Organization, Information and Learning Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the behaviors, experiences, perspectives, and values of emerging millennial leaders. The research explored how these emerging leaders defined and enacted their leadership styles, how they had been influenced by their life experiences and the actions of others, how they had been affected by various learning opportunities, and how their participation in a collegiate leadership development program had fostered their leadership. The research was comprised of six case studies of emerging organizational and community leaders. Interviews, journals, leadership creeds, and a focus group were used to collect the data. Twelve themes emerged from an analysis of the data: embracing differences, cultivating relationships, fostering collaboration, overcoming adversity, pursuing dreams, becoming pillars of inspiration, acquiring knowledge, engaging in reflection, striving for growth, pursuing civic engagement, building capacity, and envisioning millennial contributions. These emerging millennial leaders demonstrated ambidexterity, creativity, inclusivity, interactions with state-of-the art technology, teamwork, and a commitment to social justice. The participants had clear views about the interactive effects of leadership and learning. Implications for community and organizational leadership, learning, and development are that collaborative and shared approaches may prove to be the most effective. This research addresses a gap in the literature on leadership, which mostly has focused on established leaders from preceding generations rather than upon emerging leaders from the millennial generation.

Degree Name

Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology

Level of Degree


Department Name

Organization, Information & Learning Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

DeMoss, Karen

Second Committee Member

Noll, Bruce

Third Committee Member

Preskill, Stephen




Leadership--Case studies, Generation Y--Case studies

Document Type