Date of Award

Summer 5-20-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Doug DeVore, Ed.D

Second Advisor

Lisa Simon, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Kelly Davids, Ed.D.


Purpose: The purpose of this descriptive, qualitative case study was to identify and describe exemplary military senior leaders’ perceived importance of emotional intelligence (EI) characteristics when leading organizational change. The study explicitly addressed the behavioral characteristics of U.S. Marine leaders associated with the EI framework for emotional competencies using Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee’s (2002) four EI components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management competencies.

Methodology: A qualitative multiple-case study method was appropriate for this research due to its focus on analyzing the 12 exemplary senior leaders’ perceived importance of EI characteristics to lead change. The qualitative instrument included an in-person or telephonic interview of eight EI questions and the collection of award artifacts. These qualitative tools helped the researcher gain insight on the perceived importance of EI competencies for exemplary senior military leaders who were affiliated with the Installation Personnel Administration Center (IPAC) aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California. The results of the data collection were analyzed using coding software to identify patterns and sort them into components. Findings: Participants identified EI components as essential when leading an organizational change episode. Although all components were deemed important, relationship management was determined to be the most valuable EI component when describing competencies while leading change.

Conclusions: Senior U.S. Marine Corps leaders with high EI are perceived as effective change leaders who can positively lead an organizational change episode. Military senior leaders who foster strong relationship management skills with the competencies of influence, communication, collaboration and teamwork, conflict management, leadership, change catalyst, and building bonds are successful at leading organizational change.

Recommendations: The researcher recommends that senior leaders tasked with an organizational change episode focus on all four of Goleman et al.’s (2002) EI components, but relationship management is the most critical to be an exemplary change episode leader. Military commanders and department leaders looking for positive organizational change should select senior leaders who foster relationships and have strong EI skills to lead the change episode.