Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; Robert L. Infantino, EdD; Helen deLaurentis, PhD


El Cajon Police Department (El Cajon, CA), Intel Corporation (Silicon Valley, CA), Leadership studies, management, personal narratives, postindustrial leadership, San Diego State University (San Diego, CA), Woodbridge High School (Irvine, CA), Walt Disney Institute (Orlando, FL)


Leadership scholars and researchers have still not come to an agreement as to what the nature of leadership is. Most research within leadership studies has been grounded in preconceived or stated definitions of leadership. However, very little information exists about people's experiences of leadership. This project addresses the lack of experiential clarification of the leadership relationship. It utilizes a new leadership research method grounded in the experience of people. Leadership narrative research uses the stories people tell about their leadership experiences as a form of data collection This study is designed to discover if Rost's (1991) definition: "Leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes," reflects the lived experience of people or if his definition prescribes what leadership should be (p. 102). This study into the nature of the phenomenon of leadership adds to the understanding of the leadership dynamic by investigating leadership as experienced by a variety of individuals within different milieus. The researcher interviewed five people in five different private and public organizations. The interviews were then transcribed and analyzed. The research population included participants from Walt Disney Institute; Intel Corporation; and San Diego State University; the El Cajon Police Department and Woodbridge High School, Irvine, California. The data demonstrate a general identification by the participants of leadership with management. However postindustrial leadership values do arise within some stories indicating a shift in consciousness and transition from the industrial to postindustrial paradigm. The study uses the metaphors of journey and conversation, along with 22 personal narratives to help differentiate the nature of leadership from management theory. Of the 22 narratives the researcher analyzed 5 stories describing the participants' lived experiences fit Rost's definition. Six stories partially reflected the definition. Eleven stories did not reflect it. Therefore, the definition for those eleven is prescriptive.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access