This qualitative, grounded theory study focused on the exploration of leadership arising within the Asia region. While enduring leadership qualities like strength, humility, resolve, and trust have been foundational in leadership practice globally, scholars have demonstrated that leadership does not exist in absolute terms; it is shaped by the values of local culture, which set expectations for leadership behaviors. This study explored the conceptualization of a more collective and connected form of leadership in the context of a region leading the world with highly networked digital social practices. The question the study explored was, if, and to what extent, leaders and teams in the Asia region are shifting their understanding and practices of leadership, from a process led primarily by an individual to a system of shared and digitally connected relationships. The literature review provided the opportunity to go beyond the mere transferability of heroic Western-centric leadership theories and investigated emerging leadership models in Asia, learning theories in the digital age, and the evolution of leadership theory and organization design. Data collection comprised of forty-two interviews: twenty-nine one-on-one in-depth interviews with research participants based in the Asia region and thirteen global leading experts in networked learning, leadership, and Asian studies. The findings were harnessed in support of the development of a grounded theory, which shifts the heroic leadership paradigm in favor of the discovery of a new leadership model called "Connectivist Leadership."

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Leadership -- Asia; Business -- Asia

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Martine Jago