The Impact of Religion and Culture on Leadership Styles of Women Policy-Makers in the Education Industry
This qualitative study is purposive in sampling and explored a small number of women leaders in the education industry who are policymakers of Malay Muslim origin of their experiences in leadership positions. Policymaking here involved policies at the micro-level, which related more to their institutions and organizations. The researcher examined the women's leadership styles and the factors that influenced how they lead explicitly. Likewise, the researcher focused on how gender, culture, and religion may relate to women's experiences. Basic interpretive and descriptive qualitative research methods were employed. Data were collected through in-depth individual interviews. Participants interviewed included nine women leaders in the public and private sector who were either teachers/lecturers or administrators in the education industry. These women held positions within the top echelon of their organization or institution. The finding of this research indicated that gender, religion, and culture play an important role in women leadership experiences, therefore, themes emerged around influences on the women's approaches to leadership, with particular emphasis on the role of the larger environment in impacting women's leadership behaviours. To further focus on the impact of culture and religion on women's leadership styles, the researcher conducted a focused discussion group on the second group of Malay Muslim women leaders. This group of women leaders compromised mainly of women leaders who are department and section heads but still involved in policymaking decision albeit within their department or sections. This study can provide insight into the landscape of women‘s leadership roles and how to support these leaders.
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