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Adaptive organizational leadership style: Contextualizing transformational leadership in a non-western country

Abdulfattah Yaghi (Department of Political Science, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 22 November 2017

Issue publication date: 1 December 2017

2934

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine organizational leadership in a traditional, non-western country where citizens’ happiness drives the practices of the public administration managers.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) to examine leadership in a traditional, non-western country where organizational change dominates the public sector. Triangulation of quantitative and qualitative research methods is used.

Findings

Triangulation of quantitative and qualitative research methods reveals that the way managers respond to organizational change leads to utilizing an adaptive leadership style; a mixture of dynamic and rigid practices. Organizational change creates peculiar circumstances that make it thus imperative for managers to mix transformational and transactional practices in order to not only survive, but also excel. While some of the findings conform to those of previous studies, they indicate that the MLQ does not seem to adequately reflect the impact of organizational change on leadership. The study also provides evidence that adaptive leadership is driven by cultural and organizational necessities.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of the study can be avoided in future research. In particular, the number of interviews has limited the ability to better reflect all dimensions of the adaptive leadership style. Due to time and resource availability, the inability to focus more on the individual level of the cultural factor and its impact on leadership style may have limited the scope of the analysis. Finally, the present study did not examine the cultural variations within the United Arab Emirates universal culture especially in relationship with region, age group, and gender of the managers.

Originality/value

The paper examines leadership in the Middle East context where rare studies in leadership have been conducted. The study also examines the usability of MLQ in Arab context where organizational change persists.

Keywords

Citation

Yaghi, A. (2017), "Adaptive organizational leadership style: Contextualizing transformational leadership in a non-western country", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 243-259. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-01-2017-0001

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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