Mark Light, 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
  • Alan E. Guskin, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Richard A. Couto, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Melissa S. Stone, Ph.D., External Reader


leadership, change, purposeful, servant leadership, self-sacrifice, trustworthy, vision, visionary, results driven, decisive, determined, dependable, adaptive, alert, aligned, allied, empowerment, nonprofit

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He is underpaid and overworked, his organization lives from payroll to payroll with an overtaxed and underpowered staff and a contentious board of directors. He sacrifices for the mission, but is frustrated about forgone personal dreams. He is George Bailey, the central character in Frank Capra's film It's a Wonderful Life and he practices Leadership for Good by being a mission centered, visionary, results driven, and adaptive difference maker. Through a construct-building non-generalizable mixed methods study with two concurrent, but independent phases—instrumental case study and Delphi—this study searched for real-life Baileys, to test whether or not Leadership for Good extends beyond the silver screen, to see whether or not life imitates art. The results supported all five propositions, although certain elements within the propositions were refuted and new elements substantiated. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of the Leadership for Good construct, enriching the literature about nonprofit leadership, and reinforcing the usefulness of mixed methods research including Delphi technique, the study suggested that there were two primary types of leaders—those with a bias for growth and those with a bias for execution—who delivered equally superior financial results to the bottom line. As part of this finding, it appeared that these leaders practiced situational leadership in the here-and-now, but used contingency leadership over the long run to gravitate to preferred contexts—growth or execution—that corresponded roughly to periods of evolution and revolution. Other implications of the study were the reinforcement of the centrality of mission at the personal and organization levels, a more comprehensive understanding about what causes stress for those who practice Leadership for Good, and the ways in which leaders think about change. The electronic version of this dissertation is accessible at the OhioLINK ETD Center,