Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type



Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Peter Williams

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Garry Bailey

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Jaime Goff


Psychological aggression in the workplace is known to be destructive. Most commonly, knowledge of this workplace dynamic is through the literature of workplace bullying or abusive supervision and from the perspective of the accuser. Very little is known of the perspective of the accused. Moreover, unknown in the literature is the valued perspective of the leader who (a) acknowledged his or her behavior was inappropriate and (b) significantly improved his or her interpersonal behavior and management strategies. The purpose of this study was to inquire into the experience and meaning making of three formerly abrasive leaders who were positively influenced with intervention and whose complaints of abrasive behaviors were substantially reduced or eliminated. Narrative inquiry, a highly relational and collaborative method, was used to inquire into the developmental experience. Using this method, each leader and the researcher inquired into the stories of the leader. The inquiry culminated with a co-composition of the leader’s experience of moving away from the use of abrasive behavior. Each leader’s co-composition was included as a stand-alone chapter and was the initial level of experiential analysis. The final chapter of this dissertation, a proposed journal article, offered a secondary level of analysis to examine three emergent narrative threads (disruption, awakening, and equipping). Related stories and experiences of each leader were presented within the discussion of each emergent thread. In addition, the conceptual framework of adult development theory, specifically the works of Jack Mezirow and Robert Kegan, enhanced understanding of the experience of each leader. Stories from each leader offered insight into four-shared concepts of Mezirow and Kegan (meaning making, impetus of development, assumptions, and blind spots). Practical implications and study limitations as well as future research directions were also discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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