Laura Curnutt Santana, Ph.D. is a 2009 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee

  • Mitch Kusy, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Russ Volckmann, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Ron Cacioppe, Ph.D., External Reader


leader development, leadership development programs, post-classroom development, adult development, executive leadership, hierarchical complexity, online follow-through, content analysis, integral theory, mixed methodology

Document Type


Publication Date



In a time of increasing complexity, many organizations invest in leadership development programs to prepare those who will assume the role of leader. Although many studies have evaluated programs’ impact, the questions remain: does development happen in leadership development program? If so, what kind of development? And what is the participant’s experience of personal or organizational impact? The purpose of this sequential mixed methodology study is to address these three questions utilizing an online follow-through platform as a lens on 248 participants in the Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) who reported completing their LDP goals. Those who completed their development goals in the twelve weeks following the LDP face-to-face classroom phase were asked "What was the personal or organizational impact of completing this goal?" From thematic analysis of the participant’s experience of impact, a taxonomy of 82 content codes emerged; these were then clustered into eight domains of increasing interpersonal space. The codes and domains were utilized to generate frequency counts, revealing first-person accounts of impact that extended beyond the individual into interpersonal, team, and organizational domains; the reports of impact included both interior (subjective worldview and shared culture) and exterior (observable behavior, performance, structure, systems, and processes) realms highlighting the impact on individuals and collectives. Codes surfaced evidence of both horizontal and vertical development, with seven emergent hypotheses being investigated for their role in predicting inclusion in the vertical development codes. This research integrates the literature in various domains to discuss findings: leader development, leadership development, leadership development program design, postclassroom development, adult development, horizontal development, vertical development, integral theory, hierarchical complexity, and online follow-through technology. This study helps make visible the value of development in times of increasing complexity, adaptive challenges, and a diverse workforce; development builds an ability for individuals and collectives to catalyze new insights from reasoning that is more complex. The electronic version of this dissertation is accessible at the OhioLINK ETD Center,