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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. George R. Goethals


This thesis attempts to expand further our understanding of how implicit leadership theories and first impressions formulate our perceptions of leaders. Mainly, this paper attempts to determine to what degree geographic and socioeconomic background affect initial perceptions or “snap judgments” of potential leaders. To do this, I test to see if the positive correlation between leader height and perceived leadership effectiveness established in previous research is altered by changes in geographic or relative socioeconomic status as determined by zip code. In prior research, height has been shown to have a positive correlation with authority status at work (Gawley et al., 2014), increase in income (Judge et al., 2004), and a more favorable psychological leadership evaluation (Blaker et al., 2013). My hypothesis is that people of wealthier backgrounds will react more favorably to taller leaders than those who are not from wealthy backgrounds. In order to further investigate this question, however, I have conducted a brief literature review on the prior research that has been done on studies relevant to my study and hypothesis. Mainly, I will concentrate on the areas of first impression formation, Implicit Leadership Theories, and mindsets to discuss how these factors could lead to changing perceptions of current and future leaders. Next, I will discuss the methodology of my study, as well as my general findings, which ultimately contradict my hypothesis. Finally, I will discuss some potential conclusions that could be generated as a result of these findings as well as the shortcomings of my own work, suggesting methods of improvement and further research.