Communication ETDs


Jo Carter

Publication Date



While leadership research is widespread, much of it represents leadership psychology assumptions that leaders are singular individuals, different from the body that they are leading. This dissertation provides a close reading of a different approach to leadership, one arising from the cultural community around the Diana's Grove retreat center. This philosophy holds cultural norms of the Cornerstones of Community (choice, thinking well of the group, thinking well of one's self, stewardship of self, and sacred wound) as overt rules that are the foundation of sustainable community interactions. It discusses how service to the idea of community is the primary motivating factor behind this form of leadership, and how that is manifested in the hierarchy of commitment and the work of leading others to their own discovery. It claims that leadership is a shared, communal responsibility, and that one cannot avoid having a leadership impact, even through non-action; because of this, awareness of impact and situational awareness are key leadership skills. The emphasis on service and community lead these practitioners to frequently refer to this as "priestessing" rather than leadership, though both terms are used and understood to be roughly comparable. These findings are not culturally-limited; that is, practitioners describe using these leadership practices in a wide variety of cultural situations, both at Diana's Grove and in other cultural contexts. This implies that this is a leadership attitude that is applied constructively regardless of whether or not one is in a recognized leadership role. While that is true, practitioners also describe that it is most useful and most powerful when it is a shared cultural context, with leadership responsibilities shared among the full group. This data was collected through a combination of three methods: interviews with graduates of and teachers in the Diana's Grove priestess path, examination of cultural artifacts and texts, and participant observation in the community. All data was collected in 2010-2011.




Leadership, Service Leadership, Discursive Leadership

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Cramer, Janet

First Committee Member (Chair)

Balas, Glenda

Second Committee Member

Collier, Mary Jane

Third Committee Member

Hill, Susan E.