PERCEPTIONS OF LEADERSHIP ROLES: WOMEN IN BARNARD COLLEGE, 1889-1939 (NEW YORK)
The historical inquiry focused on the nature of the roles of influential women in the early history of Barnard College in Columbia University, from 1889 to 1939. A representative group of nine female faculty heads, deans, and trustees at Barnard were investigated in order to determine whether they demonstrated effective leadership behavior.;The study's objectives were, first, a methodological contribution to the literature on leader behavior by developing a model for determining the nature and degree of effectiveness of the leader behavior of historical figures in American higher education.;Its second objective was to examine these women's leadership roles with regard to a separate women's culture: in particular, the degree of their participation in female support networks and the impact of female friendships on their leadership behavior.;This research combined (1) methods of traditional historical inquiry and (2) techniques of social science interviewing. Oral tradition was elicited in conversations with twelve surviving administrators, faculty, alumnae, and relatives of the subjects. Evidence was classified under the Consideration and Initiating Structure subscales of the Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire XII and compared to the Tri-Dimensional Leader Effectiveness Model.;The conjectures were mainly supported by the findings: (1) The subjects demonstrated leadership. (2) They were all effective leaders at some time during their association at Barnard. They employed leadership styles more often task- than relationship-oriented, adapted to the demands of the various situations they faced. (3) Most of them enjoyed close relationships with other women and participated in female support networks. They all worked in some way for the advancement of women academics and students, but evidence points to contradictions and ambivalences in many of their behaviors.;This investigation suggested that the LBDQ XII is useful for describing historical leader behavior, but is inappropriate for assessing effectiveness; it has limited applicability in higher education.;A useful model for assessing effectiveness appears to be Fiedler's Contingency Model, which identifies as effective those who possess a combination of task- and relationship-orientation and acquire appropriate skills and sufficient situational control adapted to their time and place and to the situations they encountered.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 45-12, Section: A, page: 3510.