Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Patricia Clark White

Second Advisor

Dr. Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Lee


This study was conducted independently, but in collaboration with a team of peer-researchers who came together to study the lived experience of exemplar leaders in diverse organizations as they transformed conflict to reach common ground. This study contributed to the collective work by looking at K-12 Human Resource Officers (HROs) as the population of interest. HROs are often at the center of resolving conflict, yet only a few emerge as exemplar leaders. These exemplar leaders were the target population situated in the phenomena under investigations. The team selected a qualitative phenomenological approach, in an attempt to uncover what strategies exemplar leaders used to transform conflict to find common ground using the six domains of conflict transformation behaviors: collaboration, communication, emotional intelligence, ethics, processes, and problem-solving. Evidence showed that exemplar leaders tended to integrate these domains, rather than using them separately, for a more powerful impact in transforming conflict and finding common ground. Interviews, observations, and artifact data identified shared practices and behaviors to represent a more powerful repertoire of conflict transformation skills.