Leadership Effectiveness of School Principals and Institutional Development: The Overarching Role of Leaders’ National Culture in Arabic Schools in UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
School Leadership has remained a fundamental aspect of school development. This is based on the widespread assertion that quality leadership makes a good difference in school effectiveness and student outcomes. This assertion is made consideration of the national culture of school leadership; particularly, principals’s culture on institutional development. This area has not gained required attention. A contextual gap also exists regarding the lack of insight on the effect of Western and Local principals’ leadership with regards to their varied effect on school leadership and development, highlighting the increasing presence of Western expatriates in the sector. The main purpose of the study is to investigate the impact of the national culture of principals on leadership and institutional effectiveness in UAE local schools. The present study assumes a positivist philosophical position in a quantitative research approach; measures are installed to ensure replicability, objectiveness, reliability and other aspects of research credibility. The study focuses on UAE local or government-owned schools across all seven Emirates, collecting data with the help of an online survey questionnaire. Findings indicate that principals’ culture has a significant effect on both areas of leadership effectiveness and school development. This is valid for the leadership dimensions of individualism and long-term orientation. In addition, uncertainty avoidance also makes a positive contribution to leadership effectiveness. The culture of principals also acts as a negative moderator of leadership ability to achieve institutional performance; this is valid for masculinity as a cultural dimension. In other findings, leadership has been observed as critical for school development even though vision implementation weighs down on school development. Finally, no difference exists between Western and Local principals in both areas of leadership effectiveness and institutional development. Nurturing and propagating the required cultural traits and dimensions is critical for effective leadership and institutional development in UAE schools.
leadership effectiveness, school culture, school management, school development, institutional development, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Arabic schools