Is an EdD in Organizational Leadership Worth It?

Lissie Hoover

EdD in organizational leadership degree students in a lecture

As the modern workforce evolves with the changing times, the need for strong organizational leadership skills continues to grow. The rise of telework, video call meetings and shifting policies requires foresight from organizational leaders.

An EdD in Organizational Leadership and Development can equip learners to become proactive leaders. Strong organizational leadership is not solely for increased efficiency and profits. A competent leader can provide encouragement and innovation, ultimately supporting both employees and stakeholders.

If you are interested in driving positive change, consider earning an organizational leadership degree.

What Is an EdD in Organizational Leadership Degree?

An EdD in organizational leadership supports students as they explore the workings of organizational structures. To be a strong leader, one must first understand how organizations operate. Learners in this program study both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

Students learn the importance of corporate social responsibility and ethical standards for any business or organization. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to research what creates a healthy organization from cultural and economic points of view. Profit is not a sufficient motive. For this type of organizational leader, factors that support the internal culture are evaluated as well.

Employees are essential to an organization’s success. Promoting a strong work culture and increasing employee satisfaction are two critical roles of a leader. An EdD degree in organizational leadership provides tools for accomplishing this. In addition, the following areas are explored:

Leadership Development

Throughout the EdD in leadership program, leadership theories and their evolution are discussed. Students evaluate the behaviors of effective leaders and how to implement leadership strategies in their organization. They evaluate how to assess challenges and make wise use of opportunities. Graduates emerge with the skills needed to be effective leaders, able to implement positive change.

Strategic Decision Making

Organizational leaders may be responsible for decisions that directly impact employees, profits, the environment and global markets. Strategic decision-making is critical for the sustained success of an organization. Learners are taught critical thinking skills and how to utilize research methods to make the best decisions.

The EdD in leadership program emphasizes the importance of organizational resilience in an ever-shifting global economy. Leaders must take responsibility for increasing their organization’s resilience and minimize its vulnerability.

The Role of Stakeholders

Organizational leaders are responsible for supporting positive outcomes for stakeholders. This degree evaluates the role of stakeholders in different types of organizations and their importance for sustaining organizational effectiveness.

Qualities of a Strong Organizational Leader

Strong organizational leaders have more than excellent management skills. They must be able to evaluate and monitor the success of the company with external and internal stakeholders. This means leaders must sense shifts in the culture and promote cultural unity.

Leaders must be champions for their organization’s culture and efficiency. This includes being an embodiment of the culture themselves and a subject matter expert in their area of leadership. By advancing in their own professional careers, they serve as an example to those under their guidance.

They should also have a strong set of skills related to their field. Some of the essential qualities are:

  • Effective communication
  • Data analysis
  • Policy development and implementation
  • Versatility
  • Organization
  • Clarity and guidance
  • Problem-solving

Throughout the EdD leadership program, students have the opportunity to study these qualities.

What Can You Do With an Organizational Leadership Degree?

An EdD in organizational leadership provides great career versatility. This degree equips individuals to be strong leaders, communicators and critical thinkers—knowledge that can be applied broadly.

With a Doctor of Education (EdD) degree, individuals may be predisposed to enter the education sector. This includes roles in higher education. However, with an organizational leadership degree, you may be able to pursue high-level leadership and management positions in every industry.

Organizational Leadership Jobs

After graduating with an EdD, a wide variety of management roles may be applicable. Graduates even find roles in government organizations. This degree can be utilized in a variety of sectors including:


Many people pursue online Doctor of Education degrees as a route for advancement in the education sphere. Those interested in continuing their career development inside this field could consider the following careers:

  • Education administrators: This role is available in preschools, childcare centers, elementary and secondary education institutions.
  • School superintendent: Superintendents are executive leaders of school districts. They support the school district's goals through collaboration with the school board, budgeting and implementing policy. However, every state has different certification requirements for superintendent licensure and the EdD degree may not meet all of them. Be sure to check your state requirements.
  • School principal: Principals can benefit from the added leadership skills gained in an EdD degree and apply them to their school and leadership team. However, every state has different certification requirements for principal licensure and the EdD degree may not meet all of them. Be sure to check your state requirements.
  • College dean: Deans oversee their respective colleges. They provide leadership to faculty members and champion curriculum and programs that give students a competitive edge in their industry.

C-Suite Roles

Individuals with a doctorate in organizational leadership may fill C-Suite executive roles. Often these roles require both graduate-level education and proven success in the industry. Organizational leadership skills may equip graduates to pursue the following C-Suite roles:

  • Chief academic officer: This role oversees academic institutions to ensure that students are successful and performance outcomes are reached. Chief academic officers must be excellent managers and support professional development within their institutions.
  • Chief learning officer: Chief learning officers are responsible for organizational development. This entails organizing professional development opportunities and enhancing the organization’s culture. They may also make suggestions for organizational effectiveness, such as technology or process implementation.
  • Chief operations officer: Chief operating officers are responsible for high level strategy, change management, and ensuring that all an organizations departments and divisions are working together toward the completion of the mission and vision.

Human Resources

Graduates of an EdD in Organizational Leadership and Development program can provide support within human resources (HR) teams. Human resource managers utilize the organizational and interpersonal skills gained in this EdD program.

Is an EdD in Organizational Leadership Right for Me?

The EdD leadership degree is ideal for working professionals who want an online doctoral degree to support career advancement. This leadership program prepares students for real-world scenarios. If you want to pursue a career in educational leadership, an online EdD in organizational leadership may be the right fit.

Doctoral programs can be rigorous. They require good time management if they are to be successful. As you consider enrolling in an EdD, evaluate your commitment to the program. If you have a strong desire to enact organizational change and exercise leadership, the time you commit can be worth the result. Ultimately, it will enable you to find positions where you can support the success of others through organization, innovation and empathy.

Become a Leader in Your Field

If you desire to be a leader in your field, consider enrolling in an EdD in Organizational Leadership and Development program. With a doctoral degree, career experience and a drive for supporting change, you can make a difference in the lives of others. Learn about how an online doctoral degree can support your career goals and give you an edge in the job market.

Are you ready to take the next step in your career? The College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University offers a variety of programs that prepare learners for leadership and innovation. Learn more by clicking on the Request More Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.