, little is known about teachers’ personal beliefs on youth leadership development and their preferred leadership style. Adding further support for this line of inquiry, Avolio and Bass (2004) argued that identifying and understanding one’s personal leadership style is necessary in order to effectively develop leadership in
Journal of Agricultural Education
Volume 48, Number 4, 2007
Greiman, Addington, Larson, & Olander
Preferred Leadership Styles…
others. As such, this study sought to fill a gap in the literature (Connors & Swan, 2006) by determining the preferred leadership style of agricultural education teachers, arguably the most important person to assist youth in developing leadership through involvement in an agricultural education program. Theoretical Framework Adults’ epistemological beliefs pertaining to leadership development play an important role...