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Reinforcement of leadership behavior in specially-constructed groups

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Item Summary

Title: Reinforcement of leadership behavior in specially-constructed groups
Authors: Zdep, Stanley Michael
Keywords: Leadership
Reinforcement (Psychology)
Issue Date: 1967
Publisher: [Honolulu]
Abstract: Current interest in behavior modification through use of reinforcement principles recently has been extended to the area of leadership behavior. Several studies have shown that it is possible to increase both participation and status of a selected person within a group by giving him positive reinforcement for leadership behaviors, while at the same time punishing these same behaviors in other persons within that group. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of reinforcement in a group situation in which personality characteristics associated with leadership behavior were controlled. The CPI Leadership scale was administered to 177 student volunteers from introductory psychology classes at the University of Hawaii. ~s were then rank-ordered on the basis of these scores and assigned to one of four experimental conditions. A total of 36 four-person groups with nine groups per condition were formed. Half of the groups had target persons (TPs) with high leadership scores, and half had TPs with low scores. Using a factorial design, half of these TPs were reinforced for specified leadership behaviors and punished for silence (all reinforcement administered through individual earphones), while the other half received no reinforcement. Non-target persons (NTPs) in all groups had intermediate leadership scores, and they were punished (buzzer) for leadership behaviors and positively reinforced for agreeing with TP. The results indicated that high leadership TPs participated more in the discussion and were rated significantly higher on leadership behaviors by NTPs. All ratings were made on modified Bales interaction categories following the discussions. Moreover, it was possible to increase talking time significantly through reinforcement for high leadership TPs but not for low leadership TPs. This increased verbalization for high leadership TPs was maintained during unreinforced generalization sessions conducted 24 hours later. Reinforced high leadership TPs were rated higher than their non-reinforced counterparts on eight of the nine scales used, although individual mean differences were not significant. Among low leadership TPs, the reverse was true. Reinforced TPs were rated lower than TPs in the respective control condition, but again, the magnitude of the differences did not reach significance. These latter findings were explained in terms of nonverbal cues associated with punishment of TP for silence. Following reinforcement morale tended to be lower only in groups with reinforced low leadership TPs. In this latter case, it was not that NTPs resisted the reinforced TP, but rather that these TPs seemed to refuse to assume leadership responsibilities in the group. Groups with reinforced high leadership TPs reported the greatest satisfaction with the group product, while groups with reinforced low leadership TPs reported lowest satisfaction, although all ratings were above the "average" modulus (50%-ile) presented to Ss.
Description: Typescript.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii, 1967.
Bibliography: leaves [78]-84.
viii, 84 l tables
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/11904
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Psychology



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