Date of Award

8-1981

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Harold W. Boles

Second Advisor

Dr. James R. Sanders

Third Advisor

Dr. James Jaksa

Abstract

The intention of this study was to investigate whether leadership principles formulated by experts in the United States were applicable cross-culturally in extant leadership practices in Iran.

This study was designed to compare the attitudes of samples of American and Iranian graduate Engineering students from four state universities in Michigan— Western Michigan University, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and.the University of Michigan— toward some selected U.S.-based leadership principles pertaining to the leaders' use of authority, influence, and power. Specific comparisons were made between the two groups of graduate students majoring in Engineering in terms of their attitudes toward the "importance" of and "frequency" with which the particular leadership principles would be experienced in their respective countries.

To accomplish this study, a 36-item questionnaire was developed— with twelve principles for each of the three leadership variables, namely, authority, influence, and power— selected from the professional literature published in the United States. The self-administered questionnaire was pilot tested to determine its validity and reliability as well as response ease. Based upon the pilot test data and recommendations from experts in the area of educational leadership and evaluation, the questionnaire was then revised.

Since it was not feasible to collect the data by means of mail survey, the questionnaires were distributed by campus representatives at the four respective universities. Of the 224 questionnaires which were disseminated, the usable response rate was 75 percent. Responses from a sample consisting of 85 Americans and 85 Iranians were analyzed for this study.

A t; test of independent samples was used, because t_ tests are generally useful to determine whether two means are significantly different. The results indicated that there were statistically significant differences between the attitudes of American and Iranian graduate Engineering students in the State of Michigan in terms of the importance of and frequency with which principles representing each of the three leadership variables might be observed in their respective countries. However the range of the mean scores of the two groups for each of the three variables was not extreme, varying between one and four points. Americans who participated in this study tended to be more homogeneous in their responses than did Iranians.

Eor this study, the hypothesis was postulated that there would be statistically significant differences between the attitudes of American and Iranian graduate Engineering students toward selected U.S.-based leadership principles related to authority, influence, and power. Based on the statistical findings, the hypothesis was supported. It was concluded that there were significant differences in .the attitudes of prospective leaders— -specifically, of American and Iranian graduate Engineering students in the State of Michigan— t toward some selected American leadership principles.

For decades, the theoretical orientation to leadership postulated ; in the United States has been acclaimed and unquestioningly accepted as the universal yardstick for leadership in Western and non-Westem countries. The correlation between leadership effectiveness and cultural variables remains a moot point. There is a growing trend to try to determine whether the U.S.-based theories and principles are applicable to various cultures.

Since biculturality continues to be delegated to the non-Westem prospective leaders through requiring them to assimilate U.S.-based leadership orientation, this cross-cultural study attempted to determine the generalizability of three dozen U.S.-based leadership principles .

The data from the two samples showed that the prospective Iranian Qigineering leaders who participated in this study did not unanimously agree with the American prospective leaders about the applicability of the selected American leadership principles. Further comparative cross-cultural research to investigate the generalizability of U.S.-based leadership theories and principles seems warranted.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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