Sanam Minoo


This study examined the prospects, challenges, and practicalities of an ethnic and demographic and subgroup in the attainment and exercise of leadership, specifically Iranian-American women based in the Greater Los Angeles area of California. A qualitative phenomenological study was designed in which 15 participants, selected through purposive sampling, were engaged in a semi-structured interview format, with a focus on eliciting answers pertinent to 4 research questions germane to the topic of interest. These 4 questions concerned the success strategies of Iranian-American women leaders, their specific challenges, the metrics of their success, and their lessons for aspiring leaders. Eleven specific interview questions were conceived to address these issues, with the responses recorded, transcribed, and coded to uncover common themes and categories among the answers. The findings indicated a common agreement on the importance of education, mentorship, motivation, a sense of self-belief and purpose, optimism, considerations of culture, and integrity as core elements of attaining success. Broadly speaking, participants’ responses independently converged on the central importance of a leadership character best identified with what has become known as transformation leadership. This style is associated with leading by example and motivating a team to act independently yet in alignment with broader goals, in contrast to the traditional command-and-obey structure of transactional leadership. As indicated by a substantial body of literature, the transformational style is more commonly associated with women leaders and with the empathy-related component of emotional intelligence. Moreover, research has indicated that it is an especially effective style. Together, the results of this research and the associated literature lend themselves to a number of specific recommendations for aspiring Iranian women leaders, while also providing encouragement for them in their attainment and practice of such leadership.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Iranian American women -- California -- Los Angeles; Leadership in women -- California -- Los Angeles -- Case studies; Transformational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;