Huda Al-Ghoson became the first Saudi woman in an executive leadership position at Saudi Aramco, defying gender discrimination in a male-dominated corporate. This dissertation examined Al-Ghoson's groundbreaking journey and its implications for Saudi women, addressing the scarcity of information on successful Saudi female leaders' strategies and experiences. The literature review explored gender-related theories, Transformational leadership theory, and Full-Range leadership theory. A qualitative exploratory single-case study design was employed, with Huda Al-Ghoson as the focal point. The research questions were: (a) as a Saudi woman in a top leadership role, how does Al-Ghoson perceive her ascension to leadership in a male-dominated corporation? (b) as a Saudi woman in a high-rank leadership role, what perceived challenges did Al-Ghoson encounter while climbing the leadership ladder in a male-dominated corporation? (c) how do Al-Ghoson and her former colleagues and co-workers perceive her leadership style? and (d) as a Saudi woman in a top leadership role, what strategies or actions does Al-Ghoson perceive as effective in acquiring leadership positions in a male-dominated business? Data collection methods included semi-structured interviews, Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) assessments, and artifacts. Qualitative thematic analysis revealed 10 primary themes: (a) Al-Ghoson’s own definition of success, (b) her self-discovery journey of leadership, (c) her late mother was her mentor and role model, (d) her core challenge was the ingrained gender discrimination w within Saudi culture, (e) unconscious bias and sexism in the workplace, (f) lack of organizational resources, (g) she is perceived as a Transformational leader, (h) her advice for female leaders, (i) her recommendations for organizations, and (j) belief in Saudi Vision 2030’s effectiveness for female leaders. The study revealed cultural change within Saudi Arabia, highlighting Al-Ghoson's challenges and impact on the Saudi workforce's future vision. Recommendations emphasized personal development and organizational support for Saudi female leaders, providing guidance for aspiring women and organizations committed to promoting gender equity. Future research should investigate multiple case studies, consider social and cultural factors, assess Saudi Vision 2030 and leadership development programs, and examine the influence of family, social networks, and cultural norms on women's career aspirations.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Leadership--Saudi Arabians--Women; Women in science--Saudi Arabia; Women in mathematics--Saudi Arabia; Women in engineering--Saudi Arabia

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Paula Thompson