K. Kathleen O'Neill, Ph.D. is a 2011 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee

  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Philomena Essed, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Ingrid Piller, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Mark Neal, Ph.D., External Reader


Qualitative, Managers, Leaders, Females, Women, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Workplace, Leadership, Management Communication, Organizational Behavior, Khaleeji Leadership

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Publication Date



The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify the communication channels six Emirati females concurrently employed in organizations in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in which they had supervisory responsibilities; formal, legitimate authority; and positional leadership roles recalled using with their direct reports to enact leadership. In particular, the study attempted to ascertain the reasons for the selection of communication channels when engaged in downward communication with organizational subordinates. Data were collected via three interviews with each participant over a four week period. Interviews were conducted both face-to-face and via telephone. Data were analyzed via thematic content analysis to identify themes, patterns, and/or trends in communication channels selected and the reasons for selection of these channels when engaged in downward communication with direct reports. Findings indicated the participants’ preferred channel of communication when engaged in downward communication with their direct reports was face-to-face. Frequently face-to-face communication was reinforced via written follow-up. Encoding negative messages via written channels was found to be vigorously avoided except in the most extreme cases. Cultural factors were indicated to be influential in the participants’ selection of communication channel. The findings of this study have workplace preparation and training applications for private sector organizations, government, and state-owned enterprises in Abu Dhabi—in particular, those organizations in which expatriates have supervisory responsibilities; formal, legitimate authority; and positional leadership responsibilities in relation to Emirati direct reports. The electronic version of this dissertation is accessible at the OhioLINK ETD Center,