Leadership and Psychology: An Anecdotal Exploration of Administrator Experiences

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Tracy Vozar, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lavita Nadkarni, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Beth Troutman, Ph.D.


Psychology, Leadership styles, Management, Confucius, Dialectics

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


This qualitative study examined the relationship between psychology, leadership, and management. Specifically, it sought to identify and understand common leadership styles used by psychologists in administrative roles. By clarifying the modus operandi of experienced psychologists, this study hopes to illuminate successful leadership styles and the skills necessary to utilize them. This research is relevant as it may help curious readers to enrich their understanding of human systems and illuminate useful leadership concepts for personnel management. Six white psychologists were interviewed during this study. They ranged in age from 28 to 66, and there were four women and two men who engaged in the research. The occupational roles played by these participants are as follows: one practice manager, one private practice owner, one associate director, and three director-level or above. Each psychologist was required to have worked as an administrator within the past 10 years and as a clinician within the last five to participate. Psychologist administrators tended to exhibit stronger leadership traits based on the amount of formal training they had received. Additionally, each leadership style appeared to vary depending on the context in which each psychologist practiced. The most common leadership style was democratic, and only two psychologists spoke directly about the dialectic nature of leadership. The presence or absence of mentoring was also noted, although it appears that the style of mentoring (i.e., personal vs. professional vs. specifically administrative) was key in determining whether the mentoring affected leadership style.


43 pgs

Paper Method

Empirical - Qualitative

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