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ERIC Number: ED513679
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 265
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-8647-3
An Investigation of Highly Effective Leaders in Outdoor Adventure Programs Using a Multi-Method Approach
Hobbs, William D.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Research on leadership in outdoor adventure programs has focused primarily on Educational and Outdoor Skills. Anecdotal and practical experience has suggested that the performance of highly effective leaders may depend instead on distinctive qualities and components closely tied to individual character--a perspective of transformational leadership. These "Human Skills" have received some attention, but the overall understanding of core skill integration is less well understood within the field. Indeed, some studies have suggested that the practice of outdoor leadership depends more on the behavioral and cognitive domains. Using grounded theory, this two-part research project integrating expert opinion and empirical literature was designed to investigate these more intuitive understandings of exceptional effectiveness among outdoor leaders. The "scope" of highly effective leadership was explored through a modified Delphi process with experts in outdoor adventure. Group members represented six major segments of the outdoor adventure industry including academia, collegiate recreation programming, Wilderness Education Association, Outward Bound, independent programs, and the National Outdoor Leadership School. A list of 33 items salient to highly effective leadership was developed by the 22 panel members. While some items on the list have been well-discussed in the field, four items emerged that have received less attention--Authenticity, Integrity, Vision, and the Conceptual Thought Process. The "depth" of highly effective leadership was examined through a qualitative look at these four key items. Findings indicate that intangible properties of the person in leadership are essential for high levels of effectiveness. Students in outdoor adventure programs must place their physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being in the hands of relative strangers while enduring significant hardship and challenges designed to encourage personal growth. As the skill trainer, program designer, translator, facilitator, and counselor (Kalisch, 1979), the findings indicate that the outdoor leader cannot rely on basic training in specific leader behaviors alone (outdoor and educational skills)--she must be equally engaged in developing key internal qualities in order to ascend to high levels of effectiveness. These findings suggest that equal, if not more, focus and energy should be devoted to train and develop authentic, visionary leaders of integrity in outdoor adventure programs. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A