The last five decades have seen the population of Hispanics in California rise from 16% to 39% (California State Data Center, 2013). As the number of Hispanics has grown, so has the number of Hispanics responsible for heading public organizations in the State. As more Hispanics obtain leadership positions, they face the same challenges that many other leaders’ face; to do more with less and to operate under the scrutiny of the citizens they represent (Kettle, 2009). The pressure to deliver effective and efficient services is further complicated by the hierarchical structure of public organizations; and the ideals of the old public administration, new public management, and new public service that shape how public administrations function today. The purpose of this study was to determine the best-practices that Hispanic leaders employ to make them successful in leading a public organization. This descriptive phenomenological study utilized a purposive sample of 10 participants who currently provide direct or indirect leadership to a public organization in their role as an elected official. Data was collected through semi-structured interviewed utilizing an eight-open ended question interview protocol. As a result, 6 key findings were identified. One notable finding was that Hispanic leaders of public organizations indicated that key components to their success included; (a) collaboration, (b) communication skills, and (c) continual engagement of internal and external stakeholders. As a result, this study identified current best-practices of Hispanic leaders in public organizations, which help inform current and future Hispanic leaders on what is required to lead a successful organization. It addition, it provides the components to develop a toolkit of diverse leadership skills and abilities that may assist Hispanic leaders navigating through the bureaucracy that engulfs public organizations.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Hispanic American public officers -- California; Hispanic American leadership -- California

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;