Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Chairperson; Lea Hubbard, PhD; Antonio Jimenez-Luque, PhD


astrology, self-discovery, self-awareness, self-development, constructivist grounded theory, Theory U, leadership, self


To fully understand leadership in today’s world, we need a radical reconceptualization of the developmental process required to lead. Changing paradigms demands new perspectives on leadership; these new paradigms suggest leaders must turn inward and develop knowledge of their inner selves to realize their full potential as leaders.

Astrology is an ancient way of knowing and making sense of the world and one’s place in it that provides benefits to many people in our modern world, despite fervent academic, religious, and scientific criticism. Astrology is more than a divination tool. It is an entire epistemology of self in relation to the cosmos that addresses the transcendent nature of human beings. In our increasingly uncertain world, millions of people are turning to astrology in search of greater self-knowledge and meaning for their lives.

This exploratory study investigated (a) the use of astrological knowledge as a tool for promoting self-discovery, self-awareness, and self-development and (b) the extent to which this tool influences changes in an individual’s self. To date, no empirical studies have been conducted to explore astrology as a developmental tool, despite its prevalence in popular culture. The data in this study documents that astrology is a useful tool for self-discovery, understanding interpersonal relationships, understanding the subconscious, healing, meaning making, making sense of change, personal guidance, and personal development. The study leaves open questions about astrology’s predictive powers and concentrates, instead, on its developmental impact on practitioners. In short, it does not directly address the academic community’s criticism of astrology and the ultimately unanswerable question of whether astrological readings are factual or merely highly functional fictions for the research participants.

While the demands of knowing one’s self are significant for exercising leadership effectively in contemporary contexts, the study of self and the ways in which individuals promote self-awareness have been minimally addressed in the leadership literature to date. This situation was the impetus for this study. The study utilized a constructivist grounded theory perspective and an interview-based methodology with both astrologers and their clients to explore the phenomenon of astrological practice as a tool for leader development.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies