Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Guillermo Montes


The purpose of this research is to address a significant gap in the leadership formation of the Catholic clergy. The research was to learn about contemporary theories of leadership and finding evidence of them in a proven leader from the Catholic tradition, that is, Saint John Fisher, a noted leader in the Roman Catholic Church of medieval and contemporary Europe, who also was a priest, an academic, diocesan bishop, cardinal, and martyr. As a member of the Roman Catholic clergy and a scholar, the author’s position is that mining contemporary leadership theory in the tradition of Roman Catholic leadership makes the study of leadership accessible and appealing to formators in the Church. The scope of the research was an informal investigation of all of the materials available to the researcher, which included biographies, academic papers, historical texts, and primary documents. Using analytic induction, and viewed through the lens of Kouzes and Posner’s 5-point theoretical model of transformational leadership, popularly known as The Leadership Challenge, the researcher looked for evidence that produced the “outcome” of Saint John Fisher being a good leader. The research did demonstrate that the contemporary theory could be applied to an historical figure’s life and leadership. The researcher found that all five practices of the model were present in the analysis. Additionally, the researcher found consistent traits of leadership not mentioned in the theoretical model. Finally, the researcher highlighted implications and limitations of the study and made recommendations for future scholarship and formation of clergy.

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