Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Keith Larick, Ed.D.
Cindy Petersen, Ed.D.
Julie Hadden, Ed.D.
Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological research study was to describe the behaviors that exemplary unified school district superintendents practice to lead their organizations through conversation using Groysberg and Slind’s (2012b) 4 elements of conversational leadership: intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality.
Methodology: This study utilized a qualitative phenomenological inquiry methodology to study the behaviors of 10 unified school district superintendents in Southern California. Semistructured interviews followed a peer researcher-developed guide and were used in conjunction with observations and artifacts to learn about the lived experiences and perspectives of conversational leadership. Data collection and analysis was facilitated by NVivo software to identify patterns related to behaviors exemplary superintendents practiced as leaders in their organizations.
Findings: Close analysis of data from interviews, observations, and artifacts yielded 19 themes and a total of 1,525 frequencies for the elements of conversational leadership. Nine conversational leadership key findings were identified to represent how exemplary unified school district superintendents lead their organizations using the 4 elements of conversational leadership: intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality.
Conclusions: Groysberg and Slind’s (2012b) 4 elements of conversational leadership were used as the framework to describe the lived experiences of exemplary unified school district superintendents who lead their organizations through conversation. Based on the data, 4 conclusions were drawn. Unified school district superintendents who demonstrate conversational leadership (a) are committed to fostering effective relationships by engaging others in honest and authentic conversations to build trust, (b) promote conversational interactivity to communicate with transparency and engage others in two-way dialogue, (c) trust organizational members to have meaningful engagement opportunities and communicate the shared organizational goals, and (d) guide purpose-driven actions to support organizational goals by providing timely, targeted information through multiple venues.
Recommendations: Further research is recommended to study the differences between male and female superintendents on conversational leadership utilizing the elements of intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality. Knowing that consistency in leadership is important to any organization, it is recommended to conduct a study to determine whether there is a correlation between superintendents who practice conversational leadership strategies and the length of time they remain in an assignment in a district.
Cardenas, Jacqueline A., "Conversational Leadership Behaviors of Exemplary Unified School District Superintendents" (2019). Dissertations. 255.