Cheryl LeMaster, Ph.D., is a 2017 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change in the Graduate School of Leadership and Change at Antioch University

Dr. Cheryl LeMaster [center] at her Dissertation Defense with her Dissertation Char, Dr. Alan Guskin [left] and Committee Member, Dr. Elizabeth Holloway [right].

Dissertation Committee

  • Alan Guskin, Ph.D., Chair
  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Merryn Rutledge, Ed.D., Committee Member
  • Peter Martin Dickens, Ph.D., Committee Member

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This qualitative study is an in-depth exploration of the experiences of 20 executive-level leaders from American corporations, government agencies, hospitals, and universities.At the heart of this investigation are stories that reveal the challenge of leading change in complex systems from the leader perspective, creating an opportunity to explore sense-making and sense-giving as guided by individual values and organizational contexts.Complexity Science, the framework for this research, is the study of relationships within and among systems.The aim of approaching this research from a complexity perspective is to gain a more realistic view of the issues and challenges that leaders face during change, and how they make meaning and respond in today’s richly interconnected and largely unpredictable information age.Results highlight the critical role an individual’s beliefs and values—as shaped by experience and guided by context—have on leadership and the organization’s approach to change implementation.This study identifies three leadership conceptual categories:(1) traditional (linear and hierarchical in nature); (2) complexity (non-linear, suited to densely interconnected and rapid-paced environments), and (3) complexity-plus (including change goals beyond the organization and its members).Though traditional and complexity styles are largely known in the literature, the complexity-plus style is a newly identified category.Drawing from Uhl-Bien, Marion, and McKelvey’s (2007) Complexity Leadership Theory (CLT) model, which delineates three leadership functions:(1) administrative (results orientation); (2) adaptive (learning orientation); and (3) enabling (support orientation), the key conclusions of this investigation are integrated with the CLT model to create the Leadership Values Framework.The results of this research contribute to our understanding of the influence of a leader’s values, enhancing our ability as academics and practitioners to better appreciate, support, and develop change leadership in a new paradigm.The electronic version of this dissertation is at AURA:Antioch University Repository and Archive and OhioLINK ETD Center,


Dr. Cheryl LeMaster

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Cheryl LeMaster is an organizational development practitioner specializing in large-scale change and transition in complex systems.Cheryl has more than 25 years experience teaching, training, consulting, project management, and facilitating organizational change and transition efforts.She has served in leadership positions and managed government projects at DOL, DOE, HHS, DHS and DoED.Cheryl has a Bachelor’s degree in Education.She has a Master’s in Organizational Leadership and Learning from the George Washington University and a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.