The demand for leaders able to navigate the complexity of multinational circumstances working with and through people of multicultural backgrounds is greater today than ever before. Corporations, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies and operations are all dealing with a globalized marketplace and economy. Work and the dynamics at play are more complex than ever; the coordination and interplay between people of different nationalities, customs, backgrounds, and languages is at an all-time high. People who live and work in global contexts have reported experiencing transformational moments as well as the development into a global leader. Such transformational, or crucible, experiences have been found to create for people new mental models, such as perspectives, worldviews, and perceptual acumen that do not exist for those people who have not gone through like events. The intersection of global leadership and transformative learning is one ripe for further study. This study aimed to bring together two different fields of study, both relatively nascent in academe, to determine how the elements of one (transformative learning) may be beneficial in the expansion and development of another (global leadership). This mixed-methods study investigated the experience of people who developed as a global leader, as well as their experience with the ten phases of transformative learning. Senior level employees at a global fast-moving consumer goods company who had completed an international work assignment of at least on year in duration were asked to participate in this study on the intersection of global leadership and transformative learning. This research showed that there are common phases through which people who developed as global leaders have progressed in their growth as global leaders. Additionally, this research showed that those who developed as global leaders in an international work assignment of greater than one year reported experiencing, at different levels, the ten phases of transformative learning. Lastly, this study showed that the phases through which people progressed match closely with the phases of transformative learning.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PhD) -- Global leadership and change; Leadership; Diversity in the workplace; Transformative learning

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Shockman, H. Eric