Alternative Title

Autoethnography – a professional manager in transition


This autoethnographic case study explores how one manager navigated a period of significant professional transition as a senior healthcare executive. The intent is to study how managerial leaders, which is Peter Vaill's (1996) definition of managers of people and organizations, can transition and develop behaviors and ways of thinking and being, in order to stay effective and learn and grow while experiencing significant changes. The study focuses on behaviors, practices and conditions that can be employed during times of transition in order to enable learning and professional development from the experience of transition. Using an autoethnographic approach, the case study explores on a much deeper level a journey through professional transition and its potential to impact growth and development. Though each person's experiences are unique to his and her journey through life, the intent is to share these findings in order to inform other managers as they go through professional transition while furthering the knowledge within the conceptual framework of transition and human development. The design of the study examines my personal experiences, observations, conversations with others and reflections upon a professional transition as told through journals and artifacts, while being framed by an analysis of the literature in order to derive meaning and help explore my ability to develop during that time. As part of this autoethnographical study, the literature review played a key role in helping me to frame and make sense of my own experiences of professional transition and development. The literature review explores the overlap and interrelationship between transition and development during a professional transition. The theoretical framework is based on the literature of transition as described by Bridges (2001) and Kübler-Ross (1997). As an extension of transition leading to growth and learning, there is a brief review of several models of human development including Loevinger's (1976, 1983) model of ego development, Cook-Greuter's (2000, 2002, 2004) ego development stages, Torbert & Associates' (2004) action logics and Wilber's (2000b) integral model of human development. These models provided a framework upon which I could better explore and understand my own ability to develop, learn and grow during my own professional transition experience.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational change; Executives; Leadership -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Murrell, Kenneth L.