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Spirituality in leadership: how male African American leaders in higher education perceive the influence of spirituality in their decision making




Burgess, Dale S., author
Davies, Timothy Gray, advisor
Morgan, George, committee member
Scott, Malcolm, committee member
Garrett, Crystal, committee member

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The purpose of this study was to better understand how male African American leaders in higher education perceive the influence of spirituality on their leadership decision making. This phenomenological study provided the opportunity for seven male African American leaders in higher education to explain in their own words how they perceive the influence of their spirituality in their own professional decision making, in their leadership roles. The study used individual, in-depth interviews for data generation and collection. The participants in the study held leadership roles of Dean, Associate Dean, or Department Chair. They worked for major universities, private colleges, or for-profit colleges in a major metropolitan area in the South. The participants self-identified themselves as being spiritual. Participants entered into a discussion format that began with several open-ended questions. Their interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Common themes emerged from each data set and then brought together in describing the phenomenon. One common, predominant theme emerged within this analysis. Each participant directly connected his spirituality to his personal belief in the Triune God. Further, these participants saw no difference between their spirituality and their Christianity and used the two terms interchangeably. Participants believed that because of their ongoing communication with God through prayer and meditation, they were able to draw on their spirituality as needed to help them make decisions. They stated that it was their ongoing relationship with God that gave them the spiritual reinforcement they needed when making their leadership decisions.


2012 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references.

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decision making
education leadership
higher education
male African American leadership


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