A qualitative study of leadership in Saudi Arabian early childhood education: influential factors and critical challenges

PhD Thesis

Alshanqiti, L. 2018. A qualitative study of leadership in Saudi Arabian early childhood education: influential factors and critical challenges. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Education
AuthorsAlshanqiti, L.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD

Despite the increasing volume of literature related to early childhood education (ECE) leadership (Moyles, 2006; Siraj-Blatchford and Manni, 2007; O’Sullivan, 2009; Bush, 2012; Male, 2012; Rodd, 2013; Sims et al., 2014; Davis and Ryder, 2016), a key aspect of this qualitative study lies in its exploration of a relatively new area. This thesis aims to address the existing gap in the knowledge of ECE leadership in a non-Western context and to inform policy and practice in this context.

The purpose of this research is to explore leadership in Saudi ECE, focusing on leadership behaviour and whether it is compatible with the notion of pedagogical leadership. The factors that influence leadership in Saudi ECE and the challenges associated with ECE leadership in the Saudi context will be identified.

In this research, pedagogical leadership beyond the simplistic forms of teaching and learning aspects is considered and is examined from wide perspectives, from which interaction, relationship building, professional development, students and teachers’ capacity building, and fostering creativity and innovation are taken into consideration (Sergiovanni, 1998; Cecchin and Johnsen, 2009; Heikka and Waniganayake, 2011). Additionally, departing from modelling leadership, pedagogical leadership here is concerned with the context in which leadership operates, which is shaped by the interaction of a set of “social realities” (Male and Palaiologou, 2016).

In keeping with the exploratory nature of this research and to seek an in-depth understanding of the participants’ experiences in ECE in Saudi Arabia, a qualitative interpretive approach was employed. Therefore, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with twenty-four ECE leaders. An inductive analysis of the collected data was carried out using Nvivo to manage and organise the data transcripts.

This thesis suggests that contextual pedagogical leadership should be used to present the notion of context dependent pedagogical leadership. Since the rapidly changing 21st century and the implementation of dynamic educational processes, pedagogical leadership actions have been dependent on each situation. Despite the common leadership factors and challenges that are shared among educational institutions, there were contextual differences that were peculiar to each educational setting that was analysed in this research.

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Publication process dates
Deposited21 Aug 2018
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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