Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; Mary Woods Scherr, PhD; Gerard Reed, PhD


attitudes, decision-making, intentional awareness, Leadership studies, minority & ethnic groups, non-awareness, reflective awareness, spirituality


The language of leadership is becoming increasingly spiritualized. Terms more often found in the sanctuary are now being applied to the leadership domain. Without a clear understanding of each, confusion results. This research explored the common boundaries between spirituality and leadership. Ten persons with leadership experiences were interviewed with regard to what relationships existed between their leadership and their spirituality. There were five women and five men in the study who also reflected diverse ethnic and spiritual perspectives. The researcher used a qualitative interview methodology. Each person was given the chance to review and edit the transcript of the interview. This led to their most fully developed thoughts on the subject. The findings of the study indicate that there is a significant relationship between a person's spiritual journey and one's leadership experiences. This relationship is sometimes nurtured intentionally, and other times is part of the background assumptions of the individual. While spirituality does not guarantee a more effective leadership, there is a mutually enhancing relationship between a person's spiritual journey and his or her leadership moments. Intentional spiritual development does seem to enhance the character of the reflection that is necessary to success in the leadership process. This research concludes that a leader's awareness is the key to understanding the relationship between that persons's spirituality and leadership. It proposes a descriptive model that identifies areas of awareness. The categories of awareness are: intentional awareness, reflective awareness and non-awareness. The area between intentional awareness and non-awareness is described as the area of background assumptions. The area between non-awareness and reflective awareness is represented by unreflected interactions. Spirituality enhances leadership in decision making, vision formation, attitude towards others in the leadership process, personal reflection and commitment to the cause. Leadership experiences were found to have a humbling effect which tempered the person's spirituality. All persons in this study, whether religious or not, demonstrated a profound spirituality in unique and diverse ways.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access