Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

David Ayers

Committee Member

Jason Lynch

Committee Member

Mitchell Williams


The decisions made by leaders noticeably impact employee morale and influence the fulfillment of the organizational mission. However, making decisions can be challenging when options are complex and involve multiple risks and benefits. Navigating such decisions in an era of technology when decisions are more transparent than ever before can be particularly difficult for academic deans in community colleges. These mid-level administrators often face internal conflicts stemming from the nature of their positions, campus politics, and the challenge of working between the competing interests of faculty and senior leaders.

Over the last three decades, research has pointed out that strong emotional intelligence skills are one of the key indicators of effective decision-making. Yet only a handful of studies have addressed the role of emotional intelligence in decision-making in a community college context. There is a need to understand better the ways deans’ emotional intelligence facilitates their decision-making. This qualitative multiple-case study was designed to explore the ways in which community college academic deans draw on emotional intelligence when making difficult decisions. Through data collected from multiple cases and two-phase data analysis, including a within-case analysis and cross-case examination, this research provides insight into the participants’ emotional intelligence in the participants’ decision-making.


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