Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version

Spring 5-5-2011

Document Type



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 Jason D. Ellis. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2011
Copyright 2011 B. Lynn Gordon


Leadership and volunteerism have been deeply studied in the literature. However, little research could be found studying the role of volunteer peer leaders in non-formalized leadership roles in membership based organizations. This phenomenological study was designed to explore the experience of beef industry leaders in leadership roles.

Twelve beef industry leaders active at the local, state, and national level of beef industry membership organizations were interviewed and described their experience as leaders. Interview transcripts were coded and analyzed for themes. A definition of industry leadership was developed by the researcher based on the data gathered and themes which emerged. Industry leadership was defined as a role fulfilled by someone who is willing to serve their industry, with the best of the industry in mind and taking on the responsibility and challenges that come along with making decisions to serve and speak for their peers with integrity. Seven themes identified the central phenomenon of beef industry leaders and seven traits describing a beef industry leader were identified.

Current literature was reviewed and incorporated into the findings of this study. This study offers significance to the field of leadership, to the beef industry and to agricultural organizations offering a greater perspective on beef industry leadership which may guide the future development and role of leaders.

Advisor: Jason D. Ellis

Abstract_BLGordon_Final_042111.doc (49 kB)
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