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Title: An executive leadership development programme : a case study identifying key factors fostering or hindering transformative learning within a Qatari organisational context
Author: Schnepfleitner, F. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 8215
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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Leadership development has become an issue of paramount importance in Qatar as leaders capable of driving the country forward to achieve the ambitious goals set out in its 2030 Vision are sought in all sectors. Huge resources are being invested in development, but often with minimal results, forcing Qatar to continue its reliance on expatriate expertise. New ideas and concepts are investigated, but only superficially accepted and rarely implemented. What is needed are transformative learning experiences that change the deeply held beliefs, worldviews and frames of reference of what it means to be a twenty-first century leader in Qatar. The purpose of this research was to look at an Executive Leadership Programme through the experiences of its provider, the participants and their managers, in an attempt to identify the key success factors that foster a transformative learning experience or those that inhibit its occurrence. The method used was a single, local knowledge case study with an instrumental approach aiming to inform the design and implementation of future leadership programmes. A case study is a predominantly qualitative research design looking at a unit of study from multiple angles or perspectives. This was done through in-depth, pre- and post-programme interviews conducted within a ten-month period with the three stakeholders. Additional rich data were obtained through access to the participants’ blogs and assignments, the training institutes’ report and my own observations. These sources provided a thick description of the participants’ experiences. Thematic analysis was used to identify several main themes to answer the posed research question. It was found that the presence of these factors was conducive to fostering transformative experiences, while their absence contributed towards inhibiting them. They included identifying the stakeholder expectations, and conducting a respected selection process, which produces participants with the appropriate English, educational and cognitive skills to participate without undue stress. Furthermore, it was found that the absence of time and commitment allocated for the implementation of well-structured, pre- and post-programme stages impacted negatively on both the leadership programme and its transformative learning outcomes. There should be in-depth awareness of the participants’ professional and cultural contexts during all stages of design and implementation to ensure the right approach is taken regarding autonomous components and personal and cultural interactions. There were indications that the intensity of the programme pushed the participants beyond the required state of disorientation necessary for transformative learning and into one of being overwhelmed and stressed. A balance needs to be achieved for participants to be in a mind-set that is open and receptive to a legitimate lived experience. The group dynamic had a strong and positive influence throughout the implementation stage and this should be encouraged for all stages. The study concludes with recommendations to programme developers and Qatari organisations and suggests the need for more case studies, especially of a longitudinal nature, using both qualitative and quantitative approaches and looking into micro issues such as the role of the group, the balance between stress and disorientation, and maintenance of achieved transformations.
Supervisor: Ferreira, M. ; Gough, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral