Kathryn Ann Gaines, Ph.D. is a 2007 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee

  • Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Richard Couto, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Philomena Essed, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • James MacGregor Burns, Ph.D., External Reader


leadership, theory, communicative practices, speech acts, philosophical analysis, pragmatic analysis

Document Type


Publication Date



Addressing three problems in the field of leadership studies - fragmentation across disciplines; emphasis on individual leaders in titled positions; failure to identify a coherent set of actions for performing leadership - this study develops a framework of core communicative leadership practices. It is premised on a philosophical analysis of leadership as a social strategy for securing action in service of interests claimed by or for a community - an action performed intentionally via symbolic behavior accessible to any and all members of a community. This definition serves as a heuristic for the development of a systematic theory of leadership practice. The primary guiding question is: How do we participate in leadership? Eight core practices that are fundamental to initiating and participating in leadership are identified and analyzed. The core practices include: reporting and inquiring - to build dialogue and facilitation; directing and pledging - to build commitment and obligation; envisioning and advocating - to inspire and motivate; and declaring and constituting - to create or change social reality. Practices are derived from four functional categories abstracted from the leadership literature, analyzed pragmatically using speech act theory, integrated with multi-disciplinary research, including communication, rhetoric, social psychology, and philosophy, and illustrated through practice-based scenarios. Ultimately, a thoroughly analyzed theory of leadership practice - grounded solidly in the field and integrated with scholarship from other disciplines - is provided with a set of implications and suggestions for the practice, development, and empirical study of leadership. The electronic version of this dissertation is accessible through the OhioLINK ETD Center,