Academic research on immigrant social capital indicates that the social capital gained from a country of origin is not easily transferable to a host country (Hopkins, 2020; Hou et al., 2018; Tegegne, 2015). The debate has gained recognition in the recent past as more developed countries continue to receive an increasing number of immigrants. Kenya is among the countries that continue to experience a global surge of professionals immigrating who have settled in North America. Research reveals that some known social connections within host countries are exploitative and detrimental to Kenyan immigrants who try to access meaningful leadership positions that could situate them as future leaders (Alcorta et al., 2020; Takenaka et al., 2016).In addressing the gap identified, this study examined how Kenyan immigrant leaders benefit from existing social capital to advance in leadership positions from their initial employment and after their first promotion into a leadership position in the United States and Canada. Interviews with seven Kenyan immigrant leaders from Mbaitu Inc. in the United States and seven Kenyan leaders from KCA in Canada constituted the study data and the research results.

Research results revealed Kenyans utilized homogenous linkages more than competitive heterogeneous linkages. There is a lack of organizational systems with relevant office structures to support the leader’s community engagements. The integrative leadership model used to analyze the Kenyan leaders’ competencies lacked components that addressed organizational structural and informational processes. Analysis of missing leadership components in reference to social capital theory contributed to the development of Mworsho's organizational and integrated leadership model. The study recommends a multi-dimensional competency enhancement through training, support, and mentorship from leaders who have successfully implemented community engagement programs. The competencies are hoped to mold the leaders’ leadership style to an outward-looking heterogeneous linkage within a structured societal framework.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Kenyans—Leadership; Social capital (Sociology) Immigrants—United States; Immigrants--Canada; Kenyans—United States; Kenyans—Canada

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Kent Rhodes