How do I Write a Leadership Dissertation?

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  • Written By: Paul Woods
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2019
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Writing a leadership dissertation begins with determining the particular discipline of leadership study to be featured. Once an approach is chosen, the writer must produce a synopsis of current study in that area, an abstract of new research the writer conducted with a careful explanation of the methodology and a complete examination of the results of the research. Finally, the writer draws conclusions from the examination of the research that should add to the general body of knowledge on the subject.

The study of leadership can be approached from a variety of directions. In writing a leadership dissertation, a doctoral candidate should begin by choosing a specific approach. Various approaches include studying characteristics and personal traits of leaders in government or organizations to look for similarities. Another idea would be to examine what has influenced leaders in the past or present.

Some leadership studies look at the work leaders do and the way they do it. Another avenue is studying the environment in which a leader operates and its impact. Still others examine the role of the leader in an organization and how that shapes the people who fill that role. It is likely by the time a student has reached the doctoral candidate stage, he or she has already done work in one of these categories of research and can base a leadership dissertation where prior experience exists.


The writer will then choose one topic or issue in the specific category in which to conduct research. As a first step, the doctoral candidate must be familiar with all prior research and writing on the leadership dissertation topic. Original research follows, with the doctoral candidate interviewing leaders from the particular perspective chosen; investigating companies, governments or other organizations to see how leadership develops; and conducting widespread surveys of appropriate people and organizations.

Completed research must then be analyzed and summarized with findings being examined to develop conclusions. The writer must clearly detail the research methodologies employed and summarize the results of the research. Combined with prior summaries of existing work in the field, the doctoral candidate then draws conclusions based on the research.

The conclusion of the leadership dissertation contains the new information that will be added to the body of knowledge, which is a requirement of all such works. Other aspects of the dissertation, however, are equally important as the methods used to reach the conclusions must be available for review by the research community and be able to withstand challenge. Finally, the dissertation must conform to the accepted style of the university to which it is submitted and should be both grammatically correct and readable.


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