Social Work


Spring 5-2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Type of Paper/Work

Banded Dissertation


Catherine Marrs Fuchsel


This banded dissertation applies the model of neuroleadership to challenges facing human service organizations today – cultivating a positive culture and climate, workforce retention, and achievement of outcomes. The author focuses on how changing traditional leadership methods used in human services organizations can transform the workplace, therefore better supporting the most essential tool of change – the social worker. Through utilizing eight behaviors biologically linked to trust, leaders transform practice to better serve clients and the community.

The first product is a conceptual article that forwards the notion that neuroleadership cultivates a resilient climate and culture, resulting in improved workforce retention. Examination of eight primary leadership behaviors proven to increase trust sets the foundation for transformation. Further, there is alignment of the model with social work values and ethics within the context of practice and service delivery. Outcomes associated with implementation of neuroleadership helps leaders to understand the value in the model.

Product two is a systematic literature review examining peer-reviewed studies related implementation of neuroleadership. Through the examination of neuroleadership in a variety of organizations leaders gain insight to improve decision making and problem solving, emotional regulation, influence, and facilitating change. The dissertation focuses on common themes related to leadership behaviors that build trust, cultivate a resilient culture and climate, and promote workforce retention. Also examined are implications for leadership, organizations, and practice are addressed.

A national peer-reviewed presentation on the neuroleadership model is the final part of the banded dissertation. A presentation of the conceptual model and research findings was presented at the Network for Social Work Management’s 30th Annual Conference in May 2019. The presentation focused on the eight specific behaviors associated with neuroleadership, cultivating a resilient culture and climate, and workforce retention. Also highlighted were implications for practice, outcomes, and real-world use in human service organizations.

This banded dissertation engages leaders to employ neuroscience to develop trust, engage the workforce, and forward outcomes. The findings demonstrate the successes associated with implementing neuroleadership strategies leading to enhanced social work practice, workforce retention, and achievement of outcomes. The findings also demonstrate a need for studies of neuroleadership within human services organizations. This banded dissertation is a call to action for leaders, veteran and new, begin to lead differently, moving human services forward.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

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