Date of Award

Fall 9-7-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Julia Hadden

Second Advisor

Karen Bolton

Third Advisor

Darin Hand


Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe behaviors that exemplary Navy submarine commanders practice to lead their command through turbulent times using the leadership attributes of personal temperament, concern for the collective interest, resilience, and moral purpose.

Methodology: This phenomenological study explored the specific leadership behaviors of personal temperament, concern for the collective interest, resilience, and moral purpose that occur during turbulent times by analyzing in-depth interviews with exemplary United States Navy Submarine Commanding Officers. The study sample for this research is ten Groton, Connecticut area United States Navy submarine commanding officers who have at least fifteen years of service. They all actively commanded a submarine during the Global War on Terrorism from September 2001 to December 2009. Each was personally awarded the Meritorious Service Medal or above for the performance of their duties while holding a position of command and are retired from active duty. The researcher used the leadership attributes and behaviors of Leadership in Turbulent Times (Goodwin, 2018) to collect descriptive data on the participants' lived experiences.

Findings: The study revealed 14 themes that United States Navy Submarine Commanding Officers utilize to lead effectively through the turbulent times using the attributes of moral purpose, concern for the collective interest, personal temperament, and resilience. They achieve this by using several different tactics and plans to help guide their actions during the crisis.

Conclusions: To lead effectively through turbulent times, it was concluded that exemplary Navy Submarine Commanding Officers must use frequent, direct communication up and down the chain of command to foster a feeling of community and appreciation among their crew. They also maintain integrity with accountability and personal responsibility to create an environment that promotes and rewards ethical values and moral veracity.

Recommendations: Further research on leadership through turbulent times is recommended by comparing and contrasting the Turbulence Team's findings to identify commonalities and variances in population and experience. Additionally, the study could be replicated by examining other commanding officers or enlisted leaders from other uniformed services.