Date of Award

Fall 9-7-2017

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Water Hightower

Second Advisor

Marlo J. Waters

Third Advisor

Diane L. Hambrick


Purpose. At the time, the subject of this study was selected, little to no information was available regarding why the Episcopal Church had decided at the 2012 General Convention had adopted a liturgy to provide a sacramental blessing to same-sex unions. The purpose of this study was to determine what factors and organizational culture elements the Bishops believed led to the adoption of the liturgy.

Methodology. A qualitative case study methodology was employed to collect the data needed to answer the research questions. This data included responses from 12 bishops to 13 semi-structured questions aligned with Edgar Schein’s theoretical, cultural analysis model. Respondents replies were recorded; the recordings were transcribed, and the transcribed data was inputted into NVivo 11 software for analysis. Triangulation included the literature review, transcriptions, and the collected documentation.

Findings. Major themes were identified for each research question. The finding (or themes) for Research Question 1 were justice, inclusion and equality. Themes for Research Question 2 were relationship, room at the table, long-term and autonomy Research 3 leadership in the church is bishops composed of each Episcopal Bishop, rather than a single spearhead.

Conclusions. (a) Schein’s methodology for culture analysis proved to be valid for this case study, (b) Schein’s theory of culture resting on a single leader did not lend itself to this study, and, (c) the Episcopalian’s three-pronged discernment method allows the Church to remain relevant in this ever-changing world.

Implementation for Action. The Episcopal Church should: (a) remain an active voice in human rights issues, (b) provide guidance to other religious groups struggling with marital equity, (c) continue to utilize the current discernment process to remain relevant (d) persist in reconciling people to each other, (e) provide communal decision-making workshops for community business leaders to encourage active employee participation and f) open their church to function as a haven for the marginalized and refugees.