Preferred Name


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Strategic Leadership Studies


Ben Selznick

Christine E. DeMars

Karen Ford


Discussions of what it means to be an effective outdoor leader are common in outdoor education literature (Smith & Penny, 2010). Research has identified core competencies, conceptual frameworks, and course curricula for effective leadership. However, the criteria upon which judgements are made about leaders lack clarity (Smith & Penny, 2010). Furthermore, very little is documented, and few evaluation instruments exist to evaluate outdoor leader effectiveness (Phipps et al., 2005). The lack of instruments is problematic for four reasons: (1) it hampers efforts to create recognized outdoor leader certifications, (2) it impedes efforts to demonstrate the value of outdoor leadership program outcomes, (3) it hinders the ability to provide feedback to students, and inform leadership curriculum design, (4) it makes pairing outdoor leadership teams a matter of guesswork.

The Outdoor Situational Leadership Rubric (OSLR) was the focus of this study. The rubric was designed to measure college students’ knowledge of four basic leadership styles put forth in the Situational Leadership Model, and the ability to assess the performance readiness of followers. Students participating in the outdoor leadership training were required to keep a structured journal throughout the course. A four-element, behaviorally anchored assessment rubric (the OSLR) was used to evaluate the major components of the Situational Leadership Model using students’ structured journals.

Generalizability theory was used to gather information on the relative magnitude of different sources of error the OSLR and produce dependability coefficients. The results of this study do not support the assertion that faculty members can dependably rate situational leadership using the OSLR. It may be that lack of true score variance contributed to the low G and Phi coefficients. More research is needed to examine the psychometric properties of the OSLR. In addition, these findings suggest that further scrutiny of the conceptual basis of Situational Leadership may be warranted.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.