This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Effect of Implicit Leadership Theories on Performance Appraisal




Gunther, Katie

Type of Degree





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.