Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Craig Shealy

Abstract

Across multiple settings, individuals who assume organizational leadership roles may find themselves grappling with unique opportunities to influence meaningful change. The complexities of such processes become especially apparent in a global context where multiple dynamics must be navigated simultaneously and skillfully. What variables are associated with greater or lesser effectiveness in these global leadership roles? Can such processes be measured in an ecologically valid manner? What might we learn about the cultivation of global leadership by an examination of such interacting intricacies? This dissertation sought to answer these questions by reviewing and applying existing global leadership theories and the Equilintegration (EI) Leadership Model to develop a comprehensive program analysis of an international leadership development program, the Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative Student Leaders’ Program. The MEPI program is a United States State Department initiative which brings very bright and talented young people from across the Middle East to the United States each summer for a six week leadership immersion program hosted by Georgetown University and five other university partners. The Beliefs, Events, and Values Inventory (BEVI) was used to assess Time 1 / Time 2 change processes by examining participant experiences before and after completion of the MEPI program. Leadership rating and ranking forms were also developed based on the EI Leadership Model and implemented by program administrators. Program analysis results suggest that this intervention is associated with optimal changes for a substantive majority of MEPI participants. More specifically, a number of BEVI indices suggest that the MEPI program is achieving its mission and goals for a considerable majority of participants (e.g., they became more open and aware regarding the nature of self, others, and the larger world, and less likely to see the world in “black and white terms”). However, the BEVI also yielded rich data indicating that not all participants changed in these optimal ways. Namely, individuals who entered the program with a “self structure” that was less congruent with program expectations and opportunities (e.g., in terms of how emotions are accessed or attributions made) tended to become overwhelmed from the standpoint of the BEVI and its EI theoretical framework, with a corresponding attenuation of openness to and interest in engaging with self, others, and the larger world vis-à-vis the mission and goals of the MEPI program (i.e., for this “low optimal” subgroup, the MEPI program is associated with outcomes that appear to be the opposite of what is intended by participation). Among related findings of note, higher educated students showed less optimal change than their less educated counterparts, which suggests that “education” in the Middle East may not prepare a subset of students for the intensity of the MEPI program. Moreover, data suggest that female participants tended to become more overwhelmed by the MEPI experience although they demonstrated equally optimal changes as males, which suggests that the experience of being female in the Middle East may add an additional layer of complexity to the process of identity development when faced with a “high impact learning” experience, which the MEPI program certainly is. Among other findings and recommendations, the following analysis considers why some participants responded more optimally than others and offers suggestions for program improvement over time, including deeper engagement with candidate selection and pre-program orientation processes, greater attention to the nature and form of transformative and high impact learning experiences like MEPI, the relevance of a liberal education background versus the more professional / skill based education of many MEPI participants, and the key and interacting role of moderating variables such as gender.

Available for download on Thursday, August 22, 2019

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