Entertainment Media's Impact on Leadership Identity Development
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How does media shape our leadership identities? How are leaders portrayed in television and film, and how does this influence our self-development? There is research on media effects and how we are shaped by the media we consume, but there is a gap pertaining to how our leadership identity is shaped by the media we consume. The purpose of this research was to explore the gap in both leadership literature and media effects literature in regards to how entertainment media shapes leadership identity development. This study answered the following research questions: What is the impact of entertainment media and fictional characters on the Developing Self factor of the Leadership Identity Development Model? What is the impact of entertainment media and fictional characters on the Developmental Influences factor of the Leadership Identity Development Model? Fourteen students, seven freshmen and seven seniors, pursuing an undergraduate leadership degree at Texas A&M University were recruited and interviewed for the study. A qualitative study using a constructivist approach and semi-structured interviews were used. Open coding using a deductive lens and constant comparative method was used for data analysis. Themes were categorized as they fit under the Developing Self and Developmental Influence factors of the Leadership Identity Development Model. Participants discussed the various ways entertainment media influenced their behavior and leadership development. The participants in this study showed how entertainment media and fictional characters could impact the leadership identity development process. Participants shared how they grew in self awareness, were motivated into leadership, and developed interpersonal skills from watching characters on the screen. Participants even shared how they modeled themselves and their leadership style after various fictional characters. The seniors in this study were able to identify and articulate different leadership concepts they had seen in the television they watched for entertainment, demonstrating critical media literacy, and shared how the use of public pedagogy aided them in the development of this skill. As a result of this study, critical leadership media literacy is being introduced as a new leadership skillset, defined as the ability to analyze and interpret leadership models, theories, and philosophies in entertainment media. This research provides suggestions for future researchers to explore and eventually measure entertainment media’s impact on leadership identity.
Leadership Identity Development
critical media literacy
critical leadership media literacy
fictional role models
fictional role model
Social Learning Theory
Social Cognitive Theory
Eddowes, Rachel (2019). Entertainment Media's Impact on Leadership Identity Development. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from
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