Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication Department


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Human Sciences (Leadership Studies), Under the Supervision of Professor Gina S. Matkin. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Kevin L. Flores


There is a dearth of Latino leaders holding executive positions in healthcare. The purpose of this study was to provide a privileged platform for the voice of Latino leaders in healthcare who, by definition, emanated from a marginalized population. This study began with the assumption that the stories of Latino leaders were different than leaders of the majority population due to their ethnicity. Latino critical theory asserts that concepts like leadership need to be viewed through an ethnic lens. The overarching question that guided this study was: What do the stories of three Latino leaders reveal about their development as leaders in the healthcare industry? Leaders were defined as those in vice president or chief executive officer positions. Homogeneous sampling was used to identify three Latino leaders located in the Midwest. One worked for a government hospital, one worked for an academic hospital, and one worked for a free-standing private hospital.

Narrative methodology was utilized to provide space for their stories through extensive interviewing. The participants were asked to share their stories guided by a general set of questions. This process allowed the participants to detail aspects of their lives they deemed significant. The process infused the participants lives with humanness as they shared their stories replete with joy, sorrow, shame, hardship, love, discrimination, achievement, and ultimately, success.

Through the sharing of their stories, there were meanings common to all of the stories that allow one to conceptually transfer some of these ideas into themes. The broad themes that emerged were educación, familismo, “This White man’s world,” “Doing something more,” and “Make it happen.” Their stories illustrated how complex leadership is and the salience of ethnicity on this process. Their stories resonated with an ethnic pathos not experienced by the majority population.

Advisor: Gina S. Matkin