Andrew Schmidt’s Toxic Leadership Scale

There has been a lot of interest in the work of Andrew Schmidt and his Toxic Leadership Scale. I have created this webpage to provide scale items to interested researchers:

Andrew created two versions of his scale. This is the original version (developed in his 2008 MA thesis):

Schmidt (2008) Toxic Leadership Scale

 All items rated on a 6-point Likert scale response format, with answers ranging between 1 = “Strongly Disagree” to 6 = “Strongly Agree.”

All items begin with the phrase “My current supervisor…” but this could be changed to direct respondents to rate other leaders (more senior leaders, past supervisors, etc.), depending on the theory of the researchers.

Self-Promotion: alpha = 0.91

  1. Drastically changes his/her demeanor when his/her supervisor is present
  2. Denies responsibility for mistakes made in his/her unit
  3. Will only offer assistance to people who can help him/her get ahead
  4. Accepts credit for successes that do not belong to him/her
  5. Acts only in the best interest of his/her next promotion

 

Abusive Supervision:  alpha = 0.93

  1. Ridicules subordinates
  2. Holds subordinates responsible for things outside their job descriptions
  3. Is not considerate about subordinates’ commitments outside of work
  4. Speaks poorly about subordinates to other people in the workplace
  5. Publicly belittles subordinates
  6. Reminds subordinates of their past mistakes and failures
  7. Tells subordinates they are incompetent

 

Unpredictability: alpha = 0.92

  1. Has explosive outbursts
  2. Allows his/her current mood to define the climate of the workplace
  3. Expresses anger at subordinates for unknown reasons
  4. Allows his/her mood to affect his/her vocal tone and volume
  5. Varies in his/her degree of approachability
  6. Causes subordinates to try to “read” his/her mood
  7. Affects the emotions of subordinates when impassioned

 

Narcissism: alpha = 0.88

  1. Has a sense of personal entitlement
  2. Assumes that he/she is destined to enter the highest ranks of my organization
  3. Thinks that he/she is more capable than others
  4. Believes that he/she is an extraordinary person
  5. Thrives on compliments and personal accolades

 

Authoritarian Leadership:  alpha = 0.89

  1. Controls how subordinates complete their tasks
  2. Invades the privacy of subordinates
  3. Does not permit subordinates to approach goals in new ways
  4. Will ignore ideas that are contrary to his/her own
  5. Is inflexible when it comes to organizational policies, even in special circumstances
  6. Determines all decisions in the unit whether they are important or not

 

To see a copy of the scale and its exploratory factor structure, click this following link: Schmidt and Hanges Toxic Leadership Scale.

Andrew created a shortened version of his scale in his dissertation. Here are the items from the dissertation:

Shortened Version of the Schmidt (2008) Toxic Leadership Scale

 All items begin with the phrase “My current supervisor…”

Self-Promotion (α = .85):

Drastically changes his/her demeanor when his/her supervisor is present

Will only offer assistance to people who can help him/her get ahead

Accepts credit for successes that do not belong to him/her

 

Abusive Supervision (α = .79):

Holds subordinates responsible for things outside their job descriptions

Publicly belittles subordinates

Reminds subordinates of their past mistakes and failures

Unpredictability (α = .85):

Allows his/her current mood to define the climate of the workplace

Expresses anger at subordinates for unknown reasons

Varies in his/her degree of approachability

Narcissism (α = .81):

Has a sense of personal entitlement

Thinks that he/she is more capable than others

Believes that he/she is an extraordinary person

 

Authoritarian Leadership (α = .84):

Controls how subordinates complete their tasks

Does not permit subordinates to approach goals in new ways

Determines all decisions in the unit whether they are important or not

If you use these scales in your research, please cite Andrew’s work.

Thesis:

  1. Schmidt, A.  (2008).  Development and validation of a toxic leadership scale.

Dissertation:

  1. Schmidt, A. (2014). Toxic leadership, job outcomes, and the impact of military development.

Both documents are available online at the following address: http://drum.lib.umd.edu/handle/1903/3

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