Ronald Mickler, Jr., John Carroll University

Ronald Mickler, Jr., Ed.D.
Assistant Dean-Accreditation & Strategic Initiatives
Boler College of Business
John Carroll University

Gender Identity, Inter-Team Competition, and Leader Self-Efficacy Developmental Trajectories in a Multi-Institutional Leader Development Program

David Michael Rosch, Lisa Kuron, Robert Reimer, Ronald Mickler, Daniel Jenkins

Journal of Leadership Education, April 2024

This study examines the evolution of leader self-efficacy among collegiate participants engaged in the multi-institutional Collegiate Leadership Competition, a unique pedagogical framework that incorporates inter-team challenges. Over three years, data was collected to explore whether gender identity influences the developmental trajectories of leader self-efficacy. The findings reveal that women participants consistently began their competition experience with higher levels of self-efficacy compared to their male counterparts. Throughout the competition and several months following its conclusion, both groups exhibited sustained moderate growth in self-efficacy, yet the initial disparity between genders remained unchanged. This persistence of the gender gap underscores the complex dynamics of leader development in competitive academic environments and offers crucial insights for leadership educators aiming to refine program effectiveness and inclusivity.

The research contributes significantly to the nascent body of literature on leadership education efficacy, particularly within settings that simulate real-world competitive dynamics. By maintaining a focus on inter-team competition, the study not only aligns with contemporary educational best practices—including experiential learning and student-centered pedagogies—but also provides a detailed assessment of how such approaches can be optimized to support diverse leader identity development. The results suggest that while competitive formats like those used in the Collegiate Leadership Competition foster leader self-efficacy across genders, they do not necessarily mitigate pre-existing efficacy disparities. These insights are invaluable for leadership educators who are tasked with designing programs that not only enhance leadership skills but also address gender-based perceptions in leader efficacy.