Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Sarah J. Yates

Second Advisor

Dr. Janet L. Deck

Third Advisor

Dr. Logan M. Steele


Through a grounded theory qualitative study consisting of interviews, observations, and document reviews, this study examined a mid-sized military organization to answer two questions: (1) How does the military organizational design (i.e., bureaucracy) influence the creative process? and (2) How do leaders amplify (mitigate) the positive (negative) effects of bureaucracy on the creative process? The data suggest that the perceived tension between organizational hierarchy and creativity is mitigated by the immediate supervisor’s behavior and ability to navigate the bureaucratic landscape. This study added to the existing body of research on creativity in the workplace in two ways. First, the researcher assessed the interaction between the supervisor and worker through the four stages of creativity: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification (Sadler-Smith, 2015). Second, the study focused on the influence of bureaucratic conditions on the creative process. The study findings suggest that supervisor behavior is paramount in enabling creativity; organizational hierarchy and creative autonomy can coexist; trust relationships increased the expectancy of creative support; and immediate supervisors who leverage bureaucracy enable an environment that promotes creative thinking.