Given that school leadership styles are linked to educational outcomes, this study attempted to identify perceived leadership styles of school leaders in two types of schools in the United Arab Emirates (UAE): (a) international special education schools, which serve exclusively students with disabilities and (b) international general education schools, which serve primarily typically developing students. By utilizing primarily quantitative methods with supplementary qualitative analysis, this study also explored the influence of teacher demographic variables on perceptions of leadership styles. Results indicated a difference in perceptions of transformational and transactional leadership by school type based on teacher education level, as well as a difference in perceptions of passive-avoidant leadership by school type based on total years of experience with the school leader. Results also indicated a difference in leadership perceptions based on teacher nationality (consistent with the notions of collectivist and individualist cultures), total years of experience, and total years of experience in the current position. This study contributes to the knowledge base regarding the influence of teacher demographic variables on leadership perceptions while providing practical recommendations for school leaders and researchers, including professional development, school policy development, and conceptualizing culture as an expanded demographic variable of interest.


international schools, special education schools, educational leadership, transformational leadership, Middle East, United Arab Emirates

ORCID Identifiers

Kaitlin M. Jackson: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2882-9991



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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