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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A time out: Authentic leader development through life-stories analysis
by Dawson, Kathleen A., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2015, 204; 3746349
Abstract (Summary)

For over seventeen years, I have dedicated my life as both a teacher and an administrator to serving our children, especially our children of color and those of lower socio-economic status. I have lived and felt the successes of our children and teachers as well as the pain of public education. I have striven to be an authentic leader, keeping our children at the forefront of why we do what we must in order to provide ALL of them with equitable access to a quality education and opportunities. This has come at a heavy cost to me both professionally and personally.

During a “time out” in my career, this dissertation granted me an opportunity to reflect and analyze who I have been, who I am, and who I might become. More specifically, it allowed me to take a look at certain life stories of my past, and thus to better understand my professional experiences so that I may work towards becoming a more effective and authentic leader.

This study used an autobiographical framework with a qualitative design to analyze my life-stories and thus address the following questions: • What meanings am I taking away from my life stories? • How do my life-stories help my development as an authentic leader? • How has the notion of authentic leadership helped me understand what has happened to me professionally thus far? • What influence will this process have on who I might become? • Can this strategy help others develop into authentic leaders?

The study notes the importance of personal growth for professional growth and argues that being true to oneself does not necessarily lead to authentic leader development. Authentic leader development requires individual, systematic, and routine reflection on selected life-stories and an external catalyst to promote the discovery of deeper meaning in both the leader and his/her followers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lytle, James H.
Commitee: McNeil Dawson, Patricia, Nakkula, Michael
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Developmental psychology, Occupational psychology
Keywords: Authentic leader development, Authentic leadership, Leader development, Life-stories analysis, Life-stories approach to authentic leader development, School leadership
Publication Number: 3746349
ISBN: 978-1-339-39670-5
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