Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Delores E. McNair

First Committee Member

Sandra S. Mahoney

Second Committee Member

Elizabeth H. Keithcart


This is a phenomenological study exploring leadership identity development of Chinese generation Z student leaders by referring to Leadership Identity Development (LID) theory. There are two research questions. First, in what ways, if any, is the development of Chinese Generation Z student leader’s leadership identity similar to the Leadership Identity Development (LID) by Komives et al. (2005)? Second, in what ways, if any, is the development of Chinese Generation Z student leader’s leadership identity different from Leadership Identity Development (LID) by Komives et al.

The research adopts purposeful sampling and 10 participants were interviewed. Based on the analysis of the interview data, five major themes emerged; five similarities and six differences were found. Five major themes include beliefs and values, influential people, experiences, leadership identity development, changing views.

Five similarities are as follows: 1. There are three similar influential factors existing in college student leaders’ development of leadership identity, including people (adults, peers) and experiences (involvement of leadership experiences). 2. There are similar ways for students to build self-confidence, through others, oneself, and involvement in activities. 3. The process that students develop their views and perceptions of organizations is basically the same. 4. There is similar change of understanding of leadership, from positional to non-positional. 5. Chinese college student leaders agree with the six LID stages developed by Komives and her colleagues in American context.

Six differences include 1. In developmental influences, school counselors have tremendous influence over Chinese students’ leadership development. 2. Chinese student leaders admit that peer influence has both positive side and negative side. 3. This study didn’t find any race or gender identities problem from Chinese student leaders during their leadership experiences. 4. Academic success is a critical factor for Chinese students to build self-confidence and to obtain leadership roles. 5. Chinese student leaders’ interaction with group members is different from that of American students. 6. Chinese students believe that leadership develops fast under great pressure and difficulties.





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