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Title: Leadership styles and choices : a mixed method investigation of leadership theories (transformational, transactional and passive) and their practical influence in Saudi Arabian state boys' secondary schools
Author: Alharbi, Abdullah
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 3063
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2019
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This study examined how a traditional society such as Saudi Arabia that is currently experiencing significant reforms has employed various theories of leadership originally developed and applied in the West. Specifically, the research chiefly evaluated the usage and effectiveness of three leadership styles: transformation, transactional, passive; with passing reference where appropriate to situational leadership. This study applied a sequential mixed method design which consisted of a two-phase survey and interviews. The sample size for this study was 271 (questionnaires), which were distributed to leaders and teachers; 30 leaders and teachers were also interviewed. In the first phase, the aim was to explore the implemented leadership styles (leaders’ daily behaviour and actions) in Saudi Arabian boys’ secondary state schools. Further, the aim was to determine the relationship between the full range of leadership theory developed by Bass and Avolio (1994), and teachers making an extra effort, teacher’s job satisfaction and leader effectiveness. In the second phase, these leadership styles were evaluated in greater depth, exploring what school principals and teachers thought were the characteristics that distinguished an effective leader. Descriptive and correlational analysis techniques were employed in the first phase. A thematic analysis technique was utilized for the second phase. Evidence from this study demonstrated that the transformational leadership style was most used by school principals, followed by the transactional and then situational leadership styles. Moreover, it was evident that the transformational and transactional leadership styles were positively correlated with the specified outcomes. The results of the second phase also confirmed that transformational leadership behaviours were frequently mentioned by the participants. In addition, in order for principals to be effective they should employ some attributes of the transformational leadership style, such as being a role model, visionary and providing training for teachers. In addition, they should employ some attributes of the transactional leadership style, such as using rewards and critical reporting approaches. In summary, this study found that effective leaders combine transformational and transactional attributes. To be more effective, principals should use the transformational leadership behaviours more than transactional behaviours. The research is therefore a relevant and timely contribution to research on the effectiveness and improvement of the Saudi educational system, where theories are increasingly informing practice. In a Saudi context the adoption of a transformational approach to leadership should be progressive and gradual as the traditional system is still strongly accustomed to transactional leadership. The significance of ethical features of leadership such as respect, trust and vision were emphasized by the participants, especially by teachers, who were evidently more open to innovation than their more traditional leaders. Teachers also called for improved communications. It was stressed that teachers and leaders need more effective and more appropriate training courses. These points should be adopted by the MOE in future planning and development, to improve the effectiveness of leadership and to create a more modern educational system that works best for Saudi Arabia.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Wizārat al-Maʻārif ; Saudi Arabia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General) ; LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)