Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




School leadership is about effecting change in education and promoting excellence in teaching and learning. School leaders, however, practice leadership in multiple arenas with diverse stakeholders. Students, local community members, faculty, staff, and each layer of government represent unique and often conflicting interests. Understanding how a leader such as Agnes Nestor resolved conflicts of interests has the potential for helping school leaders access various sources of power to effect change in their milieu.

This study explores the life of Agnes Nestor, a labor leader, politician, and social reformer. Nestor's public life included organizing women workers in Chicago in the early 1900s, running for public office, serving on national commissions to promote education, and in securing work-hour limitations for women. Sources for this study include historical newspaper clippings, books and articles written by Agnes Nestor, and primary source documents from the Agnes Nestor Papers currently archived in the Chicago History Museum Research Center.

Using Gareth Morgan's fourteen sources of power as a theoretical framework, the documentary record reveals a narrative of a leader who accessed various sources of power as labor leader, politician, and social reformer to effect change. In each leadership context, Agnes Nestor relied on Gender and the Management of Gender Relations, Formal Authority, and Control of Scarce Resources most frequently as sources of power. Nestor appears to underutilize Ability to Cope with Uncertainty. These findings indicate that leaders have an array of available power sources, and that leaders may, depending on leadership context, find more value in certain power sources than in others. Similarly, leaders may lose capacity to effect change when unable to cope with uncertain outcomes.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.