Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Cramer, J. S. (2015). Civic capacity and integrative public leadership: A case study of the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy (Unpublished Masters Thesis). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Natural Resource Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Mark E. Burbach. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2015

Copyright 2015 JoLeisa Cramer


This study explored the impact of the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy (NWLA) on natural resource management by investigating a link between civic capacity and integrative public leadership in the context of adaptive governance. This mixed mode case study utilized a comprehensive, quantitative on-line questionnaire on civic capacity and integrative public leadership as well as qualitative interviews completed by NWLA alumni. The study included 31 questionnaire responses from NWLA alumni, 53 alumni-chosen rater responses, and 21 interviews.

NWLA alumni were found to frequently employ their civic capacity and integrative public leadership skills to promote and improve collaborative natural resource management. There was a statistically significant correlation between civic capacity and two elements of integrative public leadership resources – integrative leadership resources and integrative structures and processes from both the alumni and raters’ perspectives. Thirteen individual themes emerged from the case study of the NWLA that provide insight into how alumni are conducting integrative public leadership. This study establishes a baseline for the link between leadership and natural resources management.

Adviser: Mark E. Burbach