This study answered the call of Luthans and Avolio (2003) to focus on leadership training approaches that facilitate the development of authentic leadership and followership. Further, it answered the call of Gardner, Cogliaer, Davis, and Dickens (2011) for more “evaluations of the host of … programs currently offered that promise to enhance the development of leaders, including their authenticity, integrity, and effectiveness” (p. 1141). Researchers or curriculum designers are interested in authentic leadership development. However, it is not yet clear which developmental approaches may have the most effect on PsyCap or Authentic Leadership behaviors. Positive Organizational Behavior theorists recommend trying different approaches to determine which have an effect (Luthans and Avolio, 2006). To that end, this study sought to generate new knowledge about the type of intervention approaches that effect PsyCap and Authentic Leadership Development. The two-part purpose of this study was to a) measure the relationship between psychological capital (PsyCap) and authentic leadership (AL) and the extent to which these variables are modified by professional development and gender and b) to explore the perceptions of leaders regarding their experiences in professional development programs, the emotions that contributed to their professional development, and the differences in their perceptions of men and women. The study hypothesized that there is a relationship between these two variables and that they are moderated by gender and professional development. Quantitative results suggested a correlation exists between PsyCap and AL and that the relationship is stronger among those who completed graduate school, those who attended two or three of the corporate training programs, and those who participated in the mentoring program. Findings showed that the relationship was stronger among females. Qualitative findings explained that women are more passionate about growth and development than men. Qualitative findings suggested that participants believed that mentoring is an important component of leadership development and that the success of leadership development depends heavily on experiential learning, the supportiveness of the environment, and trust in leadership. Qualitative findings also showed that attitudes and emotions such as confidence, hope, optimism, resilience, patience, compassion, empathy, and positivity may contribute to an individual’s leadership development.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Leadership -- Psychological aspects -- Case studies; Organizational effectiveness -- Measurement; Organizational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Leigh, Doug;