Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Rebecca Reichard

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Michelle Bligh

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Cindi Gilliland

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Stefanie K. Johnson

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2022 Amber Kea-Edwards


engagement, leader adaptability, leader self-development, scale development


Leader self-development is an effective strategy for developing adaptability. However, previous conceptualizations and measurements provide little insight into the process of self-development. This dissertation aims to conceptualize and validate a reliable measure of purposeful engagement in leader self-development using the theoretical frameworks of self-determination theory and self-regulation theory. Leader self-development is a continuous intrapersonal process of purposeful engagement comprised of autonomous motivation and self-regulation. To validate a scale of leader self-development and test its ability to predict leader adaptability, I conducted four studies that built on one another. The first study utilized a panel of experts to generate initial items. Studies two through four used a sample of around 300 self-identified leaders via an online survey to explore and test the factor structure and confirm the validity of the newly developed leader self-development scale. Confirmatory factor analysis determined a two-factor solution for the purposeful engagement in leader self-development (PELSD) scale, autonomous motivation and self-regulation. As predicted, PELSD had convergent validity demonstrated by a significant positive correlation with intentions to self-develop, work motivation, and work engagement. Finally, path analysis confirmed a nomological network for PELSD. Specifically, PELSD had a significant positive relationship with leader adaptability. In addition, PELSD had positive, significant relationships with learning goal orientation, goal clarity, and autonomous supportive leadership. Further, goal commitment strengthened the relationship between goal clarity and leader self-development. Unexpectedly, the organizational learning climate weakened the relationship between autonomous supportive leadership and leader self-development. This dissertation provides the first measure of leader self-development as an intrapersonal process. Future research should expand on the internal and external validity of PELSD by conducting a repeated measures longitudinal design collecting data within a corporate setting. Based on the results of this dissertation, practitioners should support autonomous motivation and self-regulation for leader development.