"Cross-Cultural Analysis of Principals’ Leadership in Elementary Schools: Case Studies of Government Funded Schools in Abu Dhabi "

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The thesis explores, through an interpretive framework, school leadership practices in Abu Dhabi Emirate and the embedded school leadership model. The Abu Dhabi School Model is derived from the US and is currently being implemented as a new model of school leadership that includes a cross-cultural dimension. This new approach is based on the assumption that the international literature does not adequately capture the cross-cultural domain and cultural factors that influence leadership practices in Abu Dhabi schools. Four theoretical models are used to explore leadership practices in the UAE: Burns’s transforming/transactional leadership theory (1978), Klann’s Good Leadership Model (2007), Branine’s Arab Organisation Model (2011) and Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s (2012) Cross-Cultural Model. The methodology adopted is a qualitative hermeneutic approach designed to capture the authentic, subjective meaning of leadership to the participants. Three sources of data were used in understanding the nature of leadership practices in Abu Dhabi schools, interviews with teachers, head teachers, vice principals, principals and cluster managers, school document analysis and material culture observations. Several themes are identified as a result of this study that influence leadership practices: cultural influences, the importance of culture building, cross-cultural influences, leadership style/direction and policy implications. Based on these findings an Emirati model of principal leadership has been developed that includes factors specific to the UAE culture. Further qualitative and quantitative research is recommended to investigate these exploratory findings, which offer a unique cross-cultural perspective as a basis for understanding leadership in UAE schools.
Elementary school principals., leadership in elementary schools, cross-cultural analysis, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi