Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Clifford R. McClain

Second Committee Member

Howard R. Gordon

Third Committee Member

Travis A. Olson

Fourth Committee Member

LeAnn G. Putney

Number of Pages



This qualitative, reflexive autoethnography explores my health journey over a span of 20 years and beginning with the 1994 diagnosis of breast cancer, through the 2012 diagnosis of an endothelial ischemic microvascular pattern heart dysfunction, and up to the 2014 writing of this dissertation study. The purpose of this study was to define the construct of hope-based action from the perspectives of nine participants and myself. As researcher-participant, I used reflexivity and personal narrative to describe the language and rituals of a culture of hope. The construct of hope was investigated from the perspectives of Snyder's hope theory (1994) from the field of positive psychology, Greenleaf's (1977) servant leadership approach from the field of organizational studies, and autoethnographic methodology.

The purposeful sample of my culture-of-hope guides were selected from the Leadership Areas of Business, Education, and Healthcare. Interview data from the participants and document data from my own writings were collected and analyzed. I used ethnographic analysis methods along with ATLAS.ti, a Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS), to conceptualize the model.

Findings suggest that heart-centered leaders take hope-based action. The major cultural components related to a hope-based and heart-centered leadership culture are: Identify the Need, Implement Approaches, and Monitor the Impact. A Heart-based Hope Model of Leadership (L2L) showcasing how these three cultural components operationalized five cultural categories: Communication, Guidance, Mindset, Motive, and Value was presented. An overarching theme of a hope-based philosophy was shown as being carried out through a heart-based approach.

The results of this study may have theoretical implications for workforce researchers interested in positive workplace cultures. The findings may also have practical implications for workforce leaders from Business, Education, and Healthcare, who want to implement hope-based action to create a heart-centered culture.


Autobiography; Breast cancer patients' writings; Hope; Leadership


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Leadership | Educational Methods

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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