Please join us to congratulate and learn about the Dissertation of the Year graduates and the Faculty of the Year awardees.
Dissertation of the Year
Dr. Scott G. Drexler
Dissertation Abstract: This heuristic inquiry was an exploration of the mindful awareness of internal and external influences on the actions of leaders in High Reliability Organizations (HRO) when faced with dangerous situations so physical and psychological harm can be averted. HRO leaders require a discriminatory mindfulness to subtle danger signals and cues in complex, high-risk systems to sustain safe and reliable performance (Weick & Sutcliffe, 2007). In 2013, even with mindful principles in place, over 300 vital HRO personnel lost their lives in dangerous contexts (DOD, 2015; FBI, 2015; NFPA, 2015). Conceptually HRO leaders are conscious of subtle present-moment physical and psychological stimuli and cues while making decisions and applying behaviors in dangerous situations. The specific problem is that unsustained mindful awareness of internal and external cues may lead to severe injury or death of HRO leaders in dangerous contexts. Thirteen HRO experts in the South Eastern United States with experience leading in dangerous situations were selected from within law enforcement, firefighting, and military domains using purposeful sampling criteria. Data were collected through semi-structured participant interviews. Four themes emerged from an analysis of collected data including focus on present moment, consciousness of one’s environments, experiential learning, and reliability-enhancing training. The themes revealed individual mindfulness development, experiential leadership assignments, and wide-ranging education and training opportunities may enhance cue recognition and sustained mindfulness in dangerous contexts. The results of this study may prove beneficial to improving individual mindfulness and increasing HRO leader well-being and survivability in dangerous situations.
Dr. Kristine F. Meze-Burtis
Dissertation Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative intrinsic case study was to examine the influence of social media content on a zoological organization. To examine the problem of how social media influenced employee perceptions, an intrinsic case study was conducted to explore the influence of social media on a zoological park. Supported by social learning theory and mass communication theory, the study explored various themes to express the different perceptions of zoological employees through social media. The sample size of this study consisted of 18 zoological employees representing five different departments between the ages of 18 and 56 with an average of 12.20 years of experience in a zoological park in California. Findings of this study revealed a variety of perceptions on the influence of social media on a zoological organization and many participants perceived social media use by the organization and the employees as a vital step in correcting misinformation that has led to changed perceptions about zoos and aquariums. The findings of the study will assist zoological organizational leaders to make better-informed decisions in regard to how the content is handled as perceived by the employees. The study will also help stakeholders understand the perceptions of the information and how the organizations reaction to misinformation may influence the employees and change perceptions about zoological establishments.
Dr. Kelly Rhodes
Dissertation Abstract: This qualitative, single, intrinsic case study explores the forces that influence the decision making behaviors of one Major League Baseball team regarding its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts between 2007 and 2015 and the outcomes of those efforts. Three sources of data were utilized: annual community reports, newspaper articles, and five personal interviews with purposefully selected members of the organization whose work is related to CSR performance. The problem is that it was not known what forces influence CSR decisions within professional sports even though these efforts represent a large investment of the organization’s time and money. The outcomes of these efforts were also unknown. Three theories were used to provide a foundation for the study: Identity Theory, Stakeholder Theory, and Institutional Theory. Six resultant themes were realized. 1.) The influence of leadership plays a significant role in the formulation, direction, and implementation of CSR efforts. 2.) CSR is performed for both strategic and altruistic motives; the organization believes it is the right thing to do and it is good for business. 3.) Knowing the community, understanding its needs, and being connected to the people are imperative for performing charitable work that makes an impact. 4.) Both internal and external influences impact the direction of charitable initiatives. 5.) Measurement of CSR efforts is difficult to perform but is essential to successful and sustainable initiatives. 6.) On-the-field performance does not dictate the amount of CSR efforts, but it can influence the impact of charitable efforts.
Faculty of the Year
Dr. Kevin Bottomley, Ph.D., serves as Lead Faculty Area Chair for Research and Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research in the School of Advanced Studies at the University of Phoenix. He teaches doctoral research methodology courses and serves as a dissertation committee chair. Dr. Bottomley received his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from North Carolina A&T State University. His current research focuses on sustainable leadership, decision-making, and Millennials in leadership. Dr. Bottomley is an active member of the International Leadership Association (ILA), Academy of Management (AOM), Interdisciplinary Network on Group Research (INGRoup), and the European Academy of Management (EURAM). Kevin has an extensive list of refereed published articles and presentations and most recently presented his work in Iceland. Dr. Bottomley recently published a journal article Changing Generations in Today’s Workforce: Leadership Skills for Millennials. Employment Relations Today. Kevin has also recently contributed to three book chapters within Grassroots Leadership and the Arts for Social Change, Developing Sustainable Leadership Through Succession Planning and Millennials in Leadership: An Examination of the Practice-Immediacy Model.
LauraAnn Migliore, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Center for Learning Analytics, Lead Faculty Area Chair – Research Methodologist, Dissertation Chair, Institutional Review Board (IRB) committee member, Society for Advancement of Management (SAM) member, and Editorial Board Member for the European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence Management (EJCCM). LauraAnn is published in the areas of personality and cross-cultural research, leadership, corporate governance, and mobile technology. In addition, she has been recognized by Emerald Literati Network for an outstanding academic paper and was awarded Best Paper in Session by peer-review process from the Clute Institute. LauraAnn is also a prominent contributor to The Phoenix Scholar.
Liz Johnston, Ed.D. is Associate University Research Chair at Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR). Liz has greatly contributed to professional advancement of the researchers at CEITR by leading Diversity Research lab and Teaching and Learning with Arts Special Interest Group (TLA SIG). Diversity Research Lab with 8 research teams focuses on issues related to diversity in education. TLA focuses on the ways that arts enhance teaching and learning and include 8 team projects. Liz is content analysis methodologist at Research Methodology Group, supports faculty development at CEITR, has been working as reviewer at Dissertation to Publication workshop, and has developed faculty appreciate week at CEITR. She has presented and published many studies related to teaching and learning in higher education. Above all these countless contributions, what makes Liz is a distinguished scholarly leader is her genuine passion for supporting researchers to reach to the best of their potentials. She deeply cares for success of her colleagues and students.
Jim Lane, Ed.D. is Senior Research Fellow of Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR). Jim has contributed to professional advancement of the researchers at CEITR by leading Professional Responsibility in Education Research Group with a total of 8 research teams and 30 researchers. The projects are related to ethical issues in higher education and K-12. Jim has also collaborated with many other research teams in Diversity research lab and Teaching and Learning with Arts SIG. Jim is Auto-ethnography methodologist at Research Methodology Group and have been working as a reviewer at Dissertation to Publication. He has presented and published