Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Christopher B. Newman, Ph.D., Committee Chair; Afsaneh Nahavandi, Ph.D., Member; Karen M. Lee, Ph.D., Member; James T. Harris III, D.Ed., Member


Cultural Intelligence, International Education, Leadership, Transformational Leadership, Uniiversity Accreditation, University President


The role of a university president combines the symbolism of an institutional ambassador with the leadership responsibilities of a private-sector executive. When considering the cultural context of the university and the culture of the surrounding community, the demands of the presidential position become far more complex. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation currently lists 42 colleges and universities with institutional-level accreditation located beyond the borders of the Unite States, and two more listed as candidates for future accreditation consideration. Presidents of the 44 internationally located universities bearing U.S. accreditation must negotiate the potential for tension between the many cultures at play, namely the culture of the host nation and the culture perpetuated by accreditation from one of the six granting regional accreditation organizations.

To understand how these university executives manage this balance, this study investigates the degree to which Transformational Leadership and Cultural Intelligence (CQ) are demonstrated. The study also examines the ways in which students, staff, and faculty of two different universities perceive the leadership style of their president. An Explanatory Sequential Mixed Methods study was conducted. Presidents of international universities bearing U.S. accreditation completed a survey instrument to report the frequency of Transformational Leadership and CQ behaviors. Additionally, participants at two campuses participated in interviews and focus groups to investigate congruity with the results of the initial survey.

The findings suggest dimensions of Transformational Leadership and CQ are evidenced by these university presidents’ leadership. This study argues that elements of the organizational and national cultures of these campuses may limit the ways in which these capacities are practiced and perceived. Where some dimensions of these constructs are easily recognized in the leadership strategies of these presidents, it is just as clear that limited time, disjointed campus geography, and host community laws and regulations prevent the university executives from being perceived as wholly transformational.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies