Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type

Professional Project

Degree Name

Masters in Leadership Studies


College of Professional Studies

First Advisor

Jay Caulfield


Psychological research has shown that perception often works in a dual-basis in which a person examines a subject and weighs the subject against an ideal and non-ideal scale, independently. There have been few studies though, that have tried to apply this mechanism as a component of the dynamics involved in Leadership Studies, Organizational Behavior, or Change Management. If the mechanism is active in subordinates, then leaders can make better-informed decisions regarding their organizations, based on an understanding that reaction to both their actions and to changes that they enact are based not only on perceived ideal characteristics, but also non-ideal characteristics.

This study (n = 114) sought to identify whether subordinates who have recently experienced a change within their organization were affected by the change and their leaders' behavior through a dual-basis of perception mechanism. Results confirm that the perception on ideal and non-ideal scales for a change and for leader behavior does account for some of the variance seen in an organization's members' engagement. The strength of the perception mechanism and the positive or negative influence that the perceptions have on the subordinates were not as expected. In the body of Leadership Studies, these findings add value to the understanding that leadership is founded in the leader-follower relationship and that this relationship is affected by perceptions of both ideals and non-ideals.