Volume 38 - Number 4 - 1997 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.1997.04042
The purpose of this study was to explore the leadership practice of "enabling others to act" as defined by Kouzes and Posner. Data collected using the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) have consistently shown a significant difference between leader scores on the LPI "self" and subordinate scores on the LPI "observer." Using a multiple case study with embedded unit analysis, this research investigated why such differences exist. Three departments or centers located within Colleges of Agriculture at three midwestern land grant universities served as sites for the study. The study focused on identifying and confirming behaviors used by executive oficers that enable subordinates to perform their duties. The appropriate LPI instrument was the embedded unit of analysis with three leaders and 21 subordinates. Findings were supportive of both the transformational theory of leadership and Kouzes and Posner's emphasis on the leadership practice "enabling others to act." The departments and centers were selected because of their reputation for outstanding leadership, and the LPI confirmed no significant discrepancies between leaders and the faculty. The exemplary leader can employ behaviors that impac tfaculiy members' perceptions of their ability to act in fulfilling their responsibilities.