The Bilingual Leader: A Quantitative Study

By Norma Joyner, Mark Green, Charles Salter and Nikkie Saldivar Hodgson.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication

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Transformational leadership has consistently shown to result in high follower satisfaction, high follower assessment of the leader’s effectiveness, and high follower willingness to give extra effort at work. Because it is so effective, an array of studies exist that search for correlates and predictors of transformational leadership. Meta-analytic studies by Lord, Vader and Alliger (1986) and Judge, Colbert, and Ilies (2004), have both found a relationship between leader intelligence and effective leadership. Several studies show a direct correlation between learning more than one language and cognitive development. Adesope et al. (2010) conducted a meta-analysis which included 63 studies representing 6,022 participants, about the correlation between bilingualism and cognition. The meta-analysis found that bilingualism was positively associated with several cognitive outcomes. One area of research related to transformational leadership that has not been explored is how the number of languages a leader speaks might be related to her or his style of leadership. This study evaluates if there is a difference in the leadership style as a result of whether the leader was monolingual or bilingual. One hundred sixteen participants in executive leadership training and graduate programs in leadership provided an evaluation packet to two peers, two followers and a supervisor using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, often referred to as a “360 degree” assessment, as the leader is being rated from three different organizational viewpoints. The participants in turn completed a language use questionnaire modeled after the Language History Questionnaire (Li, P., Sepanski, S. and Zhao, X., 2006). A three-way analysis of variance was run with 360 degree ratings of transformational leadership as the dependent variable and leader gender, ethnicity, and whether the leader was bilingual as the independent variables. None of the main effects were significant. There was, however, a significant interaction effect for ethnicity and whether the leader was bilingual.

Keywords: Bilingual, Bilingualism, Leadership, Transformational

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.29-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.022MB).

Norma Joyner

Doctoral Student, Our Lady of the Lake University, Houston, TX, USA

Norma G. Joyner, M.Ed. is an elementary school teacher for Bilingual Education. She holds an M. Ed. in Instructional Leadership for Bilingual Education. She does Academic Intervention for Bilingual students at different schools in the Spring Independent school district. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at Our Lady of the Lake University. She has volunteered as a Court Appointed Child Advocate.

Dr. Mark Green

Professor, Department of Leadership Studies, Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, TX, USA

Dr. Mark Green is a professor of leadership studies at Our Lady of the Lake University. He holds a Ph.D. in educational administration, a MBA, a MS in information systems, a MEd, and a M.A. in theology. He teaches leadership in his university’s doctoral program in leadership studies, and has chaired over 40 doctoral dissertations in the field of leadership. Prior to his career in academia, he served as a military officer with assignments at the Pentagon and the Army Medical Department Center.

Dr. Charles Salter

Professor, Schreiner University, San Antonio, TX, USA

Charles Salter, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of business administration at Schreiner University. He holds a Ph.D. in leadership studies; a MBA with a concentration in management and finance; Series 6, 63, and 65 securities licenses; and is a Texas real estate broker. He has served on the board of directors for a health care firm and a charitable organization, and has over 32 years of experience in middle and upper management and leadership for three Fortune 500 organizations, and in municipal government.

Dr. Nikkie Saldivar Hodgson

Professor, University of Texas at Brownsville, Corpus Christi, TX, USA

Nikkie Saldivar Hodgson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Texas at Brownsville. She holds a Ph.D. in leadership studies and a M.A. in communication studies with a concentration in organizational communication. She teaches communication related courses and is an active member of numerous departmental and university committees. She continues to serve on the board of directors for state and community organizations.