A Critical Study of Male Western Muslim Expatriate Teachers’ Perceptions of Educational Leadership Practices in a Saudi Arabian University Preparatory Year English Language Program
Effective educational leadership has been described as one of the foundational concepts for the successful operation of any educational establishment. Much of the research conducted has been within a “Western” context. There has been some interest in Asia and Africa, but the Middle East is still greatly underrepresented in the literature. This thesis investigates twelve male Western Muslim expatriate university teachers in a Preparatory Year English language programme in Saudi Arabia. The aim of this study is to investigate teachers’ perceptions of educational leadership in a northern city in Saudi Arabia. It aims to gain insights into how perceptions are influenced by culture, the context and participants’ belief systems. This qualitative study I conducted interviews with 12 teachers. Data gathered revealed three main factors that influenced participants’ perceptions of educational leadership. These were themed around sociocultural, institutional, and individual influences. From a sociocultural perspective, key influences included perceived Islamic expectations, favouritism (known as ‘wasta’ in Arabic) and the concept of tribal affiliations. From an institutional perspective, evidence emerged of oppression, power distance and voice. Individual perspectives revealed that perceptions were influenced by how the institute was led, and how communication should be more inclusive. For many, what they described as a good leader mirrored the characteristics of the transformational leader. Findings revealed that context and culture were paramount to framing, shaping, and establishing participants’ perceptions. I argue that the lack of cultural awareness on both the part of the leaders and teachers, impacts teachers’ perceptions. A certain cultural shift needs to be made in terms of the participants’ expectations of leadership. This emerges as a key factor, when arguing that leadership is culturally defined.
Date of award2023-01-08
Author affiliationSchool of Education
Awarding institutionUniversity of Leicester