Andrea Mesa

Andrea Mesa

University of Rhode Island

Psychology & Communication Studies


Mentor: Dr. Michael Middleton, Department of Education

Do Leaders report higher value for attention-seeking behaviors than non-leaders?

Research about leadership styles and the influence of leaders on small groups and organizations has examined leaders’ values and motives as well as their sense of altruism versus egoism as ulterior motives. Locke (2002), argued the importance of egoistic behaviors on leaders as their basis for action. Although the leaders may not be aware of these self-interests, Palmer (1990 encourages leaders to look inside their souls and admit to the worst parts of their personalities even if it’s not sociable acceptable. In this case we propose that the need for recognition leads to the need for attention. Therefore, leaders could appear as passive attention seekers, whether it’s happening at a conscious level or not. In this research attention seeking is not considered a negative trait, but one that can be used by leaders for the benefit of the groups they lead.

This research addresses the question of how much do campus leaders who hold a visible versus not so visible leadership position differ in their reports of attention seeking behaviors and values. Through self-report measures, we will examine motivation, defined as attention-seeking behaviors, power motive, recognition motive, and values, defined as the attention audiences provide to the leaders. Differences between highly visible leaders, not visible leaders, and a control group of non-leaders, will be tested through analysis of variance. Descriptive statistics including correlation analysis will also be reported.

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