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.

LLU Discipline

Social Policy and Social Research


Social Work and Social Ecology


School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Clark, Mark T.

Second Advisor

Davidian, Richard

Third Advisor

Schubert, Christiane

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


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



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

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.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives