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Dr. Chris L. Hickey is a 2013 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership & Change at Antioch University.

This dissertation has been chosen for presentation at the 2nd Annual Black Doctoral Network Conference, October 23-25, 2014 in Philadelpha.

Below: Dr. Hickey at his Dissertation Defense, March 2013.


Phenomenal Characteristics, Phenomenology, Father-son relationship, Leadership Development, Adolescents, Family leadership, Leadership Qualities, Fathers, Feelings, Emotions, Male Development, Attachment Theory, Father Hunger

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The purpose of this exploratory study is to examine what the son-father relationship experience feels like (the phenomenology of the son-father relationship), and how the relationship experience affects leadership development, specifically in the son.I chose to reverse the order of the typical reference on this topic (father-son) in order to emphasize the significance of the son (role) being the central character or object of interest, even in instances where the character is a father in addition to being a son.Additionally, it should be noted that all fathers are sons, but not all sons are fathers (biologically, and/or socially, and/or conceptually).My central research question is:How is leadership development influenced by the phenomenological characteristics of the son-father relationship experience?I address this question through a series of interviews with adolescent boys age 17 and men between 18 and 45 years of age.The foundation of my interview protocol is built on a series of theory-based questions (Wengraf, 2001) that are outlined below.Analysis of these interviews is presented along with a comparative review of the scholarly literature on leadership development in adolescents.The primary value of this research is its applicability to youth leadership development programs with respect to the potential to add an emphasis on values and practices that cultivate healthy sustainable relationships that are consistent with responsible and effective parent involvement and planning, family leadership, and community support.While there is considerable consideration being acknowledged to an anecdotal connection between how boys are, or should be, affected by the leadership qualities of their fathers, very little was articulated about how the participants felt their own leadership development was influenced by the relationship experience, particularly juxtaposed to the amount of attention the participants spent on describing their feelings and emotions about their son-father relationship experience.In this respect, what is particularly noteworthy is the richness of the interviews with respect to the participant’s accounts of the phenomenal characteristics of the son-father relationship experience, including how sons articulate their feelings about the relationship, at and over time.This dissertation is accompanied by an Author’s Introduction supplemental file [mp4].The electronic version of this Dissertation is at OhioLink ETD Center,

DrHickey_Introduction.mp4 (19711 kB)
Dr. Hickey's Author Introduction to Dissertation