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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

What Difference Does it Make? A Qualitative Inquiry into Longer-term Outcomes of a Transformative Education in Relational Leadership
by Otter, Ken, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, 431; 3539799
Abstract (Summary)

Responding to the dearth of research in the longer-term outcomes of leadership education programs, this qualitative study examined the changes in graduates of the Master of Arts in Leadership (ML) program at Saint Mary's College (SMC) 1.5 to 2.5 years following graduation. To learn more about the longer-term outcomes of the ML program, data was gathered primarily through in-depth interviews, and corroborated by a comparison of three Hall-Tonna Values Assessment instrument administered over a 3–4 year time span, and a survey of colleagues and associates on their observations of change in the participants. The twelve participants in the study were drawn from five different cohorts from the ML program. These participants reflected a typical cohort profile, which included diversity in age, gender, ethnicity, work sector and setting, levels of responsibility, and degree of satisfaction in the program.

A thematic analysis of the data revealed findings involving eighteen themes in four distinct but interrelated categories of change. These four categories of change include: Change in Understanding and Practice of Leadership; Change in Capacity to Learn; Personal Change; and Change in Effect in Others/Systems.

The findings of the study are discussed largely through two theoretical lenses: a relational view of leadership, and the Hall-Tonna Values Development Theory. The conclusions of the study include three distinct and interrelated considerations for the field of leadership development. (1) The binary frame of leader and leadership development prevalent in the leadership literature, which divides the locus of attention for learning leadership, is an inadequate frame for understanding relational leadership development; (2) Social constructionist and participatory paradigms of inquiry are more suitable paradigms through which to conceptualize relational leadership development; and (3) Effective designs for transformative learning programs in leadership should include attention to both immersive and formal, as well as in-the-midst-of-everyday action and informal learning experiences. These three considerations have important implications for enhancing leadership capacity in people, and in the systems in which they live and work. In this way, this study contributes to the promise that leadership can positively respond to the challenges and opportunities of today's increasingly complex and interdependent world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fahim, Urusa
Commitee: Hall, Brian, Simons, Shoshana
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Humanities with a concentration in Transformative Learning and Change
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Adult education, Business education, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Leadership, Leadership development, Participatory paradigm, Relational leadership, Transformative learning, Values development
Publication Number: 3539799
ISBN: 978-1-267-64269-1
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