Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Brian Cole

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Rick Zomer

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Jaime Goff


Research supports vision as a central tenet to leadership. Just as important as the content of vision is how it is communicated. However, once a vision is cast, far less is known about how it is communicated throughout the organization and how it influences members throughout the organizational hierarchy. For faith-based organizations like Christian colleges and universities, vision is particularly important as it serves to steer the institution toward a greater realization of its faith-based identity. This study contributes to the empirical research on vision, its communication, and its effect, as both the nature and impact of vision communication within Christian higher education are explored. A multicase qualitative research design was employed at 2 Christian universities in the southeastern U.S. Purposeful sampling stratified participants based on their position level within the institution (i.e., senior-level executive, mid-level manager, entry-level employee). Data were collected primarily through 36 interviews. Findings show that vision communication was primarily attributed to the president at each institution, though others felt a responsibility in sharing vision and expressed it in different ways. Additionally, there was a strong, shared alignment with the Christian-focused vision, which was a compelling factor for participants. However, the clarity of what the overall vision was or how to implement it was often obscured by factors unique to each institution, resulting in self-interpretations, assumptions, and frustration. Recommendations are provided for practitioners and for further research, including: leveraging positional power the president has as the chief communicator of vision; establishing an infrastructure for vision communication; and, for faith-based institutions, emphasizing the connection of the institution’s faith-identity to its vision in order to further inspire employees to pursue the vision.

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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