Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Sharon Radd


Organizational Leadership


Many people find it difficult to communicate across ideological differences, particularly if those differences are politically-charged. An abundance of research describes the differences between the two dominant political philosophies of the United States, liberalism and conservatism, but little research has been conducted on how to develop and maintain a community inclusive of these ideological differences. This qualitative research project gathered information from six self-identified leaders and 41 survey participants of varying ages, genders, political affiliations, races, and religions over the summer of 2021. Three categories of findings emerged: (a) how ideological differences make community-building challenging; (b) when and how people engage in ideological conflict; and (c) using skills and strategies to make ideological conflict constructive. Data analysis using Authentic Leadership Development Theory revealed that the characteristics of authentic leadership (“internalized regulatory processes, balanced processing of information, relational transparency, and authentic behavior” (Avolio & Gardner, 2005, p. 322)) are well-suited to facilitate conflict dialogue involving ideological issues. In order to support one’s desire to live among and respond to differences, recommendations and implications are provided.