Esther Ewurafuah Sackey, Ph.D. is a 2021 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Esther Sackey at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Aqeel Tirmizi, Committee Chair, Dr. Lemuel Watson, Committee Member, Dr. Jon Wergin, Committee Member.

Dissertation Committee

  • Aqeel Tirmizi, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Lemuel Watson, Ph.D., Committee Member


organizational performance, nonprofit organizations, participatory communication, systems leadership, empowerment

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This dissertation seeks to include systems leadership and participatory communication as facilitators of the elements that enhance dynamic organizational capabilities to improve performance. The study employs the normative theory-building process to show how systems leadership and participatory communication can facilitate and enhance dynamic capabilities. Specifically, this dissertation offers an integrative model that combines systems leadership, participatory communication, and dynamic capabilities. The proposed integrative model is accompanied by a series of propositions that extend the dynamic capabilities theory through the integration of systems leadership and participatory communication. The potential relevance and application of the proposed model are demonstrated through multiple case examples. The study may also guide nonprofit and for-profit organizations on improving performance through leadership skills, effective communication, and enhanced dynamic capabilities. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center.


Esther Sackey

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0002-7913-2449

Esther Sackey is currently a licensed Social Worker at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility, a detention center that provides various services and treatment for incarcerated male youth. She provides them with individual counseling and group lessons that target various issues, including conduct disorders, anger, aggression, violence, depression, anxiety, self-injury, and strategies and skills to achieve self-efficacy. Esther is also a trained Journalist and worked as a reporter with the Ghanaian Democrat Newspaper and later as an Editor with the Television Newsroom of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. She covered assignments on social, economic, and political issues before traveling to the United States. As a Journalist, she focused on highlighting the plight and amplifying the voices of the disadvantaged in society, especially teenage mothers who had been forced into marriages and dropped out of school. Her news reports helped the leadership of organizations such as the National Council on Women and Development (NCWD) in Ghana and UNICEF to assist these women with vocational training and other logistics to attain self-efficacy. In the US, she helped the MomsFirst Program of the Cleveland Department of Public Health to highlight the needs of teenage mothers who have dropped out of school and needed assistance to access various resources to improve their lives. Her report on the views gathered from these young women was published and used as evidence to secure funding for the program.

As a journalist and Social Worker, Esther has observed a pattern of behavior among leaders of some organizations which prevents growth and excludes others in the decision-making process. Such conduct has created communication and leadership problems that have prevented most organizations from improving their performance. As a result, she has developed a passion for promoting participatory communication and strong leadership skills through research and training.

Esther completed her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Relations at the Cleveland State University, a Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA-Social Work) with a concentration in Community and Social Development, and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management (CNM) from the Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. She also obtained a Master of Communication at the University of Akron with a concentration in Organizational Communication. She recently earned her Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Her research focuses on employing competencies among leadership to ensure inclusive communication in organizations and finding the best strategies and skills organizational leadership can utilize to improve performance and increase their organizations' capabilities.