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Title: An empirical study of male and female leadership styles in a segregated work environment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Author: Al-Shamrani, Mohammed S.
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 2013
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Disparities between men‘s and women‘s leadership styles are particularly salient in contemporary organizations in which recent trends suggest leadership styles link to both sex and gender. Some research suggests leadership style is associated partly with sex, and other research suggests differences are attributed better to gender roles. Thus, it is unclear whether gender moderates relationships among psychological mechanisms that produce leadership and its various styles. Complicating the matter is the fact that most researchers conduct leadership studies in contexts in which genders interact regularly. In Saudi Arabia, interactions between the genders are limited to one‘s relatives, though some interactions do occur among colleagues. Most Saudi Arabian organisations segregate employees based on gender since cultures governed by Islamic law commonly separate the sexes regarding institutions, education, employment, and even time spent in leisure. In such cultures, segregation acts as a means of respect and protection from sexual discrimination, regardless of any underestimation of women‘s management skills or characteristics, including leadership. The purpose of this study is to assess gendered leadership in segregated, Saudi Arabian work environments, a context in which interactions between the genders is limited. This study examines leader-member interactions to assess whether gender status moderates either leader behaviours or organisational commitment. Since interactions among the genders are uncommon in this context, this study uniquely explores whether leadership is gendered in the environment. A framework was developed based on both the full-range leadership model and leader-member exchange to assess correlations between the two models and predict employee organisational commitment. This study investigates relationships among both models‘ components, including transformational leader behaviours, transactional leader behaviours, passive leadership behaviours and quality of relationships between leaders and subordinates, and organisational commitment, especially concerning how these components operate in a gender-segregated context. Finally, gender as a moderator was also assessed among these relationships. Data were collected through a quantitative survey from a sample of three-hundred and ninety-six bank employees whose organisation follows a strict sex-segregation policy. The survey consisted of the Multi-factor Leadership Questionnaire, the LMX-7, and the Organisational Commitment Scale instruments. Data were analysed using structural equation modelling, and Partial Least Squares was used as an alternative method of evaluating hypothesised relationships among constructs. Results suggest idealised attributes, idealised behaviours, and developmental behaviours components of transformational leadership correlate strongest with leader-member exchange. Contingent reward, a component of transactional leadership, correlated positively with both leader-member exchange and organisational commitment. Management by exception (active) showed no correlation with leader-member exchange, but correlated with organisational commitment. Passive leader behaviours demonstrated a negative relationship with leader-member exchange. Finally, leader-member exchange mediated relationships among transformational leader behaviours, contingent reward, passive leader behaviours, and organisational commitment. This study suggests the paramount role quality of relationship with a leader plays in the Saudi Arabian context regarding transformational leader behaviours. The mediating role of leader-member exchange between transformational leader behaviours and organisational commitment is attributed to recognition that followers establish relationships in a context in which power distance is high and collectivist values are held. Gender did not moderate relationships among constructs, though non-significant correlations suggest disparities between the male and female groups investigated in this study. Results from this study fill several gaps in the literature concerning gendered leadership in segregated work environments, especially concerning the finding that leadership is not gendered in Saudi Arabian, segregated contexts. Saudi Arabian female managers appear to be as effective as their male counterparts; in fact, they scored slightly higher. These findings argue against a stereotypical view of gendered leadership and suggest an important message regarding the abilities of female managers in Saudi Arabian and other gender-segregated contexts. Saudi Arabian female managers appear accessible to followers through several leadership styles, offering disparate communication channels that encourage multiple avenues to interact with them. Based on the female model, Saudi female maagers were effective in the prediction of LMX using TRFLs, CR and PSVs, while men were effective in TRFLs and PSVs to predict LMX. Also female managers were effective in the prediction of OC using LMX, CR and MBEA, while Saudi male managers were effective to predict OC via LMX and MBEA. Results also suggest that the literature should pay more attention to minimising stereotyping of female managers regarding gendered leadership. Implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research are discussed in light of these findings.
Supervisor: Dwivedi, Ashish N. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business