Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication


Date of this Version



Haddad, B., Pierszalowski, S., & Velez, J. J. (2020). Access to leadership efficacy: those who start early finish ahead. Journal of Leadership Education, 19(2).


Copyright © 2020 The Journal of Leadership Education


An increasing number of studies point to student gains from participation in leadership development opportunities. However, very little research exists to explore who has access to these experiences. In this paper, we investigate whether a student’s employment off-campus has an impact on their ability to participate in, and experience gains in leadership efficacy from leadership training opportunities. We employ a linear regression path analysis to identify potential relationships between pre-college leadership efficacy, off-campus employment, participation in leadership training opportunities, and leadership efficacy for undergraduate students at a university in the Pacific Northwest. Pre-college leadership efficacy was the strongest predictor of leadership efficacy for undergraduate students, with hours of employment and leadership training having small, but significant, mediating effects. This begs the question: How do students build their leadership efficacy prior to entering post-secondary education and what drives students to continue to pursue experiences that develop their leadership efficacy?