Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


Professional Citizenship and Otherness Leadership Development: Examining the Relationships among Meaning, Moral Reasoning, and Diversity Competencies of Graduate Students

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Patrick Pauken

Second Advisor

Steve Cady (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Roger Colcord (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Mary Ellen Edwards (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Judith Zimmerman (Committee Member)


This dissertation explored the relationships among three variables: meaning, moral reasoning, and diversity competencies. The relationships were examined to attempt explaining two central themes: professional citizenship and otherness leadership. A sampling of graduate students from business and education colleges at a Midwestern public institution was surveyed online with the Otherness Development Survey. The survey instrument had 104 items in four parts. Part one addressed meaning in life (as in spirituality) with ten items; part two had six managerial-based scenarios with several subsections to measure moral reasoning; and part three had 15 items measuring universal diversity competencies. The last part was a demographic survey.

The results from the survey showed a low response rate, which imposed some limitations on the subsequent data analyses. The study limitations, including instrumentation and administration, are worth noting. However, the descriptive statistics and a limited inferential statistics yielded interesting results. Overall, the relationships among the main variables showed no statistical significance. But there were interesting relationships among the various subsections that were discussed. Practical applications of the present study focused on the discussions on such concepts as spirituality, morality, and diversity in both business and education. Importantly, the interrelationships of meaning, moral reasoning, and diversity competencies were discussed for pedagogical development in higher education. The interplay of these concepts was recommended for the creation of purpose, moral responsibilities, and altruism and constructive appreciation of otherness in a cultural heterogeneity among college graduates.

Finally, further recommendations were discussed for adulthood literature, pedagogical studies, and scholarship on professionalism and otherness leadership. In particular, it is recommended that curricula in business and education should be holistic, facilitate the processes of civic consciousness, and promote inclusiveness. The present study has set the agenda for further explorations and discussions on the two themes of professional citizenship and otherness leadership.