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M.S. Thesis Defense - Brooke Mott

The Role of Gender and Curiosity on Transformational Leadership: A Mixed Methods Study

8:30 am–9:30 am
Hardin Hall Room: 207 South
3310 Holdrege St
Lincoln NE 68583
Additional Info: HARH
Target Audiences:
Mark Burbach,
Environmental leaders are tasked with finding innovative solutions to dynamic and ever-changing environmental challenges. Leaders must possess the ability to gain and use new knowledge and experiences that motivate resolving gaps in one’s knowledge (i.e., curiosity) to find forward thinking solutions. Curiosity is an integral part of human existence but may be experienced in various ways. Studies have shown men and women may possess different leadership styles, but the influence of curiosity on leadership between genders has not been as readily explored. Women have shown unique characteristics for successful leadership in many contexts but are often underrepresented in natural resource management. Characteristics of curiosity and those of women leaders are similar to qualities in transformational leadership who are successful environmental stewards. This explanatory mixed methods study investigated the role of curiosity in transformational leadership and seeks to understand the influence of curiosity and leadership in women environmental leaders.
We assessed gender, trait curiosity, and transformational leadership scores of participants in the year-long Nebraska Water Leaders Academy. Regression analysis found that curiosity was a strong predictor of transformational leadership while gender was not, from both the participant and rater’s perspectives. Thematic analysis of interviews with women environmental leaders produced seven themes that inform the essence of how curiosity and transformational leadership influence the women’s experiences. Participants expressed constant awareness of stereotypical gender roles and how this played into power imbalances that both limited and supported elements of their curiosity and leadership. Their people-oriented curiosity supported communication, relationship building, and perspective gaining which were strengths of women leaders.

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This event originated in SNR Seminars & Discussions.