Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Daniel Lioy, PhD
Diane Zemke, PhD
Middle leaders are an essential part of every organization. Their position in the organization’s structure places them at the center of the organization’s operations. From this middle position, the middle leader functions as both follower and leader, having a responsibility both upward and downward in the organization. In these capacities the middle leader becomes a critical link between the vision, goals and mission of the organization and the day-to-day carrying out of the vision, goals and mission. And yet middle leaders often go unnoticed. This dissertation focuses on those who lead in the middle: specifically, the Area Director in the Assemblies of God World Missions.
The Area Director serves in a complex setting, where role, function and purpose overlap. In this setting, decision making can be especially challenging. This dissertation explores the notion that Schön’s reflective conversation, guided by the Johns model of reflection, can serve as a viable decision-making process for use by the Area Director.
Section one sets the larger conceptual stage of middle leadership by: (1) introducing Stan the archetypical Area Director, (2) describing an overarching concept of middle leadership, (3) exploring the challenges to that concept, and (4) providing two examples of middle leaders as viewed through the conceptual lens of middle leadership. Section two introduces decision making as a significant challenge to the Area Director and describes others’ attempts at addressing both middle leadership and the challenge of decision making in an organizational setting. Section three proposes a decision-making process based on Schön’s reflective conversation and the Johns model of reflection. Section four describes the artifact as a website and two blogs with the goals of providing current, and easily applicable information that is targeted at middle leaders. Section five delineates the artifact’s specifications. Section six provides summary and analysis including lessons learned and suggestions for further research.
Sabella, James A., "Exploring Leadership in the Middle: an Application of Schon's Reflective Conversation—a Decision-Making Process for Assemblies of God World Missions Area Directors" (2019). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 304.