Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Afsaneh Nahavandi, PhD, Chair Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Member Christopher B. Newman, PhD, Member


Intergenerational Value Change, Cultural Values, Value Change, Generations, UAE, Women, Leadership, Social Change, Human Development


Intergenerational value change, influenced by technological advancements, economic development, formal education, and urbanization, becomes especially complex when it occurs in times of rapid changes, as in the case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Through the lens of social change and human development theory, heavily constructed in the Gemeinschaft/Gesellschaft paradigm, this focused ethnography explored the push and pull of traditional boundaries within a collectivist society and the necessary navigation of infused Westernized philosophies promoting individualism and autonomy. Participants in this study (N = 24) were members of 8 family triads of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters who represented 8 different Emirati tribes from 4 cities in the Emirates. Data were collected during semi-structured interviews using prompts and vignettes and through observation and the generation of field notes. Thematic analysis revealed 3 themes that described the Emirati women’s unique cultural experiences: (a) cultural value change (gender equity and roles, family connectedness and relatedness) is evident across generations; (b) change in cultural values is the result of multiple factors (e.g., wealth, education, heterogeneity, independence, need for and acceptance of change, negotiation); and (c) resistance to change (e.g., gender roles, respect, connectedness, relatedness) slows the changing of values. The findings underscore the need to support young Emirati women as they navigate value change and try to rectify often conflicting role expectations. Insight gained from this study informs the field of cross-cultural leadership and female leadership development in the Gulf region.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies