Journal of Entrepreneurship Education (Print ISSN: 1098-8394; Online ISSN: 1528-2651)


Reclaiming administrative creativity among academic women Facing leadership challenges in higher education in Saudi Arabia

Author(s): Maha Bakr A Bin Bakr

This study empirically investigates the correlation between the administrative creativity (AC) practices and leadership challenges (LC) faced by women leaders in the Saudi university context. It further explores whether supervisors’ gender influences the strength of AC practices. In addition, it emphasizes the importance of encouragement and support that women leaders place on their AC. Utilizing a 5-point Likert-type scale, respondents indicated the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with each topic using a survey-based study design. All female faculty members in leadership positions at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU) comprised the study sample, and 74 valid responses (representing 90.2%) were obtained. Using means, standard deviations, and correlation coefficients to characterize the variables, quantitative analysis procedures such as the independent sample t-test and ANOVA analysis were applied. Using Pearson correlation and simple linear regression analysis, the relationship between gender and total AC was examined. Using StataMP 16.1 (StataCorp, College Station, TX), variables were inserted and the significance level was set at 0.05. The findings revealed that women academic leaders used encouraging AC practices (mean=4.25; standard deviation = 0.48), and there were no statistically significant differences between the groups. Moreover, after controlling for leadership position and years of experience (P>0.05), no significant gender differences were identified between respondent AC behaviors and supervisor gender. It is possible to conclude that both male and female leaders have an equal impact on the AC at IAU. The study also revealed a positive significant relationship between LC faced by women leaders and their AC practices (r=0.32; p<0.01); hence, women leaders are able to overcome highly rated LC while practicing a high level of AC. Owing to the richness and complexity of AC in the university context, a variety of recommendations are presented. Upper leadership at IAU should encourage AC behaviors in themselves and others by becoming role models for AC, and by developing a system that is able to identify and select naturally creative faculty for different leadership positions, while providing continuous creativity training and development programs. Most importantly, IAU may consider serious concentrated efforts for better representation of qualified and creative women into upper-leadership positions.

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