University of Missouri - Saint Louis

The Graduate School


An oral examination in defense of the dissertation for the degree

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Cari Rottman
M. A. in Psychology, May, 2011, University of Missouri – St. Louis
B. A. in Psychology, May, 2008, Calvin College

The Romance of Leadership: Construct Clarification and Its Relationship with Reactions to Organizational Change



Leadership involves the dyadic relationship between a leader and his or her followers. As such, the thoughts and attitudes of the follower are an integral part of this relationship. The romance of leadership (ROL) is the degree to which followers believe that leadership “is the premiere force in the scheme of organizational events or occurrences” (Felfe, 2005; Meindl & Ehrilich, 1987). The current research examined ROL by looking at 1) the dimensionality and construct validity of ROL, 2) the difference between explicit and implicit measures of ROL, and 3) the relationship between ROL and evaluations of leader effectiveness in a changing environment. ROL was found to be best conceptualized as a three-dimensional construct with the various dimensions having differing relationships with constructs of interest. While implicit ROL was not significantly related to explicit ROL, implicit ROL did not demonstrate incremental validity. Finally, ROL was minimally related to changes in employee thoughts and attitudes in two instances of environmental change. However, when participants read about a leader’s intention to retire in a scenario, interchangeability of the leader moderated the relationship between organizational performance and employees’ projections of future leader effectiveness. Implications and future research directions are discussed.


Date: March 12, 2014

Time: 9:00

Place: Stadler 339


Defense of Dissertation Committee


Mark Tubbs, Ph.D. (Advisor)

Haim Mano, Ph.D.


John Meriac, Ph.D.

Stephanie Merritt, Ph. D.