Date of Award



© 2022 Erik DeCicco

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Laura Bertonazzi

Second Advisor

Darren Akerman

Third Advisor

Sarah Parker


This qualitative narrative inquiry sought to investigate perceptions of executive leaders in finance about how Shakespeare can influence leadership performance. It employed a conceptual framework in dramaturgical analyses (Goffman, 1959) and a theoretical framework in reflective leadership (Schon, 1983). Separate semi-structured interviews were conducted with five participants to gather data, which was coded in vivo. Codes were then analyzed and sorted into themes. The study was driven by two major research questions and a sub-question: The two major research questions and sub-question guiding this study were as follows: (1) What are perceptions of executive leaders in the financial industry about portrayals of leadership in Shakespearean drama and literature?; (2) How does a sample of executive financial leaders describe how Shakespearean drama and literature inform their leadership performance?; and (2.a.) How can the reflective analytical processes developed by leaders be described in context of Shakespearean leadership narrative?

The analyses of the data collected in this study revealed two major themes with five (total) sub-themes. The first theme was: Clear Perceptions of Leadership with sub-themes of (1) “Brush Up” Your Shakespeare and (2) On Hamlet. The second major theme was: The Power to Inform Personal Practice, with the sub-themes of (1) “Suck Up All the Arts You Can,” (2) Shakespeare, the Cynic: “What Not to Do,” and (3) Grave Consequences. The study painted a picture of the rigorous emotional landscape of working as an executive in finance and highlighted this sample’s proclivity toward an environment in finance that is conducive to good teamwork.


Ed.D. Dissertation