Orientation Leaders: Followership Styles and Risk-Taking Attitudes
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Although researchers have investigated the role of new student orientation and transition programs on college campuses, the focus has been primarily on issues such as retention and persistence rates of program participants, academic preparation techniques, and program content or logistics. Little research has been reported on student volunteers or student leaders who serve as peer educators for these programs. While leadership style indicators and personality inventories are regularly used to assess student leadership skills, no research has been done on followership styles among student leaders in peer educator roles. In that most new student orientation programs rely on student support and require college student volunteers or employees to be in good standing, decisions made by students about activities that carry risk (e.g., drowsy driving, underage drinking, or cheating on a test) can affect the orientation program that relies on them for help, in addition to their future at the college or university. This study explored the effects of followership styles and possible relationships with risk-taking attitudes and perceptions of undergraduate college students serving in orientation peer education programs. Fourteen hundred student members from three student orientation peer educator organizations at a large state university were surveyed regarding their followership styles and risk-taking attitudes and perceptions. Respondents were asked to respond to a web-based questionnaire that contained questions from the Kelley Followership Style Questionnaire (KFSQ) and the Domain-Specific Risk-Taking Scale (DOSPERT). A total of 131 student leaders responded to the questionnaires; frequencies and percentages were reported to determine critical thinking scores, active engagement, followership styles, positional leadership levels, risk-taking intent, and risk-taking perceptions. Correlational analyses were conducted to determine relationships across positional leadership levels, followership styles, and risk-taking attitudes and perceptions. Most respondents were classified as exemplary followers and significant relationships were found between positional leadership levels and risk-taking attitudes and perceptions. Significant relationships were also found between followership styles and risk-taking attitudes in one or more risk domains.
Goodman, Ann Coombes (2015). Orientation Leaders: Followership Styles and Risk-Taking Attitudes. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from