This research builds upon arguments for the use of the psychological theory of adult vertical development to transform traditional organizational practices of leadership development, and build leaders needed for the future. The purpose of this study is to understand the current state of vertical development theories in organizational leadership development practices. Specifically, the research considers what strategies and practices are being used, and what challenges practitioners have faced in implementation. It was found that an organization's success in implementing vertical development largely depended on three factors: 1)overall leadership development strategy, 2) ability to overcome new variations of organizational challenges that have long impeded leadership development, and 3) degree to which vertical development theories are used in practice. The detail of this research illustrate that accelerating leadership capacity of an organization through the implementation of vertical development requires significant organizational commitment and change, and likely a new perspective on organizational change itself.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Organization Development; Organizational change; Organizational leadership -- Europe -- Case studies; Organizational effectiveness -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Chesley, Julie;