Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education


Interdisciplinary Leadership

First Advisor

Stephen Wagner, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Natalia Ermasova, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

David Green, Ph.D


The capstone research study compared practice to theory in the case of the closure of the Caterpillar Joliet hydraulics plant. Using an action research approach, the experience and outcomes of the primary leader, leadership team (followers) and extended team (followers of followers) were evaluated through a process of review, analysis, reflection, and action (improvement) planning based on publicly available information and personal reflection. Critical colleagues were used for additional perspectives to ensure a healthy cycle of discussion, observation, reflection, and learning occurred. The desired outcome of this capstone research study was a series of best practices that could be applied to leaders, followers, and organizations experiencing a similar event, promoting resilience, hope and overall well-being. As a research tool, the desired outcome was to broaden the body of knowledge relative to leadership through a plant closure and to provide a hands-on example of action research applied in the for-profit segment of a traditional manufacturing company. This research provides managers and leaders with a new perspective on how the structural environment, the situational events, and the style of leadership affect the people and events in a large manufacturing plant closure.