Undergraduate students (n = 144) completed the Socially Responsible Leadership Scale (SRLS), which measures leadership capacity within the framework of the Social Change Model (SCM) of Leadership Development. Observers (n = 374) who knew the students from a variety of contexts completed observer-report versions of the SRLS. The research was designed to measure differences in rating of capacity between student leaders and those who know and observe their behaviors. Mean observer scores were higher than self-reported scores for most capacities, with moderate to large effect sizes. Significant differences between self and observer interscale correlations and a high degree of subscale intercorrelations within observer-reports led to conducting an exploratory factor analysis of observer responses. A universal one-factor structure emerged that was different from the SCM model, suggesting observers make little distinction among separate leadership capacities in those they observe. Implications for leadership development and education programs are discussed including the benefit of rater training prior to the use of multisource feedback instruments, how the context in which students interact with observers affects feedback, and the need for further examination of other methods of determining effectiveness in conjunction with multisource feedback instruments.
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