LEADERSHIP SKILL ASSESSMENT: STUDENT LEADERSHIP PRACTICES INVENTORY APPLICATION IN A SPANISH MARKETING COURSE

A. Baviera-Puig , C. Escribá-Pérez , T. Baviera 

Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
In this research, we analyzed the data collected when assessing the “Leadership ability” in our University in Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA). The objective was to measure this generic skill in students. For that, we used the scale created by Kouzes and Posner (1987) in the “Marketing Management” course. Kouzes and Posner (1987) believe that leadership can be learned, it is not something one is born with. Thus, students can still learn to be leaders if they are given the right guidelines and steps.

These authors focused on individual leadership skills and found that there are Five Exemplary Leadership Practices:
i) Model the Way: leaders should behave in the same way that they encourage others to behave;
ii) Inspire a Shared Vision: enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations;
iii) Challenge the Process: search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and looking outward for innovative ways to improve;
iv) Enable Others to Act: based on trust, leaders must create a safe environment for people to collaborate, experiment and engage;
v) Encourage the Heart: celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

These five practices are also called dimensions. Six items explain every dimension. In total, there are thirty items. The response scale for every item runs from 1–Rarely or Seldom to 5–Very Frequently. We choosed this scale as it has been validated by over three million survey respondents around the globe and it is known as Student Leadership Practices Inventory (SLPI).

We analyzed 132 students who assessed themselves according to this scale, obtaining a score for every item and dimension. To determine the profile of every student, the different variables considered were “Group”, “Gender”, “Erasmus students” and “Working or having worked”. After collecting the data, we calculated the average, standard deviation and range for every item and dimension. We also conducted a cluster analysis and obtained two different segments. The first one (73 students) had a lower average for every dimension and the second one (59 students) had a higher average. Analyzing these averages, the biggest difference between groups was for “Inspire a Shared Vision” (1.08) and the lowest difference was for “Enable Others to Act” (0.49). For every dimension, we also analyzed the differences between these two segments in relation with the items that compose them. Based on the results, we can propose to each student a different development plan of this soft skill (“Leadership ability”) depending on the group they belong to.