The government of Saudi Arabia has prioritized economic and social development in its ambitious Vision 2030, which was introduced by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Alsaud the Deputy Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The country seeks to diversify its economy and the higher education is among the most important sectors facing tremendous development. Therefore, the achievement of desirable academic outcomes relies heavily on the effective leadership of institutions of higher education. The aim of the current quantitative study was to evaluate the leadership styles of Saudi leaders in Saudi Arabian universities. Additionally, it sought to determine if there are differences in leadership styles due to the educational institution where Saudi university leaders obtained their post-secondary education, and the self-rated scores of leadership styles on the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (commonly known as the MLQ; Avolio & Bass, 2004). This quantitative study used an online survey instrument to capture 66 responses from Saudi higher education leaders holding various senior positions in local institutions. Of these, 48 were sufficiently complete for data analysis. The study will assessed the dimensions of transformational, transactional, and passive-avoidant leadership of university leaders in Saudi Arabia as perceived by the leaders. The major findings of this study included demographic data such as the majority of the respondents being between the ages of 55 and 64 years old (35.4%), 85.4% of the leaders having a doctorate degree as the highest education level, and 75% having achieved their education in foreign countries. The ANOVA analysis demonstrated that there were no significant differences in any of the 9 MLQ (5x-short) subscale scores of the university leaders who had completed their highest education level in Saudi Arabia versus those who had attained their education in western countries. The study focused on self-evaluations, as the participants completed the questionnaires about their perceptions. Future studies can: incorporate 360-degree profiles that consider the views of followers and superiors (such as the MLQ 360, LPI 360, and the Checkpoint 360), adopt different research designs or implement a comparative analysis of different regions within a country, or replicate the study in other sectors.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Universities and colleges -- Saudi Arabia -- Administration; College administrators -- Saudi Arabia; Education, Higher -- Saudi Arabia -- Evaluation

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Stephens, Ronald;