Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Trenia Walker

Second Advisor

Viviane Lopuch

Third Advisor

Yen Tran


The occurrence of crises significantly impacts history by potentially prompting changes in the traditional frameworks through which leadership is understood, taught, and displayed. Dissertation writers understanding of Educational and Organizational Leadership (EOL) studies during times of complex crises is uncertain. This qualitative systematic review examines the relationship between EOL topics and extraordinary times. It analyzes the importance of different perspectives in choosing these topics and considers the specific time periods in which they were written. The systematic review utilizes a Hermeneutic analysis and focuses on ProQuest dissertations published between 2019 and 2023, following a predetermined protocol. Out of 24 dissertations, 19 met the criteria for inclusion. 63% of writers had an EdD, 67% utilized a qualitative design before exclusion criteria, 58% used a case study research approach, 95% used a deficit-based approach, 47% acknowledged a small sample size as a limitation, and 74% were written from an emic perspective. Data was split, where 47% explored how Covid-19 affected their studies and 53% did not. An overarching theme of rapid adaptation comprising of mandates, digital resilience, and social health also indicates the possibility of new norms being established quickly in dissertations. Themes of perception and transformational leadership also emerged. This research has limitations like ethical considerations, single database usage, and exclusion criteria, but strengths include Hermeneutic analysis which enriches the review process and deepens leadership insights by developing a relationship with the data. Further study is needed to explain why the data is split. Expanding this systematic review to international dissertations and longer time spans with more data is also recommended.