Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Management (DMgt)


School of Business

First Advisor

Paul M. Shelton, PhD

Second Advisor

Christopher P. Meade, PhD

Third Advisor

John M. Kendall, PhD


In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the operational environment was chaotic and uncertain. Effective leadership in these circumstances was internally centered and values-based, rather than externally centered and rule-based. Theorists named this leadership style authentic leadership. Research into leadership in dangerous circumstances revealed that effective in extremis leaders display authentic leadership. Dangerous circumstances include not only military combat and traditional occupations such as law enforcement and firefighting, but also dangerous sports such as parachuting and mountain climbing. This investigation extended the existing research to a different dangerous sport, scuba diving. Data collection consisted of a single stage cross-sectional survey of recreational scuba instructors to investigate the correlation between instructor experience and authenticity. Survey results showed recreational scuba instructors are more authentic than the general leader population. Regression analysis showed some statistically significant relationships between experience factors and authenticity factors. The small effect sizes of these relationships suggest that experience is likely not relevant to authenticity in the real world. Supplemental analysis between groups within the sample showed that instructors with either prior training in dangerous operations or prior training in non-recreational diving were more authentic than instructors without such training. Further research is necessary to identify factors that influence the development of leader authenticity.