The Impact of Diversity on Global Leadership Performance

  • Sylvana Storey

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


Purpose: The focus of this research is to understand the impact of diversity on global leadership performance.Design/methodology/approach: From the literature review the researcher developed the components of the LEAD³ tool as well as, devised the questions for the in-depth semi-structured interviews that would test the tool. The questions centred on the three constructs of leadership, diversity and organisational factors and interviews were conducted between 2009 and 2010. The sample consisted of 79 senior leaders from seven companies across seven differing sectors and covered 22 different countries across 5 continents. A case study research strategy using a hybrid of open coding, thematic analysis and content analysis was employed. Findings: A series of themes were found under the three constructs: For Global leadership - competencies, connecting, rigour, stakeholder satisfaction, value based professional, influences. For Diversity - inclusivity, performance measures, role modelling, positioning diversity and innovation. For Organisational factors - organisational way of being, facilitating diversity, behavioural practices, ways of working, issues of concern and driving diversity. Issues emerging from the comparative analysis consist of cultural dimensions, engagement and learning.Research Limitations: Issues on reliability and validation, translation in measurement, environmental inconsistency, interviewer/interviewee bias, and ecological fallacy often levied at qualitative research.Research Contribution and Value: The findings tested against the tool, confirm the robustness and relevancy of the LEAD³ as an operational tool that will enable leaders to focus and integrate their diversity efforts. LEAD³ is encapsulated within an integrated change management framework and proposes a multi-level and multi-dimensional approach to global leadership and diversity that also includes performance drivers, stakeholder groupings, performance outcomes and organisational activities (change interventions). Future Research:Finally, an attempt is made to develop a competency framework for leadership and diversity from data emerging from findings. This is named the Global Leader Index for Diversity (GLIDE) - a framework that recognises the diverse aspects of a global leader's role and identifies associated skills and behaviours that global leaders of the future need to develop.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorBernard Burnes (Supervisor)


  • Global Leadership, Structural Diversity, Cognitive Diversity, Behavioural Diversity, Change Management, Organisational Development

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