Dissertation Research

Leadership Program Dissertations


While other Ph.D. programs may require students to pursue the research interests of the program’s faculty, executives in our doctoral program are encouraged to explore the topics and questions that inspire them and reflect their personal interest.

Dissertation topics often evolve from questions our students have about their own leadership or companies; classroom conversations that sparked their interest; or the Center’s ongoing research initiatives.

Find a list of completed dissertations below.

Orange text indicates a hyperlink to related content.

Cohort 5 Graduates

Dr. Aleen Bayard
“We Must Talk Before We Walk: A Pathway to Reconciliation on the Journey to Positive Peace“

Dr. Theresa Christian
”Answering a Call For Clarity: Responsible Transparency“

Dr. Tenia Davis
”How Inspirational Culture Drives Transferable Servant-Leadership Behaviors“

Dr. Danielle Galbraith
”How Observers Choose Voice During a Workplace Incivility Event“

Dr. Gamini Hewawasam
”Introspective Leadership: How the Practice of Mindfulness (Satipatthāna) with Clear Comprehension (Sampajañña) from Early Buddhist Teachings Influences a Leader’s Self- Perception and Approaches to Leadership“

Dr. Sean G. Joyce
”How Can Law Enforcement Agencies Support Officers in the Aftermath of Fatal Shooting Incidents?“

Dr. Gena C. Lovett
”Positive C-Suite Behavior and Its Flourishing Organizational Culture Impact“

Dr. Jeanie C. Lucy
”Examining the Role that Medical Groups Play in Decreasing Vision Impairment Due to Diabetic Retinopathy“

Dr. David L. Schreiner
”What CEO Practices Help Rural Hospitals Engage Constituents in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous Times?“

Dr. Gloria Carney Shealey
”Game-Changing Strategies Leading African American Family Businesses to Build Legacy and Transgenerational Wealth“

Cohort 4 Graduates

Dr. William Timothy Courtney
“Lessons Learned from a Pay-for-Performance Implementation“

Dr. Tasha M. Davis
“The Impact of Social Media on Leadership: The Evolution of T-Mobile from Chopping Block to King of the Hill“

Dr. Brett Hinds
”The Nature of Global Leaders’ Power“

Dr. Dawn Jeffries
”Social Mobility for Girls Born Into Poverty: How Do African American Women Born Into Poverty Achieve Middle Class Status?“

Dr. Amber A. Johnson
”Closing the Global Change Gap: Success Factors for Leading Change Through Task, Relationship, and Cultural Complexity“

Dr. Angela M. Karesh
”What Happened to the 15%: Insights from Women Leaving Corporate Jobs“

Dr. Christopher S. Lauritzen
”Praxis, Phronesis, and the Valiant: The Practice of Practical Virtues in Elite Tactical Teams”

Dr. Colleen P. Lyons
”A Change Agent’s Journey: On the Road from Silence to VUCA Voice in a Fortune 500 Company”

Dr. Daniel J. McClellan
”Toward a Theory of Collective Self-Leadership as a Substitute for Hierarchical Leadership in an Age of Complexity”

Dr. Ted McKinney
”Fostering Psychological Safety: What is a Leader to Do?”

Dr. Salwa Rahim Dillard
”An Exploration of the Antecedents, Practices, and Outcomes of Inclusive Leadership”

Dr. Francisco Javier Vazquez Jr.
”The Impact of Humble Leadership on Innovation and Team Performance”

Cohort 3 Graduates

Dr. Dan Blood
“Development of the Team Virtuality Index”

Dr. Allison Dake
“Thriving Beyond Surviving: A Regenerative Business Framework to Co-Create Significant Economic, Social and Environmental Value for the World”

Dr. Bradford C. Davis
“Game-Based Learning For Values-Driven Leadership Education”

Dr. Patrick Farran
“Cultivating Work Meaningfulness With Appreciative Inquiry”

Dr. Trevor L. Heller
“Micro-Moments of Truth: How Servant Leaders Influence Follower Wellbeing”

Dr. Marcia Kent
“Positive Disruption: The Art and Science of Transformational Thinking”

Dr. Melissa A. Norcross
“Developing a Measure for Humble Team Culture and Exploring its Impact on Performance”

Dr. Stephanie Quirk
“What Matters Most: Study Abroad for Global Leadership Development”

Dr. Lisa Ruiz
“A Design for the Future: Leadership and Culture Change in the Framework of Design Thinking”

Dr. Nancy E. Sayer
“Benevolent Leadership and Upward Spirals of Positive Change: A Mixed Methods Study”

Cohort 2 Graduates

Dr. Walter R. Baehrend Jr.
“Refinement of the Ethical Leadership Style Questionnaire”

Dr. Sherri Black
“Transcendent Hope: A Case Study of Transformational Change in Ghana, West Africa”

Dr. Steven E. Carter
“Good Leader”

Dr. Donna L. Darr
“Appreciating Adaptive Leadership in Extreme Context: A Case Study of What is Working in the United Methodist Church’s Chicago Urban Strategy”

Dr. Jean Russo Gould
“The Link Between Values-Based Organizational Culture and Performance: An Exploratory Study of Small and Medium Sized Businesses”

Dr. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan
“Diversity and Inclusion Leadership: A Correlative Study of Authentic and Transformational Leadership Styles of CEOs and their Relationship to Gender Diversity and Organizational Inclusiveness in Fortune 100 Companies”

Dr. Edwin J. Heiser
“The Role of CEO Leadership in Driving Strategic CSR: An Enhanced Stakeholder Collaboration Model”

Dr. Bettina Huesing
“The Nature of Global Leaders’ Work”

Dr. Chantel M. Ishola
“Key Life Lessons: Learning to Lead Self and Others in Primary School”

Dr. Michael K. Kuppinger

“Teams: The Fundamental Unit of Twenty-First Century Organizational Performance”

Dr. Michele M. Major 
“The Effect of Emotionally Intelligent Relationships on Patient Satisfaction with Nursing Care”

Dr. Matthew Schatteman
“The Value of Values: An Analysis of Corporate Value Statements and Their Effect on Performance”

Dr. Clarke Sanbandal
“The Attuned Leader”

Dr. Kasey L. Short 
“Understanding the Impact of Recognition on Employees, Their Work, and Their Feelings Towards Managers”

Dr. Carla Worthey
“Optimism and Positive About People: Key Traits to Hospital Leadership Success?”

Dr. Rémi Dieudonné Vespa 
“Companies as Places of Empowerment: Growing High-Performing Companies Centered on the Empowerment of Their Stakeholders”

Cohort 1 Graduates

Dr. Benny White
“Creation of the Return on Values Assessment Instrument”

Dr. Anna M. Amato 
“Searching for the Links between Culture and Performance: The Role of Values Work as Emergent Values Practices in One Company’s Journey from Imagined to Transformational”

Dr. Shannon Brown
“How Values Driven Organizations Manage Critical Incidents: The Process Model of Organization Identity/Action Alignment”

Dr. Kerrie Aman Carfagno
“Digital Coaction: The Role of Social Media in Crisis Management”

Dr. Basil Chen
“Constructing Positive Organization Identity with Virtuous Positive Practices”

Dr. Michael Chikeleze
“Validation of the Ethical Leadership Style Questionnaire (ELSQ)”

Dr. Lee DeRemer
“The Nature of Mid-Life Introspection” Find additional content on this topic in this short video.

Dr. Barbara Fahey
“Resolution of Paradoxical Tensions: Linking Founder/CEO Values to the Viability of their Company”

Dr. Denise Lackey
“Self-Regulation and Heart Rate Variability: Promoting Psychological Resilience in Healthcare Leaders”

Dr. Indigo Johnson
“Leading out of the Darkness into the Light: My Story of Building a Business as a Leader with Bipolar Disorder.” Find additional content on this topic in this short article.

Dr. Carolyn Maraist
“A Cross-Cultural Narrative Exploration of the Life Stories of Chinese and American Peacebuilders”

Dr. Premalatha Mony
“Values-Based Leadership in a Healthcare Organization: Its Impact on Decision Making and Organizational Outcomes”

Dr. Lee Murphy
“Influencing Organizational Change by Improving Individual and Organizational Dimensions of Health”

Dr. Shaun Passley
“General Growth Process: Concept to Living Enterprise”

Dr. Joseph Ricciardi
“To Lead is To Love: An Exploration into the Role of Love in Leadership” Find additional content on this topic in this short video.

Dr. David Smith
“How do Leaders Influence Organizational Culture, Especially as it Relates to Virtuous Aspects of those Cultures?”

Dr. Joanna Beth Tweedy
“Sustainability and Flourishing: What’s Love Got to Do with It?”