Date of Award

Summer 7-27-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Keith Larick, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Patricia Clark White, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Lee, Ed.D.

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to discover and describe how exemplary leaders establish common ground and produce breakthrough results in the mental health field by utilizing the 6 domains of conflict transformation: collaboration, communication, problem solving, process, emotional intelligence, and ethics.

Methodology: This thematic, phenomenological study was accomplished through examination of the lived experiences of exemplary leaders with firsthand experience transforming conflict and finding common ground. The target population for this study included executive-level leaders of nonprofit organizations, governmental institutions, state and national associations, and private businesses serving adults and children with mental illness, developmental or behavioral disabilities, and/or substance use disorders in the United States. Exemplary leaders were selected through criterion sampling to comprise the sample. In-depth, one-to-one interviews were conducted as the primary method for data collection.

Findings: The findings from this study illustrate that exemplary leaders in the mental health field use key aspects of the 6 domains of conflict transformation as a set of intersecting behaviors that facilitate transforming conflict and finding common ground.

Conclusions: It is concluded that leaders in the mental health field must have command of key aspects of the 6 domains of conflict transformation in order to achieve breakthrough results toward parity in the mental health field.

Recommendations: Further research is advised: A replication of this study, a multiple-case study, and a mixed-method study are recommended to deepen understanding of finding common ground. Phenomenological studies exploring the unexpected findings in this research are also recommended. Developing the findings in this study will be useful for shaping policy, practice, and professional development in order to impact transformational change in the mental health field.