Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication Department


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2013


Carmen R. Zafft, "Authentic, Transformational Leadership: A phenomenological study of the experiences of Black/White biracial leaders" (Spring, 2013)


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: May, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Carmen R. Zafft


This phenomenological study described the racial identity and leadership experiences of eight community, education, and business Black/White biracial leaders. Four central themes emerged relating to the participants’ racial identity choices: (a) family discourse, (b) social networks, (c) appearance, and (d) identity work. Three central themes emerged relating to the participants’ leadership experiences: (a) cultural agility: “Blessed to be flexible”, (b) perceived representation: “I look like them”, and (c) transformational leadership: “I lead so others can grow.” Because the participants were conscious of their identity development experience, all demonstrated a strong sense of self which influenced how they experienced leadership. As a result, the essence of experiencing leadership as a biracial leader was to be authentic and transformational.

Adviser: Gina S. Matkin