Occupational Therapy Program Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy

Copyright Statement

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.


College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department

First Advisor

Kristin Winston

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


PURPOSE: This sequential embedded mixed methods study first identified the ways in which occupational therapy leaders experience leadership, then explored the ways in which those same leaders utilized their professional training as occupational therapists within their practice of leadership. METHODS: The twelve participants held formal leadership positions in either academia, clinical practice, or professional associations. The ecology of human performance model of practice was utilized to frame the research study. Data was collected through an initial interview with all 12 participants and through leadership artifacts and a second interview with six participants. RESULTS: Three themes resulted from thematic analysis of initial interview: leadership journey, leadership deconstructed, and personal approach to leadership. The leadership artifacts were analyzed using a coding frame, which included four dimensions: occupational perspective of leadership, connections, leadership approach, and team mindset. Thematic analysis of the second round of interviews resulted in three themes: how they do leadership, leadership interaction, and reflection on leadership action. CONCLUSIONS: The participants described the construct of leader as a role consisting of contextually discrete leadership occupations. A number of parallels were identified between the practice of occupational therapy and the practice of leadership. The development of a personal leadership identity was found to occur over time and required some form of either internal or external recognition of leadership ability or outcome. The structure of this mixed methods design included a combination of two qualitative methods, which was novel to the occupational therapy literature.


Occupational Therapy


Health and environmental sciences, Leadership, Mixed methods, Occupational therapy, Phenomenology

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