If a successful organization is one where internal strife is minimized, then it stands to reason that a successful leader is an individual who knows how to handle conflict. Handling conflict, though, should not be approached intuitively, as the field of mediation has developed numerous techniques to understand and address conflict. To date, though, these techniques have not been categorized by leadership styles. The purpose of this study was to develop such a framework to understand how conflict resolution relates to the disciplines of mediation, organizational behavior, and organizational leadership. To further this endeavor, four themes were developed. These themes drew upon a quadrant categorization methodology proposed by Leonard L. Riskin, which was then compared to four leadership styles: situational leadership, transformational leadership, leader-member exchange theory, and servant leadership. A phenomenological methodology was used and eight leaders were interviewed to understand how they approach conflict within their respective organizations. Utilizing a story provided by each leader about a conflict each encountered on a frequent basis, the researcher asked a series of randomized questions based on the themes mentioned. By categorizing each leader's response, the study found that a relationship worthy of further research existed between the position of the individual within the organization and how societal norms dictated the methodology the leader used to resolve his/her stated conflict. This relationship supported the use of specific tools developed in mediation that the leader and the organization could embrace to transcend conflict, allowing the organization and hence the leader to be more efficient.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Conflict management; Organizational leadership; Leadership -- Study and teaching

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rhodes, Kent;