Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Jerome J. Ammer, PhD, Director; Mary Jo Abascal-Hildebrand, EdD; Mary Woods Scherr, PhD; Diane C. Hatton, DNSc


advocacy, Breast Cancer prevention, conventional wisdom, Grounded theory, Leadership studies, meta-organization, organizational culture


This study explored organization culture and policy within the community/metaorganization formed by diverse arenas of breast cancer prevention. The subject area of breast cancer was chosen due to its social significance as a major health issue. The phenomenon of organization culture was chosen due to the interest of the researcher, and the implications for collaborative leadership within the cancer prevention community. The community/metaorganization includes formal and informal relationships between organizations that have a role in the prevention of breast cancer. Included were individuals working/volunteering in different arenas across organizations with undefined lines of authority and communication. Four arenas of involvement were determined significant: (a) primary prevention, (b) secondary prevention, (c) tertiary prevention, and (d) advocacy. Qualitative methodology was applied to develop a grounded theory inductively, primarily from interviews and a focus group. The findings of the study suggest nine distinct organization cultures exist within the breast cancer prevention community/metaorganization. The cultures observed related to each other based on their alignment to the three prevention policy arenas: primary, secondary, and tertiary. A dominant culture emerged referred to as conventional wisdom. Emergent was a significant complex interaction of conventional wisdom with the advocacy movement of the early 1990s. This interaction consisted of a clashing that resulted in differentiated culture outcomes for advocacy: radical activism, political activism, and outreacher. The study presents examples of both clashing cultures and collaborating networks, grounded in the data collected from participants. Leadership emerged from the data as a major theme/category expressed in different ways by participants from different organization culture perspectives.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access