Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Perspectives on Leader Development: An Interpretive Qualitative Study of Virginia Military Institute
by Tertychny, Gerard P., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2013, 164; 3550496
Abstract (Summary)

According to the publications of Virginia Military Institute (VMI), leader development is a key tenet of the unique education offered there and the education of leaders is the Institute's reason for being. The college maintains that it produces leaders for society and that leadership opportunities are imbedded in every aspect of a cadet's experience. This study addressed a gap in the research, that is, to examine the leader development program at a military college through the perspectives of staff and cadets.

The purpose of this interpretive qualitative study was to examine the perspectives of the participants with regard to the leader development dimension of VMI. The feedback-intensive model of leader development and learning frames this study and will help to ascertain how a military college like VMI, given its constraints and limitations, develops the leadership capabilities of its cadets, how it produces graduates who are well-suited for leadership positions upon their graduation, and how its leader development ethos contributes to its organizational identity.

The primary research question was, "How do cadets and staff perceive the leadership instruction they teach and receive at VMI?" Additional questions were 1) How does Virginia Military Institute develop the leadership capabilities of its cadets in order to produce graduates who are prepared to assume leadership roles upon graduation?; 2) How does the Institute utilize the feedback-intensive model of leader development and practical application?; and, 3) How do cadets and staff perceive the Institute with regard to organizational identity?

Throughout this study, the researcher collected a considerable amount of data, through document review, semi-structured interviews with both key Institute staff and with cadets from all four classes, and with focus groups representing each class. In connecting the data collected to the research questions, it is the researcher's opinion that VMI, while not necessarily adhering as a single entity to the feedback-intensive model of leader development, has managed to envelop its cadets in a leader development cloud, relying on them to seize the opportunities presented to them.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wesner, Marilyn S.
Commitee: Cotting, Dave I., Higgins, Phyllis L.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Higher Education Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Adult education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Leader development, Leadership, Military colleges
Publication Number: 3550496
ISBN: 978-1-267-87625-6
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