Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Ellen Miller-Brown, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Doris Candelarie, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Rebecca McClure


Habits of sustainability theory, Organizational culture, Leadership, Founder leaders, School reform, Organizational change, Culture sustainability, Leader Dispositions, Dispositional leadership


The aim of this field-based research study was to explore and examine the importance of leader dispositions and their impact on organizational culture and sustained success. It focused on answering the following research question: What leadership dispositions, whether in education or in business, transcend organizational boundaries and most likely lead to organizational cultures that sustainably impact results and support continuous improvement?

This study spotlights the urgent need for leaders in all organizational contexts to immerse themselves in a profound and meaningful manner with developing greater awareness of the dispositions related to their leadership and the cultures they directly impact and lead. It suggests that their doing so enables them to exemplify best practices and to optimally support the growth and well-being of the organizations they serve in a leadership role.

A mixed methods Exploratory Case Study methodology was used that involved face-to-face interviews, survey, and document review as a means to better understand the complexities of leader dispositions and their direct operational impact on organizational culture. Findings revealed that the theory of action "if leaders are aware of their dispositions, then they can leverage their influence on organizational culture to impact results and sustainability" is a productive and plausible hypothesis. The study found a direct link between leaders' dispositions and their impact on organizational culture as put forth in the Habits of Sustainability theory. It also identified a theoretical frame of reference that links habits of sustainability to leader dispositions through organizational mantras and commitments. The study also clarifies actionable recommendations for learning communities, communication initiatives, and succession planning for the sustainability of the case study organization.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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