Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; Edward F. DeRoche, PhD; Frank Medeiros, PhD; Mary W. Scherr, PhD


academic administrators, Adult development, career-related development, higher education, Leadership studies


Leadership studies have been subject to increasing criticism. At the same time, many groups and institutions are claiming that leaders are needed in today's world, more than ever before. More specifically, higher education institutions and their critics are attempting to identify the leaders and leadership behaviors that will benefit colleges and universities. A recurring comment about leadership studies is that they often cannot be understood or applied by the leadership practitioners. Is there an aspect of leadership and the human experience that can yield information to improve practitioners' understanding of leadership? This exploratory study used survey research methods, first to select a population sample and then to look for interrelationships between leaders' adult development activities and their ratings of leader behaviors. Participants in the study were academic administrators from a large, multicampus state university system. Eighty-six leaders were identified from 1,260 requests for nominations sent to academic administrators at all levels of the universities. Sixty-two persons, male and female, responded to three survey instruments in which they rated ideal and personal leader behaviors and also identified one paragraph summaries of adult development activities as accurately describing previous and/or current stages of career-related development. The study concluded that the academic administrators identified as leaders did recognize Burns's transactional model of leadership as both an ideal model and as a preferred operational model they actually used in their day-to-day leadership activities. Secondly, the study found little support for an overall relationship between adult development and leadership behavior; however, a few relationships were identified and their significance established. The researcher believes that further exploratory studies need to be undertaken in order to identify additional relationships and, as a result, expand a leadership model to include the personal growth and development that leaders experience.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access