Joe Wyse


This study examines a relatively new area of investigation: the relationship between attachment theory (Bowlby, 1973, 1980, 1982) and transformational leadership theory. Using self-report surveys and controlling for demographic variables, California community college chief executive officers' (CEOs) attachment styles and transformational leadership characteristics are measured and the potential relationship between them examined (N=74). The two measures used are Kouzes and Posner's (2002a) Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and Brennan, Clark, and Shaver's (1998) Experiences in Close Relationships Scale (ECR). No significant correlation between attachment scores and the demographic variables was found in the study. Three moderate strength positive correlations were found between LPI scores and the demographic variables: between age and the LPI Enable Others to Act score, between female CEOs and the LPI Challenge the Process score, and between female CEOs and the LPI total score. The analysis demonstrated moderate correlations between the two attachment scales and the five transformational leadership characteristics as well as the LPI total score, with all 12 resulting correlations being negative and significant at the p <.05 level both before and after controlling for demographic variables. The moderate correlation found in this study between more securely attached leaders and their self-assessed transformational leadership style found provides insight into the complex fields of leadership study and personality theory. Implications include the possibility of incorporating attachment and leadership measures into employee selection to better match desired styles to the organization's needs. Individual leaders may also be able to leverage the relationship explored in this study to further their personal leadership development.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Attachment behavior; Transformational leadership; Leadership -- Psychological aspects; Community colleges -- California -- Administration

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rhodes, Kent;