Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




College of Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Anthony Setari

Second Advisor

Alex Fegely

Third Advisor

Craig Boylstein


Morals, ethics, and values are instrumental for leaders to know and choose between right and wrong. Leadership theories regularly discuss ethics, but where do these ethics come from? Frequently, the source of leadership ethics is glossed over or left out entirely. This study sought to address this gap in contemporary leadership literature by answering the question: how do contemporary leadership theories, which contain morals, ethics, and/or or values components, align with similar themes found within the Hebrew and Christian scriptures? The researcher used a thematic analysis of contemporary leadership literature to identify ethical themes within the literature. Next, the themes were cross-examined with scripture through the use of a keyword analysis to determine if there were any alignments between the target contemporary leadership styles (transformational, servant, and authentic leadership) and the scriptures. Nine themes were identified within the thematic analysis: commitment, external authenticity, fairness/justice, humility, individual consideration, integrity/moral character, internal authenticity (self-awareness), positivity, and role modeling. The keyword analysis utilized the codes from the thematic analysis and the New American Standard Bible to determine that there was an alignment between the Christian and Hebrew Scriptures and the ethical themes within contemporary leadership theories. The importance of these findings is that they fill a gap that has been identified in the literature by experts in the field of contemporary leadership literature by demonstrating a foundation for the ethical themes within leadership literature. Furthermore, the methods are repeatable inviting future research to replicate the study and expand the results to fill the gap further.