Healers and Helpers, Unifying the People: A Qualitative Study of Lakota Leadership

Kem M. Gambrell, Susan M. Fritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Previously, scholars have implied that leadership theory is "universal" enough and can be applied systematically regardless of cultural influences in subcultures. Leadership research has limited its scope of discernment to dominant society, implying that nonmainstream individuals will acquiesce and that cultural differences are inconsequential. Therefore, the intention of this study was to address the disparity between current leadership theories and a subgroup perspective. Specifically, this study explored leadership from a Lakota Sioux perspective. In this qualitative grounded theory study, six major and five minor themes surfaced: Traditional Values and Behaviors, Putting Others First, Lakota Leadership Qualities (Men, Women, and Fallen Leaders), The Red Road, Nation Building ("Real" Natives and Bicultural), and Barriers. These findings reveal that Lakota leadership is not elucidated by current theory. Thus, to effectively illustrate leadership, researchers should broaden contextual aspects to include subcultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-325
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • cultural differences in leadership
  • leadership
  • leadership behavior
  • subcultures and leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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