Date of Award

Spring 4-6-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Douglas DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia White

Third Advisor

Dr. James Cox


Purpose: The purpose of this thematic, mixed-methods case study was to identify and describe the behaviors that exemplary K-12 superintendents use to create personal and organizational meaning for themselves and their followers through character, vision, relationships, wisdom, and inspiration. Further, this study surveyed followers to assess the degree to which followers believe a leader uses character, vision, relationships, wisdom, and inspiration to create personal and organizational meaning.

Methodology: This research was achieved by interviewing exemplary K-12 superintendents regarding their perceptions of utilizing the behaviors associated with the five domains—character, vision, relationships, wisdom, and inspiration.

Findings: Overall, the participants indicated that effective leaders need a balance of all five behaviors with a collective experience. Based on the interviews with the three exemplary K-12 superintendents, it is noted that the participants use the five domains on a daily basis to be exemplary leaders. Leaders depend on each one of the domains throughout their lives to make decisions for the greater good. Results from the surveys indicated leaders promote organizational development through developing character, vision, relationships, wisdom, and inspiration.

Recommendations: Further research is suggested by presenting this study to K-12 superintendents who received coaching from current or retired K-12 superintendents who were identified as exemplary meaning-makers. In addition, this same study could be replicated with leaders from Generation X or the Millennial generation to see if there are differences in the behaviors those leaders use to create organizational meaning using the five domains. Finally, superintendents should participate in 360-degree surveys twice a year including the five domains of meaning-making.