Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, PhD, Chair Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Member William H. Davidson, DBA, Member Abdulmalik A. Alhusseini, PhD, Member


Leadership development, Saudi Arabia, Vision 2030, Mixed methods


There is currently a proliferation of business-focused leadership development programs in Saudi Arabia. These programs represent a reaction to the shortage of qualified leaders who can drive and sustain both recent and future advances introduced by Saudi Vision 2030, the national transformation program that is introducing social and economic reforms. Importantly, business leadership development has not been studied in this context of contemporary Saudi Arabia.

This study examined the state of Saudi leadership development programs by employing an explanatory sequential case study design that focused on a particular leadership development program. Through the use of surveys and participant interviews, results revealed that most participants benefitted from the program and noticed growth in their leadership skills. Results also suggested that participants found small group activities and strategic management to be the most effective program features. Regression analysis results revealed significant positive correlations between participants’ growth in their leadership skills and the relevance of program content to their background and work, as well as their engagement in program activities, while a significant negative correlation was found between participants’ growth in leadership and their status as a parent. While qualitative interview findings confirmed the first two findings, they contradicted the parental finding, suggesting that more research is needed in this area. Interviews also pointed to some of the most valuable components of the program including the overall quality of training content and delivery, interactivity and practicality of the program, and participants’ ability to learn soft skills and change their perspectives. Some areas of improvement were also discovered including enrollment criteria and the quality and comprehensiveness of program material such as readings.

The findings and recommendations from this study could benefit various stakeholders. For instance, organizations interested in these programs need to select people who are interested in learning and growing their skills. Organizations also need to consider supplementary initiatives within the workplace to expand leadership development from individual to collective levels. For trainers, practicality and interactivity are key features for successful programs. Finally, many soft skills taught in these programs could be included into school curriculum to ensure future workers are better prepared.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies