Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; William P. Foster, EdD; Mildred Hight, PhD


Humanism, Leadership studies, literature, Mechanistic beliefs, models, organizations


This study confronts the following problem: Western society and its organizations are experiencing the stresses of turbulent times about which there is little clear understanding. The study addresses the need for organizations, their leaders, and their members to understand these times and to determine how to engage themselves in moving toward more enlightened futures. The study questions whether current literature provides a basis for comprehending today's turmoil and its effect on organizations and whether the literature provides a theoretical basis for constructing a model of organizations of the future with which to help them proceed through a transition period. The researcher reviewed and triangulated over 350 pieces of current literature and determined that societal turmoil is basically the result of a shift from science-based, separatist, and mechanistic beliefs and practices to spiritually-based, holistic, and humanistic views. The literature revealed that organizational stresses are a reflection of this societal shift and that organizations must provide leadership for moving toward a desired future based on the new views. From main themes identified in the literature, a model for organizations providing this leadership and for operating in the future was constructed. The model consists of four interactive strands: One, organizations are holons in open systems. They perceive their relationships to their internal and external wholes, and they maintain their ability to change rapidly in response to interactions with their environment. Two, organizations are cultural entities which reflect holistic beliefs in spirituality and humanism. Three, the purposes of organizations are to advance toward desired futures based on these beliefs. Desired futures are identified in shared visions, and movement is enabled by flexible organizational designs which support those visions. Four, organizations are led by transformed leaders who unify members and reflect, support, and direct organizational cultures and purposes toward shared visions.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access