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Title: Leadership development in an Arab context : the case of Syria
Author: Megheirkouni, Majd Saleh
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 1756
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2014
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Leadership development is adopted as a strategy to become a learning organisation. The emphasis on leadership or transfer of leadership training is perceived as central to the development of a learning organisation, which is the only sustainable competitive advantage in response to an increasingly unpredictable business environment. Leadership development may be seen as oriented towards building capacity in anticipation of unforeseen challenges. In this vein, developing leadership behaviours/capabilities might be a priority for successful organisations. This suggests that organisations should be able to develop their leaders by ensuring the harmony between the requirements of corporate strategy and the context in which they work. Given the fact that leadership is such essential part of organisational development, the methods for developing the leadership behaviours/capabilities must be present. Without defining leadership behaviours/capabilities, and their development methods, organisations may fail to optimize the outcomes of their leadership. This indicates the importance for understanding how leadership development (LD) is approached. Consequently, this study explores how LD occurs and what factors influence this phenomenon in the Arab context using evidence from Syria, and develops an integrated model to support the introduction of LD to organisations operating in the Syrian/Arab context. This study utilises a qualitative multiple-case design to understand and explain the character of and the influence on LD in the Arab world using evidence from Syria. Specifically, the study was based upon a sample of three cases of for-profit companies. Research data was gathered through 36 in-depth semi-structured interviews with the middle and top management levels. The findings reveal that LD occurs through the process that begins once a company identifies its leadership needs. This occurs by analysing internal/external environment to select the leadership behaviours/capabilities required, and their development methods. It was noted that this process seems to be similar among the three companies, but the type of behaviour/capabilities required tends to be context specific. Additionally, the findings reveal that there were two types of factors that influence LD at the three companies: Factors were seen as determinant factors through which the decisions of whether to introduce LD were made; and factors influencing the successful application of LD. The findings also reveal that there is a dynamic interaction between the mechanism used for understanding the weakness to identify leadership needs from one side and the context in which the companies operate from the other side. This relationship poses the basis for each company to select what fits its internal/external needs. This was evident through the types of behaviours/capabilities required and the purpose of each development method adopted by each company for developing the behaviours/capabilities required. The findings provide several contributions, but the major contribution is the discovery of how LD is applied in an Arab context, what behaviours/capabilities and development methods work best with for-profit companies in this context, how companies operating in an Arab context identify leadership needs for development, and what factors they perceive as determinants of LD and what factors influence the implications of LD. The study makes an additional contribution by developing an empirical model for introducing LD in an Arab context using evidence from Syria. The model was based on the data obtained from the field study. This could be appropriate for the Syrian/Arab context from one side that shares the same traditional characteristics, and companies working in these contexts (Arab) from the other side.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N210 Management Techniques ; leadership ; Syria ; leadership development