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Field Independence/Dependence: A Hypothesized Relationship With Leadership and Academic Spheres of College Students
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by Carolyn C. McNamara and Eileen M. England* - Ursinus College
This study related field independence/dependence to leadership and academic realms. One hundred and twenty-two upperclass students, who were science majors, humanities majors, campus leaders, or leadership scholars, completed the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) as a measure of field independence/dependence. Bennis's (1989) theory of leaders versus managers was applied to field independence/dependence to test the hypothesis that leadership scholars would be comparable to Bennis's managers and would be field independent whereas campus leaders would be comparable to Bennis's leaders and would be field dependent. Although both leader groups did not differ significantly, natural science majors were more field independent than humanities majors, no sex differences were found, and switching majors was unrelated to field independence/dependence. Finally, participants accurately related their own analytical ability as measured by the GEFT but not their interpersonal ability. Although field independence's relation to the academic sphere has been reaffirmed, the manner in which leadership reflects cognitive style remains an unanswered question for future research.