Pittinsky, Todd L., and Brian A. Welle. "Not So Lonely at the Top? The Multiple Commitments of Emerging Leaders." KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP05-009, February 2005.


Leaders are simultaneously committed to attaining their leadership goals and to developing and maintaining relationships with friends and family (i.e., interpersonal goals). In this study, we examine the commitments of emerging leaders in the public and private sectors. We hypothesize that (a) both men and women will be more strongly committed to leadership than interpersonal goals, (b) women will be more strongly committed to interpersonal goals than men, and (c) the stronger participants' commitment to one goal, the weaker their commitment to the other will be. A survey of business school and public administration school students challenged conventional wisdom. A majority of participants expressed greater commitment to interpersonal than leadership goals and, overall, men's commitment to interpersonal goals was similar to women's. Finally, there was no evidence of a perceived tradeoff between goals: most groups in our sample exhibited a strong positive correlation between commitments to interpersonal and leadership goals. We discuss implications for multiple commitments research, the experience of leadership, and possible differences between today's emerging leaders and their predecessors