Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD)


Industrial/Organizational Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Robert McKenna

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Joey Collins

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Julianne Tillmann


vulnerability, courage, calling, differentiation, leadership


As authenticity and trust continue to be recognized as key pillars of effective leadership in today’s world (Avolio et al., 2004; Mayer et al., 1995; Peus et al., 2012), organizations need leaders who are willing to be vulnerable with those they lead. The purpose of current study was to explore the relationship between courage, other-centered calling, vulnerability, and leadership differentiation. The sample for the current study included 296 self-identified leaders who report being responsible for the work and development of others. Leaders were primarily Caucasian (83.7%), male (55.9%), and from a church/ministry setting (41.2%). The study occurred over a year span within an online leadership development tool. Moderated mediation in Hayes (2013) PROCESS Macro was used to test the hypotheses. Courage was positively related to vulnerability (B = .226, p = .000), and the relationship between courage and vulnerability was significantly moderated by other-centered calling (B = .112, p = .032). Additionally, the relationship between vulnerability and leadership differentiation was examined and found to be nonsignificant (B = -.004, p = .901). Findings from this study indicate that courage and other-centered calling are key factors in allowing leaders to choose vulnerability with those they lead.

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