Park Chung Hee: Biographical Analysis of a Presidential Leader, (1961--1979)

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Dorothy Ettling


Helena Monahan


Gilberto M. Hinijosa


Richard L. Henderson


This study analyzes Park Chung Hee's leadership of South Korea from 1961 to 1979.This study argues that the historical, psychological, and sociological data concerning Park Chung Hee as president of South Korea shows that he was a transformational leader and as a result modernized South Korea. The study utilized historical and biographical data to analyze the details of Park’s achievements as a transformational leader; in addition, his achievements were analyzed in an effort to better understand his leadership style. Sources of data about Park Chung Hee included many relevant documents as well as other materials from his period as president of South Korea. James Mcgregor Bums (1978) described transformational leadership as a process in which “leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation.” During Park Chung Hee's presidency, he implemented a radical change as a result of using his military skills, political apparatus, and foreign relations to entrance his political success. An analysis of published materials on President Park reveals him as a transformational leader in some respects, though he was limited by the extent to which the democratic ideals and practices could be fully implemented in a rapidly developing nation such as South Korea. Transformational leadership must be reinterpreted to reflect the various levels of morality and motivation of the people.

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