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Title: Evaluating leadership development and practices : an empirical study of the banking sector in Kuwait
Author: Malallah, Ammar Abdulnabi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2698 1273
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2010
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In recent years the important of leadership in the organization has become an area of interest. Leadership has been noted to impact corporate culture, employee commitment and response and the overall performance of the organization. Given the fact that leadership is such an important part of organizational development and discourse, effective methods for developing effective leadership in the organization are needed. Without definitive methods for leadership development, organizations will not be able to optimize the outcomes of leadership in the organization. Thus, there is a clear impetus to delineate what works best in the context of leadership development. This study used concurrent qualitative and quantitative research to understand better the effect of cross-cultural influences on the leadership development programmes and leadership practices development in a study population consisting of managers and supervisors in the Kuwaiti banking industry. Although Kuwaiti organisations employ many international employees and operate foreign subsidiaries, they have not created leadership development programmes to improve cross-cultural leadership skills for managers. As a result, Kuwaiti managers often rely on traditional transactional methods and an authoritarian style of leadership that may be less effective with employees from different nations and cultural backgrounds. The qualitative phase of the research collected data from Kuwaiti bank managers through interviews while the quantitative phase of the research collected data with survey instrument. The quantitative phase of the study also tested the validity of a conceptual model and hypotheses using structural equation modelling and regression analysis. The research was guided by distributed leadership theory, which considers leadership as a series of interactions between leader and follower with the follower sometimes adopting an informal role as temporary leader. The theory also considers the context in which the leader operates as a critical factor for motivating leadership practise. The testing and validation of the theoretical model in the study led to the acceptance of a new 'Effective Cross Cultural Leadership' (ECL) model. This model describes the relationship between the exogenous or independent variables of cultural differences, training and development in traditional Kuwaiti leadership, cross cultural leadership development programmes and international leadership practises with the endogenous or dependent variables of leadership development programmes and leadership practises development. The testing of the hypotheses of the study showed a statistically significant relationship between the four independent variables and the two dependent variables with exception of the relationship between the independent variable of international leadership practises and the dependant variable of leadership programmes development. The quantitative findings also indicated that demographic variables do not have a moderating effect on the model. The qualitative findings of the study determined that cultural differences between employees and managers influence the managers' leadership behaviours and their understanding of the type of leadership development programmes to improve their cross-cultural leadership skills. Managers with greater experience or knowledge of foreign cultures adopt more flexible leadership practises when leading international teams. The qualitative findings also determined that front office managers are more willing to use participative leadership styles in leadership practises, while back office managers rely on authoritarian leadership styles focusing on tasks in their leadership practises, indicating that the context influences leadership styles and practise. The findings of the study including the development and validation of the Effective Cross-Cultural Leadership (ECL) model contribute to the theoretical and practical knowledge of cross-cultural leadership in Kuwait that can be extended to other Middle Eastern nations. In addition, the study finding extends cross-cultural theory by indicating that international influences both internal and external to the organisation affect leadership styles despite national norms and preferences. These findings implied that Kuwaiti organisations experience significant pressure to adopt some international leadership practises and styles to accommodate the expectations and needs of the many international workers employed in Kuwait. The practical implication of these findings showed that Kuwaiti managers would benefit from leadership training emphasising that no standard or correct approach to leadership exists and that it can be acceptable for leaders to use participative styles when warranted by the situation.
Supervisor: Cornelius, Nelarine ; Wallace, James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Leadership development ; Leadership practices ; Cross-cultural management ; Kuwait banking sector ; Mixed method research ; Organizations ; Banks and banking ; Cultural differences