Date of Award

Summer 8-14-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Whitney McIntyre Miller, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Amal S. Al-Shaman, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Margaret Grogan, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

J. Mark Maier, Ph.D.


This is a constructivist grounded theory study that explored and investigated the leadership understandings of collegiate women in Saudi Arabia’s private non-profit universities, the opportunities they have to develop leadership, and how and why they develop leadership. The researcher engaged in semi-structured interviews with 25 collegiate women who have experiences in student leadership in one or more cocurricular program at their respective university. The findings revealed that collegiate women: (a) have a collective sense of the importance in developing their leadership potential to better themselves, to better each other, and for the betterment of the Saudi Arabian society; (b) they are interested in and motivated to develop their leadership potential; (c) develop leadership in inconsistent and informal ways; and (d) understand leadership as a relational practice. This is an unprecedented study in the field of college student leadership development within the context of Saudi Arabia. The findings have a number of important implications for action and future research in Saudi Arabia, as well as in neighboring countries that share similar complexities pertaining to women’s role and status in society.