Rubina Mahsud, Ph.D., M.P.H., MSocSc Bio

Rubina Mahsud, Ph.D., M.P.H., MSocSc

Strategic Advisor on Transnational Education Professor of Strategy and Leadership, Albers School of Business and Economics
Seattle University

Dr. Rubina Mahsud is a business educator, corporate strategist, and a researcher with expertise in business strategy and adaptive leadership.

While working for almost a decade in the field of medicine first as a clinician and subsequently in a management capacity, she realized that many problems were associated with leadership (skills, empathy, humility, and empowerment, or lack thereof), strategy envisioning and implementation, and inadequate realization of the resourcefulness of workers’ human and social capital. This deficiency of intricate knowledge led her to pursue a PhD to understand the role of leadership effectiveness and strategic management practices.

Dr. Mahsud focused her research on identifying the determinants of firms sustained competitive advantage. This quest led her to work on the flexible leadership theory (FLT). FLT integrates literature from leadership, human resources, and strategy domains. In her empirical research of 116 Fortune 500 companies confirmed that a firm’s long-term performance depends on balancing efficiency and innovative adaptation simultaneously. This critical balance between two somewhat opposing determinants can be achieved with quality human and social capital (hiring, training, developing, motivating, and nurturing). The role of leadership then becomes that of an architect to nurture and develop the organization’s human and social capital. Leaders can achieve these goals through their direct and indirect behaviors. Leaders’ direct and observable behaviors are task oriented, relations oriented, change oriented, and externally oriented. Leaders’ indirect behaviors are composed of their decisions and actions to enact programs, systems, and structures in organizations that facilitate the achievement of efficiency and innovative adaptation.

During the 2007 financial crisis, witnessing long-standing corporations stumble in business leadership characters and behaviors, Dr. Mahsud realized that leaders and leadership need to be not only skillful but also ethical and moral. This research focused on the need for and importance of ethical leadership behaviors. While working on this research, it became evident that few available measures of ethical leadership were highly correlated with some behavioral aspects of leadership. With coauthors, she developed a new measure of ethical leadership. In terms of number of reads, downloads, and citation count, this research has created a global appeal.