The Conversational Leadership of Regional Directors of Migrant Education

Date of Award

Spring 3-27-2018

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Cindy Petersen, EdD

Second Advisor

Keith Larick, EdD

Third Advisor

Jody Graf, EdD


Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological research study was to describe behaviors that exemplary regional directors of migrant education practice to lead their organizations through conversation using Groysberg and Slind’s (2012) four elements of conversational leadership: intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality.

Methodology: This phenomenological qualitative study identified and described the behaviors exemplary regional directors of migrant education practiced to lead their organization through conversation. Participants were purposively chosen based on specific criteria defining exemplary. The researcher worked with a group of 12 peer researchers and four faculty. Semistructured interviews were conducted face-to-face and the data coded for themes.

Findings: Significant research on leadership behaviors and the impact of the Migrant Education Program has been done. There remains a gap to identify and describe the behaviors used by exemplary regional directors of migrant education to lead their organizations through conversation as described by Groysberg and Slind (2012). This study revealed the ways in which leaders use intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality to lead members of their organization. Within these elements of conversational leadership, the recurrent themes of storytelling to connect members to the leader and to the organizational mission, individualized consideration of members, and the creation of both structures and process for listening to members were significant in this study.

Conclusion: Exemplary regional directors of migrant education who seek to lead their organizations through conversation will build intimacy by listening and creating structures conducive to a two-way exchange. In addition, leaders will utilize storytelling within the organization to make important connections and create common understanding of the organization’s mission.

Recommendations: Future studies should include member perceptions, generational information, gender designation or leaders of agencies of varying size. An examination of conversational leadership by cultural group, sameness, or difference would illuminate culture’s potential impact on organizational communication and conversational leadership.

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