Date of Award

Spring 3-27-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Douglas DeVore, Ed.D

Second Advisor

Patricia White, Ed.D

Third Advisor

Curtis McIntyre, Ed.D


Purpose. The purpose of this phenomenological research study was to describe the behaviors exemplary municipal police chiefs and sheriffs practiced leading their organizations through conversation using Groysberg and Slind’s (2012) four elements of conversational leadership: intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, intentionality.

Methodology. A phenomenology qualitative method was used to describe the behaviors of exemplary municipal police chiefs and sheriffs in southern California and their lived experiences related to conversational leadership. The study combined semi-structured interviews, observations, and artifact collection. These qualitative tools helped the researcher gain insight into participants’ conversational leadership behaviors. The researcher analyzed the data with the aid of NVivo software to reveal patterns and sort them into categories.

Findings. Examination of the data resulted in 20 themes and 574 references to the four elements of conversational leadership. Eight key findings were identified based on the frequency of references by study participants.

Conclusions. The eight key findings were summarized into four conclusions, one for each conversational element: (1) municipal police chiefs and sheriffs who want to provide an intimate, trusting environment must form comfortable conversational environments and create authentic, honest conversations to build trust; (2) municipal police chiefs and sheriffs committed to stakeholder interactivity and exchange of ideas create an environment for open dialogue and engage members in two-way dialogue; (3) municipal police chiefs and sheriffs committed to inclusion and sharing of ideas utilize effective conversation strategies for sharing, and create empowered internal stakeholders; (4) municipal police chiefs and sheriffs who want to ensure clarity of purpose with clear goals and direction should focus on methods to create clarity and purpose.

Recommendations. Further research is advised by replicating this study in other types of law enforcement organizations, as well as business, education, and possibly the military. Conduct a study to combine the results of this study with the peer-researchers in this thematic team to compare the results.