Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, E. James

Committee Member

Mathews, Jerry

Committee Member

Adams, T. Joe

Committee Member

Wiseman, M. William

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development


The purpose of the study is to examine real vs. ideal leadership practices of administrators according to race, gender, age, experience, and education level years in current position, and years of experience at Mississippi community and junior colleges. The survey instruments were a modified version of the Leadership Practices Inventory-Self (LPI Self) and the Leadership Practices Inventory-Observer (LPI-Observer) originally developed by Kouzes and Posner in 1985 and updated by Kouzes and Posner in 1997. The reliability and validity of the instruments have been consistently high and the instruments have been used in many studies, including doctoral dissertations and other empirical research. The researcher gained permission to use a modified version of Kouzes and Posner 1997 3rd edition Leadership Practice Inventory (LPI-Self and LPI-Observer). Also, the researcher gained permission from Brightharp to use her modified versions of Kouzes and Posner’s 1997 Leadership Practice Inventory (Self) and Leadership Practice Inventory (Observer). Brightharp’s revised versions of the LPI-Self and LPI observer were adapted to include real and ideal leadership practices described by the leaders and his or her observers. The researcher revised the demographic statements to describe her study, which included presidents and deans at community and junior colleges in Mississippi. The study included 37 presidents and deans and 98 observers. The study examined if these leaders participate in Kouzes and Posner’s five leadership practices, Challenging the Process, Enabling Others to Act, Encouraging the Heart, Modeling the Way, and Inspiring a Shared Vision. A multivariate or univariate were used to test the leadership practices, as well as a Pearson Product Moment Correlation. Results concluded there was a significant difference in leadership practice, Inspiring a Shared Vision and ethnicity. On the other hand, no significant differences were found among the remaining leadership practices nor there was no significant difference among leadership practices and gender. The study concluded that a relationship did exist between leadership practices and leaders’ years in current position. Furthermore, the study also concluded the rank of leaders’ perception of real and ideal leadership practices differed from those of their observers’ perception of real and ideal leadership practices. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.