Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Gordon Becker

Second Advisor

R. Timothy Stein

Third Advisor

Clemm C. Kessler III


To date, emergent leadership literature has not clearly indicated what variables influence group members' perception and subsequent selection of a group leader. One approach to the study of this problem has been to analyze group members' verbal behavior to identify empirically behaviors which are more frequent among leaders than nonleaders within a task group. The basic assumption underlying this approach appears to be that a group selects as its leader that individual from the group who most frequently exhibits some specific "leadership behavior(s)." The literature indicates, however, that this approach has been misleading and inconclusive. For example, in an early study in this tradition, task-group members' behaviors were monitored and classified into 53 categories (Carter, Haythorn, Shriner, & Lanzetta, 1950)* Appointed and emergent leaders' frequencies of behaviors in the content categories were then compared to the frequencies of follower behaviors. Many differences were apparent, and Carter et al. concluded that both appointed and emergent leaders made more interpretations about the situation and gave more information concerning the conduct of the group's activities than did their fellow group members.

Included in

Psychology Commons