Katherine Hoffman, Ph.D. is a 2022 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.
Katherine Hoffman at her Dissertation Defense.
From L-R: Dr. Harriet Schwartz, Committee Member, Dr. Donna Ladkin, Committee Chair, Dr. Dennis Tourish, Committee Member.
- Donna Ladkin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
- Harriet Schwartz, Ph.D., Committee Member
- Dennis Tourish, Ph.D., Committee Member
cannabis, cannabis regulation, complex regulatory systems, complexity, complexity leadership theory, drug policy, leadership, learning history, participatory action research, public administration, regulatory construction, social equity, social justice, structure and agency, war on drugs
The purpose of this qualitative participatory action research was to explore how complexity is engaged and experienced in complex regulatory systems, and to understand how cannabis might be regulated in ways that lead to socially equitable conditions. This was accomplished by studying the lived experiences of governmental leaders charged with the responsibility of establishing regulatory frameworks for legalized cannabis where none previously existed. Using the learning history methodology, the study deeply explores the ways that complex systems coexist by capturing the lived experiences of research participants and enhance theoretical understanding of complex regulatory systems. Data collection occurred through reflective interviews, followed by distillation and thematic analysis. This resulted in the creation of a data table and a learning history artifact that were validated by distribution to research participants and used as both an actionable tool for participants and an analytical tool to distill and categorize research findings. The data table and the artifact established three main findings: complexity is both a property and characteristic of systems; complexity is not a behavior, characteristic or action of “leadership” or “leaders” in complex regulatory systems; and the interplay between social justice and social equity is complex and often oversimplified. Rather than directing, participants brought about change by building interactive trust through dialogue and relationship-building in interactive spaces across and between macro, meso, and micro systems levels. Complexity arose from these participatory human relationships when both the properties and characteristics of these systems were engaged, but the theoretical construct of complexity does not explain the presence of agency within this dynamic. By recognizing agency across all systems, structural barriers may be reduced, resulting in regulatory frameworks that may lead to more socially equitable conditions. This research contributes to leadership and complexity scholarship by empirically describing how complexity is engaged in complex regulatory systems, examining whether complexity has any connection to the practice of leadership, and adding to the emerging area of cannabis scholarship as it relates to social equity and the broader impacts of the war on drugs. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA (https://aura.antioch.edu) and OhioLINK ETD Center (https://etd.ohiolink.edu).
Hoffman, K. A. (2022). Toward Socially Equitable Conditions: Change in Complex Regulatory Systems. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/885