Date of Award

Spring 4-23-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Cindy Petersen, Ed.D

Second Advisor

Keith Larick, Ed.D

Third Advisor

Jody Graf, Ed.D


Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological research study was to describe behaviors exemplary high school principals practiced to lead their organization through conversation using Groysberg and Slind’s (2012c) four elements of conversational leadership: intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality.

Methodology: This qualitative phenomenological study described the lived experiences of exemplary high school principals. A sample of 10 participants was selected from the target population that was narrowed to high school principals in Los Angeles County. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in accordance to a protocol developed by a team of 12 peer researchers with the guidance of faculty. In addition, data from observations and artifacts were utilized for triangulation.

Findings: The analysis of data resulted in 21 themes and 644 frequencies across the four elements of conversational leadership. These 21 emergent themes revealed 9 key findings.

Conclusions: The research study identified the behaviors exemplary high school principals practiced to lead their organizations through intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality. Exemplary high school principals created personal connections through storytelling and flattened hierarchical structures to promote interactivity. Additionally, they listened actively to demonstrate servant leadership and incorporated clear and consistent communication to articulate direction and purpose.

Recommendations: Further research in conversational leadership is advised. This research study should be replicated on a larger scale to incorporate broader geographical boundaries. Additionally, further studies should focus on other aspects including gender and socio-economic factors. Another recommendation is a meta-analysis of the studies conducted by the 12 peer researchers on conversational leadership.