Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Amy Hakim

Abstract

Poor executive leadership of organizations over the last 20 years has resulted in the destruction of stakeholder value, loss of jobs, and in some cases, risk to the entire enterprise. An executive search firm database, encompassing 16,000 leaders from 300 organizations, was analyzed to determine if the commonality and transferability of leadership competences could be used to improve executive assessment. Implicit leadership theory, where leaders are gauged by the individuals that surround them, served as the theoretical foundation. The study also relies on a leadership competency model used by the executive search firm that constructed the database and is based primarily on behavioral-event interviewing method of assessment. Inferential statistics were used to analysis the data with analysis of variance and Tukey post-hoc methods for testing mean differences, and with correlation and regression analysis to test for associations and explained variances. The executive roles were found to show a commonality of competency profiles and transferability across the disciplines studied, with the exception of the chief executive officer (CEO) role. These findings suggest that a new CEO should not be sourced directly from the other executive functions inside or outside the firm. The Outstanding leader database indicates a strong universality and interchangeability of leaders at this higher-ranking level, regardless of discipline and industry; the database is a source of new potential CEOs. Results Orientation is by far the strongest developed of the competencies for all leaders. Social change will result from better selection of top executive leaders with a positive impact for employees and all the stakeholders of the corporation or institution.