Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
John A. Anderson, Ph.D.
J. Beth Mabry, Ph.D.
Valerie Gunter, Ph.D.
Organizational executives leverage significant resources to build leadership development programs as part of strategic initiatives, but many of these programs still fail. The organizational strategy and leadership fields have made significant advances and have complementary purposes, yet scholars have not synthesized this literature. The need remains to form a pragmatic conceptual framework and process intended to serve as a theoretical foundation for designing leadership development programs as sustainable competitive advantages (SCAs). This research presents such a leadership framework and process that may serve as a theoretical foundation, analytical lens, and tool used for designing such programs.
This descriptive single-case study details how I used the leadership framework and process at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) to design a leadership development program (i.e., Core Values Initiative) as a SCA. HE&R is a private for-profit hospitality and entertainment company that has a unique history and social purpose. The study progressed through three distinct phases. Phase I synthesized the research literature to arrive at a leadership framework and process to guide practitioners tasked with designing leadership development programs as SCAs. Phase II detailed how the leadership framework and related process were successfully used to design the Core Values Initiative at HE&R. The Core Values Initiative proposes to more deeply embed HE&R’s core values throughout the organization by identifying the behaviors of excellence for HE&R’s core values at each of the different organizational levels. HE&R would then meaningfully integrate the behaviors of excellence into their performance management plan, specifically the performance appraisals and compensation plans. Phase III presents the findings of guided interviews with the nine senior leaders who provided their perceptions about the pragmatism of the leadership framework and process, and the logic and plausibility of the Core Values Initiative.
The results indicate that the interviewees found the leadership framework and process pragmatic, and they supported the logic and plausibility of the Core Values Initiative. This study provides a strategic understanding of leadership and offers a viable option to practitioners tasked with successfully designing leadership development programs as SCAs.
Berger, Travis A., "Presenting a Framework and Process for Designing Leadership Development Programs as Sustainable Competitive Advantages: A Case Study at Hershey Entertainment and Resorts" (2016). Theses and Dissertations (All). 1444.