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Title page for ETD etd-11292006-155456

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Gray, Bradley S.
URN etd-11292006-155456
Title Global Leaders: Defining Relevant Leadership for the 21st Century
Degree PhD
Department Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robert L. Crowson Committee Chair
Kassie Freeman Committee Co-Chair
Terrence E. Deal Committee Co-Chair
Patricia H. Arnold Committee Member
  • 21st century leadership
  • definition of global leadership
  • leadership systems
  • global leadership pyramid
  • capacities for global leadership
  • competencies vs. capacities
  • relevant global leadership
  • leadership development
  • global leadership
Date of Defense 2006-11-06
Availability unrestricted




Dissertation under the direction of Professor Robert L. Crowson

After an age of leadership defined by the norms and demands of an industrial era, the forces of globalization at the beginning of the 21st century, primarily ushered in by logarithmic advances of technology, have created the demand for leadership, identified in this phenomenological study as “global leadership.” Based upon demand identifiers describing the realities of the current stage(s) of globalization–bypass, simultaneity, mobility, pluralism, change, and integration–six leadership capacities were extrapolated to establish criteria upon which to analyze an effective leader in this context. Foundational is a distinction between “competencies” and “capacities” in global leadership. Where competencies are skill and task based with limited ability to fulfill adaptive work, capacities are skills and abilities that enable one to regenerate growth based on adaptive challenges, and thus innovation. The six global leader capacities forming the filter for analysis are the capacity for self-transformation, capacity of the contextual self, capacity for omnicompetence, capacity for reframing the gifts of leadership, capacity for ethnorelativism, and the capacity for transcendence. In the case of the global leader, these six capacities engage simultaneously to create the synergistic phenomenon. Two archetypal cases are considered. Findings identify that global leaders are found throughout societies although few of them are noticed because the infrastructure of leadership development, including the education systems, are geared to develop leaders for industrial model work. Global leaders are not necessarily international leaders, and it is not a contradiction for a global leader not to lead in an international context. A corollary relationship between pairs of the criteria capacities surfaces as three interacting systems: problem solving system, motivation leadership system, and transcendent leadership system, a sophisticated relationship of behaviors. Most useful are the six criteria and their systemic, integrated engagement in the global leader as these are viable as units of development. The study identifies a developmental process, and a developmental model that applies across sectors of work, ethnic, and national backgrounds. Global leadership is a human phenomenon, not confined to sector of work, geography, or other limiting boundaries, real or created.

Approved: Robert L. Crowson Date: November 6, 2006

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