Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Kieran M. Killeen
Leadership consultants bring specialized knowledge into their clients'
organizations. Advisor leadership consultants (ALC) trained as psychotherapists
apply concepts from human behavior theories as advisors to business leaders. They
also bring service-oriented professional norms and values of objectivity, neutrality,
and lack of self-interest. Their business clients in the market sector operate
according to norms and values of pragmatism, financial self-interest, and advocacy.
In order to establish credibility in the organizational field of business clients,
leadership consultants must negotiate between these different value systems.
This study is a grounded theory inquiry using narrative analysis tools to
study how ALCs navigate across the boundaries of psychotherapy practice and
consultation in the corporate setting. How do they describe their practice choices as
well as the principles and theoretical framework underlying those choices? In-depth
interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of 10 leadership consultants
credentialed and experienced as psychotherapists. A snowball method of participant
recruitment from my social and professional network yielded a group of 10 ALCs
aged 50 to 86.
Each of these ALCs entered their careers with a predisposition for business
from their families. They each experienced significant loss in early life and followed
divergent educational and career pathways. They have built their leadership
consulting practices accepting business practices to gain access to clients while
incorporating important relationship principles. As institutional entrepreneurs, they
managed conflict with values in both the service and the marketplace sectors
through innovative therapy, consulting and business practices.
Number of Pages
Russell, Mercy Burton, "Psychotherapists Becoming Leadership Consultants: The Making of an Institutional Entrepreneur" (2016). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 584.