Date of Award



© 2019 L. Rachel Cubas-Wilkinson

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ann Lee Burch

Second Advisor

Angela Young

Third Advisor

Christie Cooper


In the United States, the field of Professional Development is a $160 billion per year market. The single largest audience of focus for professional development investment by organizations within the U.S. are leaders. Despite their position as important stakeholders, little is known or understood about their perceptions regarding leadership professional development (LPD). The purpose of this study was to explore how leaders in the U.S. understand and describe their viewpoints, beliefs, and attitudes of LPD. A qualitative, multi-case investigation was launched to bring discovery of leader perspectives as to the impact of LPD at a personal, team, and organizational level. Moreover, the study sought to investigate leader beliefs and outlooks regarding the attitudinal, behavioral, and perceptual changes experienced by the leader as a result of LPD.

Using one-on-one interviews, followed by inductive coding, the researcher presents findings organized into themes emergent from the data. Each case study was analyzed individually, followed by cross-case analysis to elucidate findings that were common or unique among all five participant leaders. Several themes resulted from each of the four research questions, surfacing leader perceptions as it relates to their expectations and experiences with LPD at a personal, team, and organizational level. Additionally, the researcher reports on how leaders understand and explain their role, as well as the role of the organization in leader development. Leader perceptions of the enablers and barriers to the efficacy of LPD, both at a personal and an organizational level, are also presented. Implications of the study for individual leaders, organizations, and the professional development industry at large are also explored. Finally, the researcher makes recommendations for further study to continue to broaden and deepen our understanding of LPD.


Ed.D. Dissertation