Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. C. Elliott Ostler


The study of empathy, as both a concept and a construct, spans disciplines and decades. As such, its relevance to relationships, empirical definition, significance to leadership, motivational factors, and position in emotional intelligence comprise a wide range of perceptions, applications, and examination across fields ranging from psychology to biology to education. This purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between educational leaders’ self-perception of empathy and to explore how attitudes relate to leadership attributes and action. Results were designed to inform practice, expand understanding, and to compensate for a gap in research regarding measured relationships between empathy and leadership. In general, the group (n = 105) showed high agreement in the domain of cognitive empathy (92.38%), while hierarchical, geometric analyses revealed alignment between cognitive empathy and the study’s five leadership attributes. Further, high mean, per-item scores on the 16 leadership measures – the lowest of which was 4.02 (SD = .80) – suggest the sample group shared solid agreement regarding leadership traits.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2017 Jill K. Bruckner.

Included in

Education Commons