Effect of Implicit Leadership Theories on Performance Appraisal
Type of Degreethesis
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This thesis tests two predictions about the use of implicit leadership theories (ILT) in performance evaluations: 1) that performance evaluations are systematically distorted in accordance with ILT expectations, and 2) that the relationships between dimensional performance ratings are influenced by a raters pre-existing ILT. Nineteen U.S. Army squad leaders evaluated an average of 9 officer trainees (a mixture of combat and non-combat military occupational specialties) on leadership attributes at the conclusion of 7 weeks of officer training. Rated attributes were classified as diagnostic of combat leadership or non-combat leadership based on military leadership literature. Ratings depended upon the trainees’ performance but also on the trainee’s combat/non-combat designation, prior enlisted status, and commissioning source, suggesting that complex stereotype expectations influenced ratings. The relationships between rated variables differed depending on trainee combat/non-combat designation, suggesting that raters have implicit theories of attribute co-variation. Finally, different attributes predicted overall leadership evaluations when combat and non-combat trainees were analyzed separately.