Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Theresa Pulos

Second Supervisor

Anastasia Urtz


Executive leaders of higher education institutions that confer healthcare degrees are engaging in organizational transformations to meet the evolving needs of tomorrow’s healthcare professionals. Organizational transformations can trigger ambivalence at individual and collective levels. Researchers purport that ambivalence, a push/pull reaction, may play a functional role during decision making in the face of change. The purpose of this research was to examine what practices leaders, who felt ambivalent during organizational transformation, used to successfully lead change. Interprofessional education (IPE), where academic leaders are transforming healthcare education from silos to collaborative systems, was used as the context for study because of the competing dynamics at the individual and collective levels in the change process that can trigger ambivalence. An interpretative phenomenological analysis design was used to learn how a purposive sample of nine leaders in nursing, medicine, and pharmacology colleges responded to ambivalence during change. The study examined the leaders’ selection of strategies for leading change when ambivalence was present. The analysis revealed that leaders respond to ambivalence at the level where it occurred. Leaders contemplated the forces that triggered their ambivalence and were motivated by the compelling forces to pursue organizational change. Findings revealed five categories of change strategies: (a) leading roles, (b) building infrastructure, (c) empowering faculty, (d) spanning boundaries, and (e) joining maneuvers. The study recommends that leaders be mindful of the triggers of ambivalence to allow for more flexibility, engagement, and adaptation in leading change, and to attend to both the psychological and situational aspects of change.

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