Susan M. Hayes, Ph.D. is a 2015 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Susan M. Hayes [Center] at her Dissertation Defense with Dr. Carol Baron [Left], Committee Member, Methodologist, and Dr. Mitchell Kusy [Right], Committee Chair. Yellow Springs, Ohio, July 28, 2015 . [Not Shown: Dr. Ron Cacioppe, Committee Member, Dr. Rica Viljoen, External Reader]

Dissertation Committee

  • Mitchell Kusy, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Carol Baron, Ph.D., Committee Member, Methodologist
  • Ron Cacioppe, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Rica Viljoen, Ph.D., External Reader


mixed methods, integral theory, hero's journey, spiral dynamics, tier one development, tier two development, leader, leadership, adult development, emerging leaders

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Given that organizational complexity continues to increase, leaders are looking for credible information, and a process that helps them become a better leader. Emerging leaders are faced with trying to be the best leader they can be while leading teams of people who think and act differently from them. To assist emerging leaders with their leadership, this study explores the literature and looks to highly respected and admired leaders for how they became the leader they are today. The purpose of this study was fourfold: first, to identify and describe first and second tier integral theory leaders from a sample of leader respondents from a U.S. Midwestern city; second, to describe how first and second tier integral theory leaders define leadership; third, to determine what second tier integral leaders see as leading to their becoming the leader they are today; and fourth, to identify the integral leader’s perspectives and advice that can be shared with emerging leaders. This study focused on the convergent space of three theories. The first theory is the field of adult development theory with transformational leadership, the constructive-developmental theories, and meaning making; the second is the field of integral theory with Wilber’s all quadrants, all levels (AQAL) theory, and first and second tier consciousness; and the last is the hero’s journey as described by Joseph Campbell, and the quest for truth. The (AQAL) framework was used in a mixed methods perspective to explore how people assessed as integral leaders defined leadership, developed into integral leaders, and how they can contribute to the growth of emerging leaders. This study was dual-phased: Phase 1 was a quantitative and qualitative survey completed by 624 leaders, and Phase 2 was a telephone interview with eight integral leaders. From the thematic analysis of all the data, four themes emerged: looking inward, looking outward, being a good leader and paying it forward by mentoring others. Implications for emerging leaders, leadership and change, and future research are discussed. This ETD is available in open access in OhioLink ETD, and AURA


Susan M. Hayes, PhD

Dr. Susan Hayes has over 30 years of leadership experience of which 25 years was at a corporate level. When she retired from health care in June 2010, she handled all of the long-term care and post-acute care services for a region in the largest Catholic health care system in Ohio. Susan has over 30 years of volunteer leadership and has served as the chair of prestigious boards in the community.

While in her 30’s, a goal was set to achieve a Ph.D. that she accomplished in 2015. Susan experienced first-hand how critical it is for the success of the organization to develop all of the leaders around her.

In her research, Susan invited successful and highly respected leaders to participate in a survey and limited interviews. Almost 700 leaders responded about how they became the leaders they are today and based on that, what recommendations they had for emerging leaders.

Susan used three theories: the integral, hero’s journey and adult development theories as lenses for her study. A model was created to summarize the four themes that emerged from the data: focus inward, focus outward, be a good leader, and play it forward by being a mentor for others. A secondary model was created to use with emerging leaders after the study.

Dr. Hayes lives with her husband, Pat, in Dayton, Ohio.