Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Timothy B. Heath, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

James A. Stikeleather, DBA

Committee Member

Eric M. Eisenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joann Farrell Quinn, Ph.D., MBA


decisions, founder, interdisciplinary, transformation, visionary


Purpose – The purpose of this project was to extrapolate knowledge of successful leadership practices, determine what led to and nurtured what became an integrated organizational culture and identify any decisions and/or transformational events that re-defined Moffitt Cancer Center’s (MCC) course or helped propel it to levels far beyond what was originally imagined. The aims of this study were discovery of the foundational factors and events that significantly impacted the creation, growth and evolution of the center, making MCC an institution of transformational change that had achieved state and national prominence.

Design – This was an exploratory study guided by a qualitative phenomenological research methodology using an interpretivist approach. Data was derived from twenty one-on-one interviews with people who had the specific knowledge and expertise necessary to obtain a better understanding of the leadership, culture and transformational events that transformed MCC into the institution that it is today. Interviewees included former and current MCC executive leaders, board members and key program directors, as well as the founder and two other former Speakers of the Florida House of Representatives. A literature review was conducted to explore founders, visionary leadership, organizational culture, and transformational organizations.

Findings – Key findings included discovery of the factors and events that impacted MCC’s growth and success. The interview process revealed three foundational factors pertaining to visionary leadership qualities of the founder and others, a mission-based culture and four transformational events that set MCC on a course of independence and self-governance. The literature review, with an emphasis on founders, visionary leadership, culture and transformational institutions, revealed useful information to draw comparisons and differences in the historical context of MCC’s growth and impact.

Value – MCC, created in Florida statute, existed as a private not-for-profit entity that, statutorily, served as an instrumentality of the state. As such, it had an interestingly distinct role as a hybrid organization that served a public and private sector need; while, very specifically, serving the cancer research and care needs of patients throughout the state and beyond. While the previously mentioned business literary research works are plentiful in the private and public sectors, a gap exists for hybrid organizations such as MCC. Future research could focus on organization founders who did not become part of the executive leadership structure.