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Transformational leadership behaviours of women in a socially dynamic environment

Khurram Sharif (College of Business and Economics, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 22 March 2019

Issue publication date: 9 September 2019



This paper aims to provide insights into the female transformational leadership behaviours within a socially dynamic environment. Research was conducted in the State of Qatar, a country that is going through a rapid social change.


The research framework was based on the transformational leadership framework (TLF) initially proposed by Burns (1978) and further developed by Bass (1985). A respondent set, consisting of 25 Qatari female managers, was taken from the largest public university in the State of Qatar. In-depth interviews were the main source of collected data. The data were analysed using NVivo 11.


Predominantly, Qatari female leadership behaviours were reflective of transformational leadership. In their dealings, Qatari female managers displayed motherly instincts, encouraged open communication, used relationship adaptations and used trust. From time to time, Qatari female managers displayed non-transformational leadership behaviours. This occasional leadership style switch was part of behavioural flexibility that was required in a mixed age, mixed gender, mixed experience and mixed nationalities work environment. The key reason for the change in transformational leadership approach came as a reaction to subordinates’ attitude. In particular, the male-dominated work environment required behavioural adjustments (such as being more assertive and autocratic) to deal with masculine subordinates.

Research limitations/implications

A range of respondent perceptions were related to defining leadership. There was some overlapping between the tested determinants. For example, idealised influence and individualised consideration shared a degree of similarity in terms of how they were perceived.

Social implications

Socially dynamic environment should be seen as an opportunity for female transformational leadership development. Social dynamism may result in an evolved TLF that could be more appropriate for Qatari organisations. Hence, experience and problem sharing between Qatari female managers may help in developing a socially and culturally fitting transformational leadership model.


The study presented a perspective of a socially dynamic environment where women were practicing transformational leadership primarily through behavioural flexibility and change management. The study suggests an extended version of TLF that would be more suitable for female leadership within a socially dynamic environment.



Sharif, K. (2019), "Transformational leadership behaviours of women in a socially dynamic environment", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 1191-1217.



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