This oral history focuses on the leadership behaviors, values, and beliefs of Helen Young, the wife of an early, longtime, and influential Pepperdine University president, chancellor, and minister. She played a prominent role in the development of Pepperdine University, founded as a Christian college in 1937. Her leadership skills contributed to its growth from 1957 to the present. In order to assist Church of Christ students with scholarships, she founded the Associated Women for Pepperdine (AWP) in 1958. She assisted Dr. Young in many ways as Pepperdine's First Lady, then as wife of the Chancellor as Dr. Young stepped aside from daily operational duties. She was the first member to be appointed a life member of the board of regents.
This mixed-methods study primarily utilizes the oral history approach with added analyses of artifacts and a validated leadership survey. The researcher has known Helen Young for 45 years; she devoted 40 hours of focused, iterative interviews to this study. In addition, long semistructured interviews were conducted with three different populations: 5 presidents of the AWP; 4 administrators, including 2 presidents, a vice chancellor, and the executive director of AWP; the president of the 21st Century Christian periodical; and a past chairman of the board of regents. The design also included an analysis of historical artifacts related to her leadership role at Pepperdine University and analysis of her leadership style using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, which was administered to her and to others interviewed.
The major conclusions indicate that Helen Young inspired and motivated others, especially women, to be leaders. She exemplifies God's woman—hospitable graciousness and abidingly caring—and belief in God's goodness. She has been a loving leader with persistence to stay the course; she performs what is right according to her beliefs, not what may be popular. The subject most strongly displayed Christian leadership (24% of themes) and servant leadership (23% of themes). Other themes were organizational leadership (20% of themes) and transformational (19% of themes). Interviewees reported no transactional leadership themes, but the subject gave herself modest transactional leadership scores (2.38) on the survey.
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 68/12, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biographies, Womens studies, Education history, Families & family life, Personal relationships, Sociology|
|Keywords:||Christian leadership, Leadership, MLQ Questionnaire, Servant leadership, Transformational leadership, Women leaders, Young, Helen|
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