Alexandria Digital Research Library

How leader behaviors influence task, procedural, and social goals in small group decision making: A mixed methods approach

Sturm, Kirk B.
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Degree Supervisor:
Michael Gerber
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Psychology, Social, Education, Leadership, and Speech Communication
Decision making
Small group
Social cognition
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012

The aim of this study was to better understand how leaders influence task, procedural, and social goals in small group decision making. These three goals support communications, which, in turn, leads to better decisions. Task goals include contributing and evaluating ideas. Procedural goals include agenda setting, establishing norms, and verbalizing agreement. Social goals include climate making, promoting cooperation, and investigating good (constructive) conflict. Leader behaviors influence small group communications positively and negatively. Small group communications present challenges for leaders due to diversity, conflict, cooperation, and interpersonal skills of the members themselves. Although much has been written about the epistemology of leadership, few empirical studies have described how leaders use communications to influence the members of small groups who are engaged in small group decision making.

This study followed two groups of five ROTC cadets who were engaged in a military decision-making academic exercise. The design was primarily a descriptive qualitative study using interviews although data were collected through a questionnaire (DV = leadership and IV = task, procedural, and social goals). Data were scored using rubrics. The interviews were scored using rubrics and points were awarded when a cadet mentioned a key word or acceptable alternative. Both types of data were then statistically analyzed. In addition, the interview data were analyzed for themes regarding how leaders influenced members.

Regarding the questionnaire, there were no differences between the mean scores for the task, procedural, and social goals. Regarding the interviews, task goals, members were thematically influenced by leader statements about time, task steps, and the making of quality decisions. Regarding procedural goals, members were thematically influenced by leader statements about re prioritizing time and creating updated time lines, both of which caused renegotiating of group norms, verbalizing agreement, and looking for gaps in shared understanding. Regarding social goals, members were thematically influenced by leader statements about resolving factual and procedural conflict and regulating participation. Lastly, both ROTC groups were thematically influenced by the professor of military science who provided commander's intent, feedback, and updated information during the Military Decision Making Process.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (224 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Kirk Sturm
Access: This item is restricted to on-campus access only. Please check our FAQs or contact UCSB Library staff if you need additional assistance.