Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication


Date of this Version



Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 19:3 (2012), pp. 315–325; doi: 10.1177/1548051812442749


Copyright © 2012 Baker College; published by Sage Publications. Used by permission.


Previously, scholars have implied that leadership theory is “universal” enough and can be applied systematically regardless of cultural influences in subcultures. Leadership research has limited its scope of discernment to dominant society, implying that nonmainstream individuals will acquiesce and that cultural differences are inconsequential. Therefore, the intention of this study was to address the disparity between current leadership theories and a subgroup perspective. Specifically, this study explored leadership from a Lakota Sioux perspective. In this qualitative grounded theory study, six major and five minor themes surfaced: Traditional Values and Behaviors, Putting Others First, Lakota Leadership Qualities (Men, Women, and Fallen Leaders), The Red Road, Nation Building (“Real” Natives and Bicultural), and Barriers. These findings reveal that Lakota leadership is not elucidated by current theory. Thus, to effectively illustrate leadership, researchers should broaden contextual aspects to include subcultures.