This study develops and tests whether the virtues-based leadership model is able to identify consistencies and inconsistencies in a leader’s use of cardinal and theological virtues (the seven Christian virtues) across their embraced, espoused and enacted spheres of life. I present an exploratory qualitative descriptive design using a problem-driven content analysis based within a neo-Aristotelian ethics framework focusing on Ronald Reagan’s presidency as the single case study and exploring whether his personally embraced writings, publicly espoused speeches, and executively enacted orders contain concepts related to the seven Christian virtues (fortitude, justice, prudence, temperance, faith, hope and love). Ronald Reagan was chosen because of his openly professed belief in God, his role in virtues-based decision making and access to public records for the purpose of research. The study looks more specifically at the consistency of Reagan’s references to both the cardinal and theological virtues in handling three events: (1) the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) event; (2) the Father Jenco event; and (3) the Nicholas Daniloff event. It treats a leader as one who has the duty or expectation and authority (delegated or direct) to take action, even if that action is inaction, to accomplish a specified goal. The study concludes that the virtues-based leadership model can, in fact, identify consistencies and inconsistencies in a leader’s use of the cardinal virtues across their embraced, espoused and enacted spheres-of-life. I also offer suggestions on how the virtues-based leadership model adds to the body of academic literature and how the model can be applied in the pragmatic professional leadership arena.
Social Policy and Social Research
Social Work and Social Ecology
School of Behavioral Health
Clark, Mark T.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Virtues, Leadership, Cardinal Virtues, Theological Virtues
Subject - Local
Virtues-Based Leadership, Seven Christian Virtues, Cardinal Virtues, Theological Virtues
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Smith, Vicki L., "The Virtues-Based Leadership Model: Assessing Consistency Across Three Spheres-of-Life" (2014). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. Paper 169.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives