Leadership is critical for ensuring good governance either in private or in the government sector. In the present circumstances, the government organizations are over managed; nevertheless, they are poorly led. In today’s ever-changing world, leadership issues are getting more and more prominence in managing government departments and organizations. Enhancing the performance of the government organizations is necessary to meet the interests and expectations of the people. Effective leadership can help government organizations to implement the schemes and transform policies into practice efficiently and swiftly. In order to enhance the effectiveness of its departments, it is necessary for government to undertake several structural reforms. In the absence of an effective leadership, these reforms cannot be materialized to reap the benefits of the reforms by taking them to the people.
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The public sector is under constant pressure to improve its service delivery and cooperate with the citizens more effectively. As a result the demand for leaders and leadership to carry out the public demands regarding improvement of service delivery and to ensure the fundamental process of change has increased. In case, the leadership within the public sector needs to be improved, it is essential that the operating environment promotes good leadership. It is observed that the structures and cultures of the public sector have placed a constraint on the leaders and the development of true leadership. Although some of the features of the public sector environment need to be modified to pave way for leadership development most of them cannot be changed to provide effective service to the citizens. In order to be effective the leaders in the government organizations must be provided with sufficient freedom to lead and they need to be supported and challenged by others working within the government agencies and departments and outside beyond their own organizations. In essence the availability of effective leaders need to be improved within the government sector as well as from outside. In this context, this qualitative study analyses the need for leadership development in government sector with specific reference to leadership development in the context of United Arab Emirates.
Leadership in Government Sector – an Overview
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) explain governance as the process in which the underlying values of a nation are institutionalized. This process usually takes the route of being incorporated in the constitution of the respective nation. The process of governance includes many formal elements such as “separate powers, checks and balances, transparency, accountability and responsiveness.” However, the citizens of the nation can realize these values in actual practice only when the actions of the public officials are guided throughout the system by the values. It is necessary that the values become a part of the culture. The process of governance therefore requires the able support of leadership, which is considered as the flesh on the bones of the constitution. Needing the good and effective leadership at the heart of good governance, the government sector cannot enhance the managerial capacity of the public sector leaders without that. Of late, it has been realized that it is the quality of leadership that determine the growth and progress of any public sector entity more than any other factor.
According to perceptions of large number of the practitioners and leadership theorists, a consistent definition of leadership is not available. The different definitions available laydown various criteria for inclusion or exclusion in to the definition of the leadership (e.g. Avolio, 2007; Bass, 1997; and Chemera, 1997). Although leadership has certain common characteristics across all sectors, it must be adapted to be effective in the public sector. The public sector is highly diverse in nature and the governance and size of different agencies and organizations within public sector vary largely. The boundaries of government sector have undergone tremendous changes in the recent years and change is a constant factor that demands the extension of public service beyond the public sector. Nevertheless, there are certain characteristics of public sector that distinguishes it from private sector.
They are “the political context, funding arrangements and accountabilities, the lack of market competition, the pressure to collaborate horizontally and the distinctive ethos of public service.” It is essential that a vision for effective leadership must reflect all the above features. In addition to that, the leadership in public sector must recognize the personal characteristics that are based mainly on charisma; but the leadership must also reflect the ability of the leaders to motivate and bring the best out of government servants. The leadership in government sector must also recognize the organizational skills required to meet the complexity of modern organizations and focus on defining and communicating mission and strategy. It should not just confine to issuing commands to people at lower level. Further, the leadership within the government sectors needs the ability to work in cooperation with other organizations so that common goals can be set and achieved.
Leadership in government sector helps bringing changes within the agencies and departments by opening channels of communication with the public and other stakeholders. Leadership makes it possible to achieve integration among different departments and different levels within the government hierarchy. With an effective leadership it becomes possible to make effective use of technological advances for improving performance of the public sector. Leadership facilitates the modification of organizational processes to promote newer ways of delivering service to the citizens. By developing individual, team and organizational capabilities to take on different challenges, leadership brings public and private actors to achieve developmental goals swiftly and in a sustained manner. In essence, leadership is a critical element in the process of offering good governance in any nation.
Leadership Development in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The goal of this study is to provide a broad assessment of leadership development programs in the public sector of United Arab Emirates. Deciding what can be considered as leadership within the context of the UAE is a real challenge. In terms of the UAE and of considered in the contexts of the whole Arab World, a large chunk of the practitioners use the concept of “leadership development.” However the more appropriate term to describe and solve the issue would be “leader development.” The so called leadership development programs within the UAE aim at excelling the skills, abilities, knowledge and talents of the individuals as these qualities relate to formal leadership roles. The difference between leadership and leader can be compared with the difference between social capital and human capital and their development contexts (Day, 2000).
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In other words leader development focuses on the development of “intrapersonal” competence and effectiveness by improving the self-awareness, self-regulation and self-motivation of the individuals aspiring to become leaders. Leadership development is more concerned with the development of “interpersonal” competence and effectiveness. This is accomplished by improving networked relationships, commitments, trust and respect (Gardner, 1993). Thus the majority of the programs currently taking place within the UAE is about leader development. The purpose of the current study is to explore the possibility of leadership development in the government sector in the UAE so that there could be marked improvements in the service delivery to the citizens. Identifying and suggesting effective leadership development programs that would suit the managers and leaders of government organizations and departments in the UAE are within the purview of this study. The challenges facing leadership development are also covered.
Aims and Objectives
An exploration of the leadership development in the government sector in general is the chief aim of this paper. Within this broad framework, the study seeks to accomplish the following objectives.
- To study the nature and scope of leadership development within the context of the government sector of the United Arab Emirates
- To study the main challenges faced by the leadership development programs within the UAE government sector
- To suggest some key recommendations for advancing effective leadership development in the UAE government sector.
The aims and objectives described above when met will provide answers to the following research questions.
- What is the scope and nature of leadership development in government sector in general?
- What counts as the leadership development regarding government sector of the UAE?
- What are the challenges faced by leadership development programs in the UAE government sector?
- What are the best possible leadership development programs that could be practiced in the UAE government sector to improve the effectiveness of the public sector?
Structure of the Dissertation
This dissertation is organized to have four chapters following this introductory chapter. Chapter Two presents a review of the relevant literature to add to the existing knowledge. Chapter Three describes the research methodology. Chapter Four presents the findings of the interviews followed by an analysis. Chapter Five contains discussion/analysis, conclusion with recommendations and implications for different stakeholders.
The organizational functioning that indicates or decides the leadership development depends on the cultural attribute. In today’s culturally interconnected societies and globalized world economy, organizations are no longer evolving within the confines of a particular national setting.1 To operate in global context, the public sector also should develop leadership styles and in this context the UAE or the middle east countries’ context is as follows.
On the contrary, Wilkings (2001) asserts that the Arab culture positively encourages training and development. According to Nixon (2005), it is public companies in Arab countries that demonstrate least interest in organizational training. A concrete example from the Arab world shows that training in Kuwait is essentially perceived as a reward by upper level management (Hassi 2011, 52).
This is due to the national culture that influences the behaviors of the managers in public sector as well as private. As the context is about public sector, different departments in government show less interest when compared to private companies have employees sent on training due to social relations established through friendships, family affiliations, external social pressure and the sort.2 In this regard A Hassi (2011, 53) quotes the work of Wilkins (2001) regarding the access to training in United Arab Emirates (UAE). He further states that the training will be achieved there by means of family ties and communal relations. As the training will not be imparted due to merit relate issues or due to professional experience. Even the qualifications don’t matter in Middle East and UAE. Hence, the leader or leadership development in UAE’s public sector could be a topic of study in the era of globalization.
Leadership and Organizational Performance
The concept of leaders is often subjected to several debates. School of thoughts on leadership have emerged to further specify definition on leadership. Several theorists (Dulewicz and Higgs, 2004; Tichy and Devanna) consider leadership in the forms of Transactional, Transformational, and Laissez faire. Leadership is critical ingredient that drives to success or failure. Hence the importance being provided to this concept is highly evident.
Transactional leadership works on the motive that the employees’ motivation could be achieved by rewards as well as punishments (Jeffrey, 2002). This idea is true in most organisations since employees are being adherent to regulations are productive because of the impending rewards. Bass and Avolio (1994) stated that transformational leaders have moral values that include honesty, responsibility, fairness, and honouring commitments. These leaders have to be transparent in decision-making and responsible in the outcomes of the decisions. These leaders are more inclined to set goals and attempts to emphasise of efforts before rewards are accorded.
Business leaders have to be true to their words and value the contribution of the employees. The idea of the leadership promotes the provision of something in exchange of another (Bass, 1985). In the business sense, this theory has been evidently used. Most company personnel are provided by tasks as their primary responsibility. In return, the firm gives to the employees a reasonable amount of remuneration. Logically, transactional leaders have an eye for getting something out of anything. This theory maintains the effectiveness of mutual relationships within firm.
The theory of transformational leadership is considered as a dominant theory practised by leaders. The theory assumes that the employees will follow leaders who inspire (Lipley, 2004). This theory has prompted organisations to create mission and vision. Also, making the theory promotes the incorporation of enthusiasm and energy in performing responsibilities. Bass (1990) explains that transformational leaders undergo several stages of development. The first stage is the development of a vision that serves as guide for future endeavours. The second step is to persuade individuals to follow the vision.
Among the phases, this stage is continually manifested. The third stage is for the leaders to formulate routes towards the goals. This is critical because the decision can either result to success or failure. The final stage is for the leaders to remain at the forefront of the charge. This will continue the followers to be motivated. Transformational leaders are known to be sensitive to the needs of their members. In particular, these leaders are aware of change phases being undergone by entities of organisations. Such recognition is critical in building a strong bond within groups and teams.
The Laissez faire leadership is characterised as passive and reactive. O’Reagan et al, (2005) noticed that these leaders avoid facing problems until worse effects are experienced. Although these leaders are mainly timid about issues, their manner of addressing problems is considered as meticulous. These are the leaders that rarely panic and value pressure packed situations. Despite the insufficient aggression, some of these leaders have managed to establish strong organisations.
After five decades of collecting data on the topic of leadership development, the opinion of psychologists is that it is not possible to learn the qualities regarding leadership. Their opinion is that they are inborn and genetic in nature (Avolio, 1999). Some researchers have found that fundamentally personality and character one possesses may have a great influence upon him in developing a good leadership. Their personality and character have given them confidence needed to lead the followers and get from them what was expected. It may imply that the leaders are born great and they are able to take up leadership positions in any situations regardless of social or historical context.
In a 2003 survey of more than 750 IT executives, 81% believed that that leadership can be taught (CIO Insight, 2003). The survey also revealed that a high value is placed on leadership-development training programs. A strong majority of the survey respondents, in addition to believing that elements of leadership can be taught, have participated in leadership-development programs at some point in their career. People think highly of leadership programs, even more of them participate in less-formal methods to sharpen their leadership skills. Indeed, the numbers provide glaring evidence that leadership is learned.
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Avolio (1999) offered over a decade of research performance that leadership talents can be developed.
‘In their interviews with senior VPs in high-tech firms and the military leaders, they found that both leaders were highly influenced by their very involved parents who set challenging goals, translated failure into “how to succeed next time” and lived by high standards of moral conduct. These helped the future leaders to appreciate diverse views. In addition, in a series of five studies, leaders of different ages and levels of experience from around the world participated in workshops with other members of their organisations’ (Avolio, 1999).
For a leader to become successful, leadership development programs must be designed to ‘develop and refine certain of the teachable skills, improve the conceptual abilities of managers, tap individuals’ personal needs, interests, and self-esteem, and help managers see and move beyond their interpersonal blocks’ (Maltby, 2006).
The leadership preparation programs now accessible all through the world can be divided into to have similar issues of prominence. Each of the most important companies offering leadership improvement seems to call attention to one of the following factors over the others: leadership skills improvement, theoretically accepted wisdom, personal development incidents, or response. These training mechanisms are designed to further explain the contention that leadership is learned.
Aside from the learning experience, other aspects contribute to the claim that leadership is more than genetics. It takes more than just inherent attributes to lead a successful organisation. Acquiring leadership requires constant learning and development. Although some leaders have become overnight sensations, most were successful because of valuable experiences.
In the context of studying the impact of leadership styles on BPR, it becomes important to understand the effect of leadership on the overall organizational performance, because leadership is viewed as one of the key driving forces in bringing improvement to the firm’s performance (Zhu et al., 2005). Rowe (2001) and Avolio (1999) consider leadership as a potent source of management development and sustained competitive advantage for improvement in firm performance. According to Mehra et al. (2006), focusing on the effects of leadership has been recognized as a long-standing approach to outperform the competitors. This is because of the fact that team leaders could play a pivotal role in “shaping collective norms, helping teams cope with their environments, and coordinating collective action.” Based on this leader-centered perspective several studies have been conducted providing valuable insights into the relationship between leadership and team performance (Guzzo & Dickson, 1996). A number of studies have focused on exploring the strategic role of leadership in order to investigate the ways of employing leadership paradigms and using leadership behavior to effect significant improvement in organizational performance (e.g. Judge et al., 2002; Judge and Piccolo, 2004; Keller, 2006; MacGrath & MacMillan, 2000; Meyer & Heppard, 2000; Purcell et al., 2004; Yukl, 2002).
One of the important reasons for such an extended research in the area is because intangible assets such as leadership styles, organizational culture, and skill and competence levels of organizational members are seen key sources of strengths in those firms, which combine people and processes for an effective improvement in organizational performance (Purcell et al., 2004). It is evident from a discussion that previous researches have led to the expectation that leadership paradigms, when applied appropriately will have the effect of positively influencing customer satisfaction, staff satisfaction, and financial performance. Since these are the main objectives of any BPR application, it can be concluded that leadership styles have a positive impact on the BPR, which can be understood from the resulting improvement in the organizational performance.
Categories of Leadership Styles
Past research has developed several categories of leadership styles, each having its own salience and characteristic features. This section discusses some of the leadership styles, as understanding the different leadership styles will enable understanding the association between leadership style and BPR success.
This is the oldest form of leadership, still used in contemporary organizations (Avery, 2004). This leadership presupposes the dominance by a pre-eminent person or an ‘elite’ group of people in leading the subordinates. This leadership style may have a coercive approach or benevolent approach or a combination of both the approaches. There are certain limitations attached to this type of leadership. First is the inability of the leader to command and control every action of the followers, especially when the situations become complex in nature and beyond the capacity of the leader. The second limitation is that this type of leadership often depends on the ideas of an ‘elite’ few implying that only a few people among the group have the capabilities to exercise initiative. This makes the followers to deskill themselves and idealize the leader without any original thinking on their part. This results in the followers leaving the leader accountable to the organizational performance, making little contribution to the organizational success (Avery, 2004).
Transactional leadership follows a transaction or exchange-based approach in leading the followers (Evans & Dermer, 1974; House & Mitchell, 1974). A transactional leader achieves his objectives by understanding the needs and desires of the subordinates and explaining them how their needs and preferences can be fulfilled in exchange for their contribution to the organizational success. The transactional leader clarifies what is expected of the subordinates and the consequences of their approach, attitude and behavior towards those expectations. By instilling confidence in subordinates, the transactional leader is able to exert the necessary efforts in the subordinates and achieve the desired levels of performance.
Judge and Piccolo (2004) identify contingent reward, management by exception-active, and management by exception-passive as the three dimensions of transactional leadership. “The difference between management by exception-active and management by exception-passive lies in the timing of the leader’s intervention. Active leaders monitor follower behavior, anticipate problems, and take corrective actions before the behavior creates serious difficulties. Passive leaders wait until the behavior has created problems before taking action,” (Howell & Avolio, 1993; Judge & Piccolo, 2004). According to Avery (2004) in the transactional leadership, although the ultimate decision-making remains with the leader, the leader engages in different levels of consultation with the subordinates.
Visionary or transformational, or charismatic leadership has been the subject of study during the last thirty years (Bass, 1985, 1998; Burns, 1978; Conger & Kanungo, 1987; House, 1977). Having added a new dimension to the leadership studies in the organizational context, visionary leadership ensembles the emotional involvement of employees within the firm. The basic conceptualization in visionary leadership is based on the perceived competence and ability of the leader and his/her vision to achieve success. Subordinates are hired based on their ability to share the vision of the leader and are expected to exhibit high level of enthusiasm and commitment to the visionary leadership objectives. Avery (2004) finds certain limitations with visionary leadership. According to Nadler & Tuschman, (1990), the unrealistic expectations of the followers to result from the decisions and actions of the visionary leader may lead to disappointment among the followers, if things do not move in the desired direction. This style makes the subordinates depend entirely on the leader, as they believe that the leader has control over all the issues. This leadership styles curtails the initiatives for innovations, as the followers are reluctant to contradict the leader’s views.
The concept of organic leadership is relatively new in the field of organizational studies. Introduced by Drath, (2001) and developed further by Avery (2004), this leadership styles blurs the relationship between the leader and the followers. “This paradigm relies on reciprocal actions, where team members work together in whatever roles of authority and power they may have, not based on position power,” (Hirschhom, 1997; Raelin, 2003; Rothschild & Whitt, 1986). Organizations following this leadership style have many leaders in the place of one leader. Presence of multiple leaders enables organizations to cope with heterogeneous and dynamic environments with the help of the extended knowledge and capabilities of different leaders. In the absence of a formal leader, the interactions of all organizational members with shared vision, values and supporting culture represent a form of leadership and this situation gives rise to emergence of leadership rather than people hired to hold leadership positions.
Kanter, (1989) identifies one downside of organic leadership in that the autonomy, freedom, discretion and authorization enjoyed by the employees might lead to lack of control and as a result increase uncertainty, which will hamper the growth of the organization. However, Meindl, (1998) argues that organic leadership is about creating a form of self-control and self-organization. It is important to understand that organic leadership is expected to generate a clear sense of purpose and autonomy among the employees within a given context. Avery, (2004) points out that the idea of organic leadership depends on the support of self-leading organizational members.
Leadership Development in Government Sector
Literature consists of a debate as to whether business practices can or should be applied to the working of the government departments and agencies. The review done has show the way to the belief that the theories of organizational function and leadership need to be modified in a suitable manner to meet the requirements of the government. Dissimilarity between government organizations and private firms do happen on purpose, structure and performance. Simultaneously, there are commonalities also. They are in the areas of (a) attainment of resources, (b) achievement of chosen goals, (c) valuable and competent efforts from employees and (d) acting up to the customer satisfaction. It is necessary that these needs are satisfied for the government organizations to serve the public – the customers effectively. Only when these needs are met with effectiveness, the leadership of any government department will be considered efficient and the entity remains sustainable.
Five elements have been found to emerge from the literature that are essential to maintain the effectiveness of government organizations. They are (a) organizational vitality, (b) employee work passion, (c) customer devotion, (d) strategic leadership and (e) operational leadership.
Only very few individuals have expertise both in leadership of complex organizations and in the complexities of government sector. This always creates a difficult choice for the government machinery in any nation. The dilemma is whether the government should appoint persons having leadership skills or persons who would fit into the government departments because of their experience. Leadership development programs need an evidence base that determines the type of leadership which would be appropriate to the situation in question. The leadership review literature would be able to throw light; however majority of the available literature has been criticized as being limited and inadequate (Alimo-Metcalfe and Alban-Metcalfe, 2006; Leskiw and Singh, 2007). The mainstream leadership research has focused on issues like traits of leaders, leadership styles (as enumerated earlier), relations between leaders and the followers and the contingent influences on leadership (Bass, 1981; Lewin et al., 1939; McGregor, 1960; Blake and Mouton, 1964). Lindell & Rosenqvist (1992) found all the leadership research could be classified into four approaches – (a) the trait, (b) the behavior, (c) the situation and (d) the power influence.
There may be gap between action and thinking if vitality is absent in an organization. In this regard K Isomura (2010, 217) states that this is the reason for the conflicts of the people with what they do. As the public sector in Middle East and UAE do not have the vitality required for quick action, there may be some discrepancies in the implementation of policies and there is a chance of important factors neglected.
The important factors are as follows.
- Much that we perceive or are conscious of is either impossible or impracticable to put into words;
- Feeling a great deal more of things and events than we are aware of; and
- Most of the components of a thing or occurrence are beyond either our understanding or any important degree of feeling. (Isomura 2010, 217).
The last point of the above quotations can be found necessary in the context of implementation of schemes and policies of government departments to benefit people. In the absence of understanding the needs of the people, who are being benefited by the policies and schemes of the government may not be fulfilled. Hence, it is important not to neglect the fact of vitality in organization, which can be achieved by human relations. These human relations are necessary between employees in the organization ( in this context a department or a company in public sector; hereby organization in this paper means the same) and between employees and the beneficiaries of the schemes and policies. By implementing the policies regarding the development of human relations as mentioned just-above; vitality, decisiveness, persuasiveness, responsibility and intellectual capacity can be achieved within the organization. When human relations achieve vitality and endurance they promote the constant acquirement of valuable experience and knowledge.3
Regarding the vitality acquisition for an organization, the necessity of change comes to the fore. One thing that the employees in a government department oppose is the change. However, in this regard it is important to recall the Ovid’s quote cited by JA Wolf (2011, 368). ‘There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent’. 4 Hence to sustain the performance or enhance it, it is necessary to acquire perpetual movement and dynamic balance in the organization. To do so, the organizational members; in this context the employees in a government department have to move ‘beyond the experience of paradox as an impediment to progress’. 5 In other words it can be understood that the sustained high performance also is not permanent, thus it prompts the organization to put higher goals for its performance in the course of time and this is not only necessary for private organizations, but also a need for government sector. However, it is necessary to inculcate agility, consistency, collectiveness as well as informative inquiry in the departments so that the implementation of policies will be more accurate.
Consequently it can be understood that the organizational change is necessary for government departments also. Those who dwell on the planning in the government departments may give more importance to planning, but mere planning without vitality and sustained performance may result in failure. WA Pasmore (2011, 259) cites Beer Eisenstat and Spector (1990), Kotter (1995) and Burke (1995) about the alarming rate of failures in planned change efforts. Hence the government sector in UAE needs a change that tip the balance in the organization towards success. To do so, it is necessary for the leaders in the government to question themselves and have to inculcate the same in the employees. This can be done by introduction of tolls of self examination. If the self examination can be made hallmark of a department in the government, it should accompany with data-feedback interventions also. When these to are combined, the policy of implementing the schemes can be a powerful tool and it is necessary for the departments of governments in a country like UAE, which deals with entrepreneurs from Western countries. To use that tool successfully and efficiently,
A four phase model of a consulting engagement is offered as a vehicle for examining factors that threaten intervention success and then to generate suggestions for tipping the balance in favor of more positive outcomes. …. It stands to reason that neither change agents nor their clients would knowingly embark on change efforts that are more likely to fail than succeed, yet this is apparently exactly what is happening more often than not (WA Pasmore 2011, 260).
The vitality and enhanced organizational behavior is possible with employee passion and that depends on the extent the leader inspires his/her followers. ‘Without followers leaders quickly fade away, however exciting their vision’ (FA Muna 2010, 1). In the context of government sector of UAE, it is important to take the above concept and that leads to the necessity of arising work passion in the employees. This concept stems from the aspect that the leadership does not exist in a vacuum and employee passion can fill that if exists any. Hence, a leader shall arose passion in the employees and thus use their work and vitality to fill the vacuum that hampers the work processes in the government departments. This aspect needs emphasis as sometimes the passion may be absent in government departments in United Arab Emirates as the majority of recruiting and training processes are based on social and personal relations but only a few contexts use merit based contexts for recruitment and training in the departments or the teams that are used by departments to implement the schemes.6
In the context of government sector, the customers are tax payers as well as beneficiaries of the schemes of the government. Hence, the aspect of customer devotion needs to be understood from two perspectives. One from the view of getting revenue and other view is spending it on the schemes of the government. In this regard, time-value is important and AC Ott (2011, 24) states that the attention of the taxpayers and the beneficiaries is important and time-building exercise is necessary instead of brand building used in private sector. In this regard, Ott quotes the attempts of traditional marketers who try to grab the attention of the fans and customers. In this regard, it is necessary for the government employees or the leaders in the departments to grab the attention of the taxpayers as well as the beneficiaries of the schemes. The leaders would grab their attention in a positive manner, if they are convinced about the optimal use of the paid tax as well as the benefits they accrue in return in the future. The beneficiaries also need to be convinced about the ways and means of the schemes that can make them independent so that they may not depend on them in the future. The leaders in the government sector can achieve this if they frame policies and schemes in the above proposed line of thinking.7
If the leaders think about vitality and customer devotion, their line of thinking may automatically lead towards strategic leadership that needs knowledge community within the organization. In the context of government departments or sector in UAE or Middle East, they have to transform into knowledge communities that benefit the people or citizens. In this regard Jamal A Nazari., Irene M. Herremans and Robert G. Issaac., Armond Manassian. Theresa J.B.Kline (2011, 225) cite the ‘dismal picture of the UAE and middle East’s negative cultural, intellectual, and economic consequences arising from a self-imposed technological dependency on the West’ (Jamal A Nazari et al 2011, 225).
Hence, it is necessary to adopt a code of ethics to convert the government sector into a knowledge society or the departments into knowledge communities. In this regard of converting them in that manner, Jamal A Nazari et al further quotes Arab Knowledge Report by UNDP in 2009, which suggested that adopting a new code of ethics is necessary. The report further stated that the ethics shall be listed with the principles of ‘openness to, and inter-communication with, humanity at large’ (Jamal A Nazari et al 2011, 225). The absence of strategic leadership in government sector is due to the low expenditure on R&D as it is only 0.2 percent of GNP in the Middle East region. This can be termed as one of the lowest percentages of expenditure on R&D in the Word. This results in low quality research output and absence of enough knowledge that can lead to strategic leadership in government sector or departments.8
After vitality, customer devotion, employee passion, and strategic leadership, the operational leadership also is a necessity to enhance the performance of government sector. As the activities and goals of government sector are different from private sector, the operational leadership can take a cue from the corporate social responsibility issues of private sector. In this regard, Toufic Mezher., Samer Tabbara & Nawal Al-Hosany (2010, 745) cites concept of development and principles of ‘European Union, which has been engaged in developing a framework for corporate social responsibility’ (Toufic Mezher et al, 2010, 745). According to those principles, socially responsible means going beyond compliance and investing more into human capital. In this context, human capital is the employee base as well as taxpayers and beneficiaries of government schemes.
As the government employees mostly try to just to fulfill their legal responsibilities, the leaders should inspire them to move and act beyond that. To do so, it is necessary to invest on human capital, environment and relations with stakeholders (taxpayers and beneficiaries in this context). These activities are possible when the leaders put forth the activities regarding awareness rising in the people and practice exchange in the employees. The European Union has taken steps that increase support to multi-stakeholder initiatives and they are useful in the context of government sector of UAE. This is because, these principles have been evolved over time as the first debate has been started in 1932 by professor Dodd. In this regard, Toufic Mezher et al, 2011, 745) mentions Professor Dodd’s view that the ‘corporate managers have responsibilities to the public as a whole and not just to stakeholders’ (Toufic Mezher et al 2011, 745). When this statement is applied to government sector in UAE, the leaders have to encourage and inspire employees to increase awareness among the people so that the socially responsible investing of the government can be utilized in a proper manner.9
Factors Affecting Choice of Leadership Style
After reviewing the theories and sub-theories of the leadership, the style comes to the fore. The factors affecting the leadership style play a significant role as at times it is necessary to remove them. If the affect is positive, the leadership development may occur, but the negative effect should prompt the organization to get rid of those factors. These factors are almost same for private and government sector as they affect the behavior of the employees and leaders regarding work. In this regard Zahi Yaseen (2010, 65) mentions about Johansen-schmidt (2001) words that differentiate between agentic and communal attributes. Regarding government sector agentic attributes may affect the leadership style as the department act as agencies between government and people. Another reason that the leaders in government sector focus on ‘tasks and problems, assertive speech, influence attempts, and calling attention to oneself’ (Zahi Yaseen 2010, 65) may affect the leadership style negatively when the issue of relation with the stakeholders or the people comes to the fore.
However, the communal attributes such as ‘focus on relationship and interpersonal problems, tentative speech, supporting others may result in more concern about the people who are beneficiaries of the policies and schemes of the government. That means interpersonal oriental style can affect the leadership style and is capable of making it more transformative than transactional. Moreover, the stereotypical behavior that is a result of lethargy in the organization. At times, the government sector or the related departments may express such lethargy and may show transactional leadership styles even the situation demands transformational leadership styles. As a result, it may lead to arguments in the functional activities of the departments and when the leader premises that ‘team members agree to obey their leader completely when they take a job based on a ‘transaction’ or where the organization pays the team members, in return for their effort and compliance’ (Zahi Yaseen 2010, 67). Hence, in this context, the concept of punishment may arise and that may not benefit the people who are the suffers of the wrong doings happened. Hence, instead of punishing the employees or team members who err, it is necessary to adapt transformation leadership with interpersonal communications to avoid errors.10
Relationship between Leadership and the Team Performance
When the lethargy in the organization or the department can be removed by transformational leadership, the team performance comes to the fore as no individual can claim name for the achievement. Even in this context, the potential enemies may exist and the leaders may have to resort for pre-emptive strikes. However, it is difficult to avoid in private organizations as they face competition and the employees also compete with each other. Though the same competition may exist in government sector also in the employees, the chances of neutralizing the competition are more than the private sector as seniority will be a criterion for climbing up the ladder of hierarchy. However, when this concept of seniority could be mixed with the merit and leadership qualities, by established tests and procedures, the potential enemies for leaders and pre-emptive strikes may be avoided.
The avoidance may occur due to the strict adherence to the rules while choosing a leader and the rules should be framed in accordance to encourage transformational leadership. In this regard L Bourne (2011, 1002) mentions about the active support of stakeholders to the senior leadership. That means it is important to consider the support of the beneficiaries or the stakeholders alongside seniority to choose leaders from the employees to head different departments in the government. Successful leaders and managers understand the importance of support of stakeholders, but implementing this aspect is easier in private organizations when compared to government sector. Hence, in order to relate leadership with team performance, the consideration of support of stakeholders is necessary. 11
Introduction to Leadership Development
The leadership development in public sector needs reform as public sector is an entity ‘that is entrusted with the delivery of goods and services by, and, for the government at the national, regional or local levels’ (Shahjahan H. Bhuiyan & Francis Amagoh 2011, 227) and in this regard, Shahjahan H. Bhuiyan & Francis Amagoh identifies that ways and means are necessary to set politico administrative settings that ensure clear implementation of policies. The leadership development should be transformational in nature with transactional qualities regarding pay and other facilities as government departments have to ‘deliver for citizens by the degree of democratic control exercised over those policy choices, or any number of other political and administrative variables’ (Shahjahan H. Bhuiyan & Francis Amagoh 2011, 227). Hence, unless the development transformational leadership has not been ensured, the public sector in UAE has been largely questioned and thus reforms are happening all over the world and in the Middle East as well as in UAE.
The reform or leadership development in public sector fundamentally depends on the maintenance of effective governmental structure. This structure is responsible to frame the policies, plan the schemes and implement them. As these schemes benefit people and in many departments, there will be expenditure and no revenues. In other departments, there would be revenues but no reasonable expenditure, except for establishment expenses. Hence, the leadership development can be concentrated on a mix of transactional and transformational. The transactional aspect needs to be limited to the salaries and perks of the employees and the working as well as the implementation alongside framing of policies and making of schemes need the transformational leadership touch. In addition to these aspects, Shahjahan H. Bhuiyan & Francis Amagoh (2011, 228) indicates the necessity of political and legal reforms in pursuit of economic well being of government despite spending for the beneficiaries through different schemes. Hence, the leaders as well as employees in government sector and public sector companies should work for more income by increasing business as well as implementation of schemes that decrease dependency of the people on the government. These efforts are only possible by restructuring the government departments in such a way that enables the development of transformational leadership and teamwork.12
Leadership Development Programs
As transactional leadership already exists in government sector, the leadership development programs should be framed for inclusion of transformational aspects into the departments. According to Ingo Forstenlechner (2011, 135) this can be made possible by ‘localization programs designed to foster participation of citizens in the workforce have been in place for many years’ (Ingo Forstenlechner 2011, 135). Along with localization, it is necessary to recruit foreign workers that ensures reasonable diversity that enables the onset of change in organizational behavior.
However, the localization shall be made possible when they are given support to build their skills and enhance their chances to get opportunities in government sector, which requires to work and act at par with the global players. As the government sector should also deal with the private organizations and multinational companies working in UAE, it is necessary for the leaders in the government sector to take decisions on the ‘basis of a clear business rationale’ (Ingo Forstenlechner 2011, 136). This type decision making has been done by expatriates only and not by the leaders in the government and this might result in a situation that helps the flourishing of private sector at the cost of government departments and structure. Hence, it is necessary to put forward a ‘set of recommendations to adapt key HR processes, from recruitment and selection, education and training, career management to the design of reward systems’ (Ingo Forstenlechner 2011, 136).
Alternative Method in Leadership Development
Due to the preference of a mix of transactional and transformational leadership blended with interpersonal relationships for the government sector in United Arab Emirates, the networks that exist in business markets are necessary for government departments also. However, the network exists for the government sector also in the form of various departments spread across the country, the responses will be different from those of networks that exist in the business markets. Hence, in this context, the ‘developmental relationships, including mentoring and networking that are described by a plethora of studies in Western and North American literature as having had a significant impact on career development’ (Hayfaa Tlaiss 2011, 467) will be useful in the government sector UAE.
The inclusion of interpersonal relationships already exist in the government sector of the Arab world, but those relationships should be strengthened with transformational leadership. In this regard, Hayfaa Tlaiss (2011, 468) mentions ‘Wasta’ a term used in Middle East as well as in UAE that refers to ‘social networks or connections’ (Hayfaa Tlaiss 2011, 468), which play a crucial role in decision making. As decision-making is important in policy-making and designing the schemes, it is necessary to use interpersonal relationships also while doing these things. Normally, the interpersonal relationships in UAE may be used in the context of recruitment and training but used to less extent in framing policies and designing schemes. If the interpersonal relationships should be used in the context of policy-making and schemes designing also, they should be mixed with ‘Wasta’ so that the government employees could develop the close relationships with people, who are stakeholders for the government.13
Developing Leadership Competencies
Taking the stakeholders (in this context, people) into consideration, the development of leadership competencies is an important and one such trait is to attain quality in the work done by an organization or a department. Hence, the leaders in the government sector of UAE should be able to manage quality in the implementation of policies of the government. Hence, a quality strategy is necessary to develop leadership competencies in leaders of the government sector. In this regard, SK Breja & DK Banwet (2011, 5-6) refers to Deming Application Price (DAP), the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) and European Foundation for Quality management (EFQM) excellence Model that seek to promote excellence through implementation of TQM. However, this implementation of TQM can be used in public sector manufacturing companies as it is being used in private sector.
However, it needs to be modified while using the same for the departments of government, which are involved in policy making designing of schemes. The departments which are involved in collecting revenues also need a different TQM policy as the activities of these departments differ from the manufacturing sector. As quality refers to ‘the correctness or appropriateness of an activity or fitness of an entity; it is compliance to a certain standard’ (SK Breja & DK Banwet 2011, 6). Hence, a policy that assesses the activities and implementation of policies regarding revenue collection, implementation of government schemes as well as deciding the policy of the government, a different TQM approach needs to be developed to encourage the transformational leadership in the government sector and to blend it with interpersonal relationships. Hence, a ‘behavioral management functioning system and encompassing Western and Eastern (Middle East) approaches’ (SK Breja & DK Banwet 2011, 6) is necessary for the development of a new type of TQM concept that is useful in different departments of the government sector of UAE.14
Summary: The literature review states different types of leadership strategies and finds a mix of strategies, which could be used for government sector in UAE. This is a blend of transformational and transactional leadership having a system for interpersonal relationships between government employees, leaders and the people. In addition to that, the reviewed literature also suggests that a system similar to TQM is necessary to assess the quality of services offered and the way the schemes are implemented by government employees and leaders. This TQM is different from that of the one used in the private manufacturing sector. Though this system can be used in manufacturing units of public sector the departments involved in revenue collection policy framing, implementation of schemes need a different TQM that assesses policies and services according to the benefits accrued to the people and for the society as a whole.
The methodology involved in this paper is qualitative analysis it suits the topic as the best method to analyze. Regarding the leadership and management issues it will be relevant to choose qualitative method so that the analysis can go into the cause and consequences of the strategies or the theories mentioned and can discuss with examples that can be used. The necessity of qualitative analysis for leadership issues can be understood from the definition of leadership as
‘the expansion of the organization’s capacity to enact the basic leadership tasks needed for collective work: setting direction, creating alignment, and maintaining commitment’(Aoife McDermott., Rachel Kidney & Patrick Flood; 2011, 359).
As the issues and concepts that are mentioned in the above definition of leadership are qualitative issues, the quantitative analysis cannot find the cause and consequences for the successes or the failures of the leaders and thus lacks right explanation. Hence, choosing the qualitative analysis has been chosen for this topic. Moreover, the literature review in this paper has discussed about the leadership theories, types of leaderships as well s the government sector in UAE and suitable leadership development strategies to enhance the performance of the public sector in that country. The organizational behavior, vitality of the firm or the department, employee passion and operational as well as strategic leadership issues cannot be analyzed in a quantitative manner as it is difficult to find the organizations that use the above concepts in the same manner. Hence, one organization cannot be compared with other and the use of quantitative analysis will be minimized and thus cannot yield any conclusion or discussion. Hence, it is necessary for this topic to frame the methodology and write the paper according to qualitative analysis.
Description of Study Sample
The study sample used in this paper is a list of some employees and leaders belonging to government and private sectors. The selection of both types of people is to compare and choose best options to develop necessary leadership in government sector of UAE. In this regard, the researchers select 20 people from public and 20 other from private sector of UAE and posed same questions to them. The difference in the answers will be used in analysis/discussion section.
The questionnaire will be follows.
- What is the duty of your firm/department? Services/Manufacturing
Private Employees said they are from manufacturing sector. Government employees are considered as from services as there are no public sector manufacturing companies’ employees considered here.
- What type of relationship you have between the employees in your department.
Both the employees from private and government sector have talked similarly and told that they have interpersonal relationships between them.
- Your leader influences you by his/her activities or perks/salaries/incentives.
The answers from employees of private firms talked about self development, ethics and values, early responsibility, knowledge base etc.
However, the responses from government employees made the salaries and incentives as a basis for the leadership assessment. That means their leaders are trying to influence them by salaries and incentives but not with the concepts regarding organizational behaviors.
- If your leader influences you by his/her behavior, don’t you have any regard or concern for the salary or the perks you receive?
Both type of private employees responded that they have a system to fix salaries or incentives and they did not come in the way of leadership development or organizational behavior. That means they are dispensed according to a system and that system decides the organizational behavior related to pay.
- What type of relationship do you have with your customers or stakeholders of your company?
The employees from private firms have interpersonal relationships with customers also, but the employees from government services do not have the same with the people they deal with.
- Do different departments of sections in your firm are interdependent or not?
The employees private firms responded that though they are independent in discharging their duties, they do work as an entity when considered the relations with other sections and departments. They exchange information and use it in the discharging of their duties
- Irrespective of the issue or the activity, the different departments and sections in the firm work cohesively or independently?15
Employees of private firms responded that they work cohesively. However, the employees of government sector and departments responded that they contact different departments whenever they need.
- If your answer is cohesively, how can you say that?
The cohesiveness in the perception of private employees is to share information and modify production and marketing activities if necessary and in that way they are linked from design to marketing.
This type of cohesiveness perception is not available with employees of government sector.
- What type relationship do you have with your colleagues and with your seniors or leaders?
The private firm’s employees responded that they do share interpersonal relationship, but the employees of public sector and government departments responded that they feel the impact of hierarchy and they maintain relationship accordingly.
- Do you share the same relationship with the customers or the stakeholders or the beneficiaries as you share with your colleagues and seniors?
The majority of private employees who are in marketing section responded positively, but the employees of public sector and government departments responded negatively.
Majority of the private-sector employees and leaders have answered that they have same type of relationship with customers and stakeholders as they have with their colleagues and seniors. In some contexts, the relationship with the customers assumes more importance than the relationship with their colleagues and seniors. However, this is not the case with the employees in the government sector. They answered that the relationship with their colleagues and seniors is far more important for them than their relationship with the stakeholders like taxpayers and beneficiaries of government schemes. In addition to that, they gave least importance to the people who are beneficiaries of the government schemes. This means they are not considering the beneficiaries of government schemes as stakeholders regarding their departments and thus their services lack quality while implementing the policies and schemes.
As per the issues observed, and perceptions expressed under literature review and interviews. One can understand that the ‘supervisor-subordinate relations have a significant impact on the performance of the firm’ (Colin Butler 2009, 139). The relations between supervisor and subordinates are capable of effecting the communication and decision-making at different levels in the organization. Leading firms seek for transformational leadership in their teams all over the organization, but it has not been observed in public sector and government departments of UAE. This is because, the government employees are not considering the stakeholders or the people s the employees in private organization considers their customers.
This is much more explicit when the stakeholders are the beneficiaries of the government schemes, and the employees are the ones who implement those schemes. To remove this type of communication between government employees and the beneficiaries of the government schemes, it is necessary to engage in open communication. The open communication could help in sharing the views, and the employees need to prepare themselves to share the views of the beneficiaries as that may reduce the future dependence of the people on the government.16 However, the introduction of e-governance may help to share views of the people by the government employees.
In the above regard of e-governance, Vishanth Weerakkody., Ramzi El-Haddadeh & Shafi Al-Shafi (2009, 173) states that public services can be more efficiently delivered and made available. In this regard, Vishanth Weerakkody et al state that ‘as citizens have become more internet-savvy and experience good electronic services from the private sector, they have begun to except the same high standards from government agencies’ (Vishanth Weerakkody., Ramzi El-Haddadeh & Shafi Al-Shafi 2009, 173). As per the literature review and methodology, it can be understood that it is necessary for government sector and departments to emulate the private sector regarding the transformational leadership and interpersonal relationship. Hence, it is necessary to computerize all the departments in the government, so that the employees need to be more accurate while entering some data or disposing information. The argument that government offers benefits as well as opportunities in developing countries can be used in restructuring the government departments in UAE to increase interaction of the employees with beneficiaries or citizens.17
Role of Technology
The implementation of e-governance results in the role of technology in leadership development. Claudio Ciborra (2006, 260) cites Heidegger (1978) about the concerns of continental philosophers about the role of the technology in government departments as well as in other places of modern world. Their concerns suggest to figure out the good and bad of technology. Ciborra further suggests that it is not good for leadership to depend too much on technology and ignore human relationships the leaders as well as the government employees may fell into the trap of ‘a technical, means ends discourse’ (Claudio Ciborra 2006, 260). According to Ciborra’s suggestion while considering the technology’s role, it necessary to understand that the technology is a tool to reveal and that needs to be used to reveal the challenges the department or the organization face. However, if it is used only for the convenience and not for the revealing or identifying the challenges faced by stakeholders or the departments, one cannot expect transparency or human touch in government employees while delivering their duties.18
Management of Flexibility as a tool to leadership development
The usage of technology is to make a department or an organization more efficient and flexible. The flexibility can be least expected in government sector and UAE in this regard has to introduce leadership techniques that introduces and manages flexibility. In this regard, Ronnie Lessem & Yehuda Baruch (1999, 11) states that flexibility of response is becoming a prerequisite for business success. If this can be a prerequisite for the activities and responses for the employees and their activities in government departments of UAE, the cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills of the leaders as well as the employees can be used effectively. This will further result in development of interpersonal relationships in any department or any public sector company as cognitive, affective and behavioral skills and responses are aspects of any human being and if they are well groomed in the team members of different departments, one can expect good governance from government. In this regard, Ronnie Lessem & Yehuda Baruch (1999, 11) opines that each management is associated with a particular color and states that violet is associated with legal matters. As the government employees are good at it, indigo is necessary, which deals with mood of the employees, leaders and the beneficiaries.19
Hence, it is important for government employees to control their moods and to consider the necessities and needs of the beneficiaries and representatives of different companies who approach government departments for different schemes and works. This could be possible with self-management and in this regard, Harald Harung., Fred Travis., Warren Blank., Dennis Heaton (2009, 873) mentions the survey conducted by Accenture in 2007 with 900 top executives in the world’s largest companies in USA, Italy, France, UK, Germany, Spain, Canada, Japan and China. The survey found that the companies which are able to ‘bring forward the executives with the ability and talent to handle rapid changes and new learning’ (Harald Harung et al 2009, 873) have flourished. However, in the case of the government sector, the aspect of flourishing can be replaced by enhancement of services and as per the survey results will be possible by encouraging the leaders who have the ability and talent to handle rapid changes in globalization era and promotes learning in the departments to the helm of the affairs. As majority of the government departments are non-profit ones, the word flourishing cannot be used to indicate the enhancement of the activities of them. However, enhancement of the activities of departments and the leaders who can do it are necessary for the government sector in UAE.20
In this regard, UAE can take a cue from Malaysia’s tourism industry. However, the sector is not important here as Malaysia depends on tourism and UAE doesn’t depend on that much on that industry. The important aspect is that the government employees and leaders in tourism industry of Malaysia have worked well and acted according to the aspirations of stakeholders and increased the revenues. In a similar manner, Susita Asree., Mohamed Zain & Mohd Rizal Razalli (2009, 501) opines that strategy plays a major role. It is also important in the government sector of UAE as it is necessary to it to develop an operational strategy on the lines of TQM mentioned in literature review, especially for government sector services. The operational strategy regarding the government sector of UAE should create value to the beneficiaries, taxpayers and citizens of the country. A broad range of practices are necessary, and they are capable of resulting in necessary outputs using established systems by enhancing their behaviors. It is necessary to keep in view that the operational strategy talks more about activities rather than theories.21
While considering the leadership development strategies in any government department, the functioning of economy, well being of the society and wealth of the nation come to the fore. The leaders of different department in government of UAE should be able to increase the wealth of the government as well as the nation and should act according to the needs of the citizens in the era of globalization. In this context, the government should use the situation that left the developed countries to produce new role for education in terms of the human capital in developing countries by establishing globalized institutions in different countries. The government can make use of globalized institutions and can make its employees and leaders to develop their skills regarding the activities of dealing with the citizens. As UAE government has no dearth of funds to invest in human capital, it can adapt new employee training methods to reduce the country’s dependency on expatriate work force while dealing with globalized needs of the country’s economy. In this context, different proponents of nationalization in Middle East as well as in UAE are viewing the nationalization strategies to gain political and economical independence and those strategies should be used in the context of domestic needs also as it is not ethical to deal the people with international needs specially than the ones whose needs are domestic in nature.22
Commitment that helps in development of necessary Leadership
Whatever may be the nature of the needs of the government and the people, different departments and its employees as well as the leaders need to have a commitment. The commitment depends on ‘person-organization fit, person-job fit, or congruence between the characteristics of individuals and those of their jobs and the organizations they work’ (Mohamed H. Behery 2009, 179) are necessary. Normally, in the government departments in which the recruitment depends more on social relationships than merit and individuality, ‘most of the employees have their psychological contact violated’ (Mohamed H. Behery 2009, 179).
This is because their PC will depend on perceptions rather than reality. This makes them indifferent towards interpersonal relationships in their profession. Hence, a strategic approach is necessary to enhance the leadership in UAE’s government departments to world-class standards. If this approach has been implemented successfully, it not only helps in development of leadership in the government sector of UAE, but also reduces the dependence on foreign workers regarding the issues of globalization. It is also necessary to bring the locals into the government work force as they have to work at par with expatriate workers from foreign countries.23 However, the country’s rapid economic success also has made locals from accessing the helm of the affairs in different government departments and that resulted in lack of interaction for the government employees with common people, thus negatively affecting the leadership development in different departments. Hence, Jasim Al-Ali (2008, 366) places Emiratisation in context, the literature on social capital predictors.
‘This was examined to identify dimensions in the social fabric of UAE and draw out parallel phenomena as themes for this study. Data was obtained from research standard questionnaires obtained from 17 executives in both the public and private sectors, the data classified and analyzed by theme. The results were analogous to the literature and congruent recommendations ensued’ (Jasim Al-Ali 2008, 366).
As a result the establishment of relevancy of the Emiratization can be one of the strategy for the leadership development at par with international standards if employee training and recruitment has been done on merit and capacity instead of social relationships. The government of UAE can draw the energy necessary for inculcating transformational leadership from the fact that in 40 years the nation has experienced a ‘profound transformation from small impoverished desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living’ (Jasim Al-Ali 2008, 366). In the early days of its formation, the government unlike to the acts in the past, has directed international corporations to develop the oilfields and then to provide the infrastructure for the country’s modern metropolises. This is due to the fact that there are no leaders and experts in required number and development of technology as well as leadership is necessary to make different government departments dealing with international issues to become independent.
The leadership is also necessary to deal with the divided market of UAE. As, UAE government encouraged open economy policy and encouraged multinational corporations, it has developed a overwhelmingly large labor market in private sector. Dealing with this market is dealing with diversity as that labor market has workers not only from UAE, but also from developed and developing countries in the world. Thus dealing with them is dealing with different countries and the employees as well as their leaders need diplomatic acumen as well as transformational leadership qualities with interpersonal skills to protect and deal with their domestic labor market with international traits.24
Regarding interpersonal skills in dealing with the implementation of schemes and policies of the government, it is necessary to reshape the leadership strategies used in businesses according to the needs of the government departments. In this regard, Catherine Bailey & Martin Clarke (2008, 912) advocate attention from the organization towards excellence in management of firms. The government sector also should do the same by showing attention towards the interaction between its employees and citizens so that the relationship would develop in a way that consolidates the quality in delivery of services to the people.
This can be made possibly by ‘forging strong links to succession planning (in government sector succession of the heads of the departments), encouraging action learning, ensuring high level support for development activity and comprehensive evaluation of outcomes’ (Catherine Bailey & Martin Clarke 2008, 912). Though one may observe the above qualities even in government sectors now and then scarcely, the last trait of comprehensive evaluation of the outcome cannot be observed or if observed is not sincere. Hence, the poor evaluation of outcomes should be avoided and a system should be developed that compels the comprehensive evaluation of outcomes even in the government sector. This further enables the development of transformational leadership, which focuses on quality through ethics, morality and relationships.25
To act according to the just-mentioned evaluation of output strategies, it is necessary to have an interpretive scheme to transform the government departments in UAE. The interpretive scheme should be in a manner that determines the ideas, beliefs and values of the department. It decides the duties as well as the ways and means of doing them. This enables the government to develop a structure that increases responsibility, relationships by differentiating and integration of functions and different sections in a department. In this manner, every government department should be like an archetype. In this regard, Frederick A. Starke., Gita Sharma., Micael K. Mauws., Bruno Dyck & Parshotam Dass (2011, 30) refers to a coordinated combination of scheme, structure and system in any department. The coordination not only ensures cohesiveness, but also tracks and refers to the paths of the departments and helps them to transform from one archetype to another according to the needs of the globalized economy of UAE. In this regard, Frederick A. Starke et al cites Amis et al. (2004) about attention to three distinct dimensions of archetypal change. They are sequence, linearity and pace in the organizations or government departments.26
The sequence in the above-mentioned context can be used in the situation of transitional experiences of the employees in government sector of UAE as that may lead to developmental change. However, that developmental change just-mentioned cannot be attained without the ‘intermediate developmental phase between the inner and external reality’ (Gilbert Lenssen; 2010, 697). The government sector in UAE is more prone to external contexts as they have to deal with the labor and other employees who enter into the country from developing as well as developed countries and they work on various projects.
The departments and the heads of them as well as the employees working in them have to be more realistic and interpersonal in nature to implement the policies concerned. In this regard, the training through different texts of leadership can serve as introspection for the employees to explicit the outward projection of their activities and duties. In this regard, Gilbert Lenssen mentions Carl Jung (without quoting the year of publication) about the vision that will be clear when it comes from the heart. Normally, everybody have dreams and they strive to make them real. However, in the context of government employees they have dreams about their career and to accept and function with transformational leadership they should have the idea of the people, citizens and beneficiaries of the policies they are implementing. Hence, unlike private employees, the government employees should think of the dreams of people also to materialize the thoughts of the government.27
Strategic Leadership for Government Sector
After the commitment that is necessary to deal with the aspirations of the citizens, the strategic leadership issue comes to the fore to experience the organizational citizenship behavior. This is possible with necessary personality traits that are likely to be particularly good predictors of contextual performance. In this regard, Hossam M. Abu Elanain (2010, 171) mentions about a variety of metanalytic research studies. The results are about ‘conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability’ (Hossam M. Abu Elanain 2010, 171). These traits if can be inculcated in employees of public sector and government departments, they are capable relating positively the different aspects of contextual performance of different teams. This will be a result of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), which is a result of ‘conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability’ (Hossam M. Abu Elanain 2010, 171) of the employees. In private manufacturing and services sector the organizational citizenship behavior includes helping the co-workers.
‘Volunteering for extra duty when necessary, representing the company enthusiastically at public functions, and resolving unconstructive interpersonal conflict’ (Hossam M. Abu Elanain 2010, 171) are also part of organizational citizenship behavior, but in the context of government employees, they have to treat the beneficiaries or citizens also as their colleagues and act accordingly. The ‘direct effects between personality traits and performance’ (Hossam M. Abu Elanain 2010, 171) need to be considered by heads of the departments in government as well as the employees. Abu Elanain states that there is a substantial difference in personality-performance relationship that remains unexplained. However, it is necessary to consider the individual variables also to assess the personality-performance of the departments in government sector. Consequently, personality of the employees or leaders will affect OCB as it decides the responses of them at various contexts. Hence, to develop a leadership in government sector of UAE, it is necessary to focus on personality of them. This is because, the leadership in the context of globalization demands the right response in complex situations and that is possible with influence of personality traits.28
The important personality trait in globalized business context is to get well with colleagues and customers. In the context of government employees of UAE, it is important to them to work cohesively with other sections and departments and treat the citizens as well as beneficiaries of government schemes as customers treated by the employees of a private firm. In this regard, Ernst & Young’s leadership development program that has been conducted by teaming up with Bath consultancy group states that collective view is necessary to inculcate value-based behavior in the department. However, in government sector and departments, instead of value based behavior, the responses of the employees will be according to the monetary benefits or duty minded in letter but not in spirit. When the leaders inspire the employees to inculcate value-based behavior, it enables them to acquire a life-long commitment to personal development and that helps in treating the people as customers of a company. In the terms of holistic development of leadership in any government department it is necessary to train the employees to lead themselves. When the employees are capable of leading themselves, they will have a personality that can be inspired by a leader, who uses transformational tools regarding the implementation of government policies.29
Alongside a benevolent personality regarding duty and work, it is necessary to have passion towards work as it results in emotional energy that binds with the customers and in this context the people or citizens. In this regard Joe Wallis., Brian Dollery (2006, 502) cites Collins (1993) about passion that accumulates across a series of successful interaction rituals. This makes the ‘interactions pass thresholds of ‘boundedness’ determined by whether they are close enough for a sufficient period of time to ensure that they can be moved by one another passion’ (Joe Wallis., Brian Dollery 2006, 502). In the context of government departments of UAE it is necessary to inculcate this passion in the employees and let them show it towards the beneficiaries and citizens to which they render their services.
When the heads of the departments or the leaders can inculcate this in the minds of the employees, they can develop a bond between citizens and the government and that also results in law abiding citizens as well as employees. This depends on interactions and it is necessary to impart training to employees regarding this, so that they can put their emotional energy in ensuing exchanges with citizens. In this regard, the leaders in government departments should lead their section as a group that interact with the citizens as another group. As the latter do not have a leader and contact the employees individually, it is necessary to inculcate the interpersonal traits in the employees to treat them as the ones acting as a group. Consequently, these actions from the government departments result in ‘interaction rituals’ (Joe Wallis., Brian Dollery 2006, 502) and leave the participants with ‘energetic afterglow’ (Joe Wallis., Brian Dollery 2006, 502) that leaves attaches them with each other emotionally and results in satisfaction regarding the services delivered.30
Organic Leadership in UAE’s Government Sector
In order to deliver services effectively and up to the necessity of the citizens, it is necessary to government departments to take a cue from service organizations, which are strategy dependent regarding delivery of the services. In this regard, ‘strategic and organizational dimensions are not viewed as aiding or hindering efficacy of the quality certification’ (Hazman Shan Abdullah & Jasmine Ahmad 2009, 745). To do so motivation is necessary and this is possible with organic leadership that follows transformational techniques without coercion while dealing with the team members.
However, every aspect of leadership strategies has to be taken differently regarding the organizational behavior of the government departments as the employees in turn need to deal with the citizens. Hence, each employee should act as a leader when they do deal with the citizens or the beneficiaries of the government schemes. To do so, the leaders in the government departments should be more inspiring than the ones in the private sector as in the latter case, impressing the customers with the products or services they like by mixing the marketing techniques with interpersonal relationship will suffice. However, just that is not sufficient in the context of government employees dealing with citizens as every citizen who approaches a government office has a different story to say. Hence, the employees should act above legal and duty minded issues and should wholeheartedly try to solve the issues of the citizens within the ambit of their jurisdiction.31
Though there are enough structures regarding government departments in UAE, the above-mentioned solutions for citizens from the side of government employees have not been expected. This can be understood from the fact mentioned by Mirghani S. Mohamed, Kevin J. O’Sullivan & Vincent Ribiere (2008, 108) that in UAE, the styles of governance have contributed to continual inertia of knowledge in the region. In the context of inertia of knowledge, it will be difficult to impart transformational leadership in the government departments, and it will be difficult to remove lethargy in the employees. Hence, it is a disappointing situation and needs to be corrected. However, Mirghani S. Mohamed, Kevin J. O’Sullivan & Vincent Ribiere state that in the recent years, some part of UAE like Dubai is being transformed into a knowledge society, and this could help in developing leadership qualities in government departments also. This is because of human development and establishment of institutions like Mohammed’s bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation can help in development of leadership qualities in government departments as it cannot stay away from the initiatives started by itself. Moreover, it is a necessity for the government of UAE to develop leaders and to help in leadership development in its departments as knowledge economies and globalization have contributed prominent effects in the region.32
In this context of departmental consideration regarding the people’s aspirations, it is necessary to have a multi-level approach. That means the government departments can develop innovation by focusing on groups and creating necessary conditions for innovation. Mohamed A.K. Mohamed (2002, 620) mentions that the functional groups like the teams in government departments ‘have mostly static and permanent membership configuration’ (Mohamed A.K. Mohamed 2002, 620). The permanent membership configuration can be compared to the permanent nature of the job of the government employees, which is least affected by their lack of performance. In contrast, employees in private firms experience the security as long as their performance is at par with the industry standards. Hence, it is necessary to manage the groups in government departments by stimulating creativity and innovation to make that particular department adaptive to the necessities of the people.
This could be possible when the leadership can tap into the intellectual sources of the department. In this regard, Mohamed A.K. Mohamed (2002, 621) cites Leavitt and Blumen (1995) about the benefits of the organizations, when the groups develop creativity and innovation in their activities. However, the innovation as well as creativity in services offered by the government should impress and meet the needs of the citizens, who will be at the receiving end. Hence, it is necessary to study the characteristic structures of the different government departments in UAE to enhance the performance of groups. This study should be at the micro level as at the macro level all the governments have almost same type of structure from central to local level. The study has to be concentrated on the structures that decide the functional activities of teams in each department, so that the leader can have the list of factors that need emphasis to enhance the organizational behavior. Considering the government departments, it is necessary to consider the contextual factors as the main issue is the implementation of policies and schemes. Hence, the contextual factors decide the intra-group factors and without a system and policy that decide on ways and means, there will be no innovation. Hence, the system of functioning of teams in departments of government should foster departmental innovation, and this will be possible by relevant leadership development.33
Though the business of private and public sector as well as government departments differ, the entrepreneurial values really matter. These values can be adapted by government departments to sustain the institutional change that is necessary to inculcate leadership development. This is because, according to Claudine Kearney., Robert D. Hisrich., Frank Roche (2009, 26) ‘enterprise’ no longer refers to the creation of an independent business venture.
The characteristics of model entrepreneurs or successful independent business people; rather it refers to the ways in which economic, political social and personal vitality is best achieved by generalizing a particular conception of enterprise form to all forms of conduct to the conduct of organizations previously seen as non commercial as well as government and its agencies and individuals (Claudine Kearney., Robert D. Hisrich., Frank Roche 2009, 26).
Hence, some avenues of government departments of UAE have to be explored for ‘public sector entrepreneurship theory development’ (Claudine Kearney., Robert D. Hisrich., Frank Roche 2009, 27) that leads to innovation as well as leadership development in them. In this regard, it is necessary to discuss the key differences between private sector and government departments. To do so, it is necessary to understand the term ‘entrepreneurship’. The definition of it should not be limited to a vision of an individual in creating a successful business enterprise but also the wealth creation as well as franchising, corporate venturing, opportunity based conceptualizations and exploitation of profitable opportunities (Claudine Kearney., Robert D. Hisrich., Frank Roche 2009, 27) could be brought under its definition. Claudine Kearney et al cites Ramamurthi (1986), who stated that there is a demand for government sector to become innovative and dynamic.
This could be possible by ‘creating a value for citizens by bringing together unique combinations of public and private resources to exploit social opportunities’ (Claudine Kearney., Robert D. Hisrich., Frank Roche 2009, 27). By doing so, the democratic responsibility of public managers and politicians increases, compelling them to develop transformational leadership instead of transactional one. However, the just-mentioned leadership development context can be thrived when the political leadership recognizes the differences between private and public sector and focus on them. After understanding the difference of public sector from that of the private one, it is necessary to follow the principles of democratic theory, so that one can take a cue from transformational leadership style to do so. Claudine Kearney et al (2009, 28) further cites Boyett (1997) to support this democratic theory in policy to foster the leadership development in public sector or government departments. In this regard, Claudine Kearney et al (2009) cites Boyett (1997) as follows
Entrepreneurship occurs in the public sector where there is an uncertain environment, a devolution of power, and at the same time reallocation of resource ownership, to unit management level. It needs to be driven by those individuals, particularly susceptible to the “manipulation” (in this context people or citizens or beneficiaries of government schemes or taxpayers) of their stakeholders and with a desire for a high level of social “self-satisfaction” (Claudine Kearney et al (2009, 28).
Leadership in a Democratic Way
Taking a cue from the understanding the ‘entrepreneurship as just discussed, it is necessary to build organizations that welcome the change. In this regard, Carole K. Barnett & Barry Shore (2009, 17) cites Lawler and Worley, 2006) that the current organization practices in areas like government departments in UAE actually prevent leaders from successfully implementing necessary changes that benefit people and that will be undemocratic as the people’s will is not satisfied. Hence, it is necessary to restructure the government departments in UAE to sustain the change that ‘underpins a new paradigm of social organization. Instead of enduring, they should flourish on the satisfaction of the people and this is possible, when the services are offered to them at par with the services offered by private sector firms, who charge for their services.34
While adapting the methods that enable the government departments deliver the services at par with the private firms, the aspect of modernization mixed with democratization of the functioning comes to the fore. In this regard, UAE can take a cue from Turkey, which embarked on modernization, which is in contrast to its traditional methods of governance. According to Taner Akan (2011, 222) top to down institutional realignment is necessary by examining the relationship between the state and associations in the country. This could be made possible by respecting the origination of a democratic political culture that is multi-linear. After that without disturbing the traditional characteristics in the governance, the government needs to take modernization steps with specific reference to labor relations with the government.
However, the labor relations with the government should not hamper the interpersonal relations necessary between government department and the people or citizens. However, the cultural differences need not matter for modernization activities as people are free to retain their culture despite the change in the way they deliver their duties. In this regard, Taner Akan (2011, 222) cites Hunting ton and Putnam’s suggestions about culture. They assert that the culture determines origin as well as the evolution of modernization and in this context, the modernization should be the organizational change and the transformational leadership development necessary for the departments. This could be possible with the state and civil society relationship as that is transformable into a leadership initiative that brings out the change in delivery of services by government departments.
In other words the modernization initiatives in the government sector of UAE should result in transfer of values from political class to the government sector and this could be an example of transformational leadership that is necessary for the initiation of leadership development activities in government departments. Instead of imitating a modern state it is necessary to have ‘multi-dimensional transformation covering all areas of human though and action’ (Taner Akan 2011, 223) so that the transformation in the context of government departments leads to ‘associational life’ (Taner Akan 2011, 223) that is capable of linking government employees to citizens. In this regard it is necessary to have transformative agenda the government employees, their representatives who are responsible for organized labor should gradually develop through the ‘bottom-up mobilization of their members and unions need to contact the organized power of workers’ (Taner Akan 2011, 223).35
The above-indicated modernization is possible by foresight and Leon S. Fuerth (2009, 16) claims it as a systems analysis. When a system for development of leadership in the government organizations is in place, it should help the leadership to visualize, rehearse and then refine the department and its activities as well as organizational behavior. When the minds of employees are refined with the help of leaders, they change their behavior and in turn it changes the behavior of the department and the response of the citizens to it. This could be possible with the vision of the leaders so that the department can employ different methods that are suitable to citizens while implementing policies or schemes. The democratic ways and means lead to vision and that gives a clear picture of engagement of decision-makers with employees and stakeholders and how do they influence employees and citizens. This idea of democratic way leading to vision as a leadership trait finds the foundation in the ability to see a head of times.
When a leaders have that ability, they can mould the department or lay the foundations for the future changes now so that the policies and schemes of future as well as their implementation may be decided now. However, this depends on ‘integration of several streams of knowledge’ (Leon S. Fuerth 2009, 18) that includes hind sight. The hindsight of a leader enables the team to learn from the past and use the knowledge for future ventures of delivery of services. When this foresight mixed with hindsight has been combined with insight, it enables the employees to have awareness about the needs of the people to whom they are delivering the services. When leader works accordingly and inspires the team accordingly, the department can evolve a system in a period of time so that it can turn into a public organization. In this regard, the usage of information technology for transparency in the functions of the employees can be taken into account and that indicates the use of technology for the betterment of services. In the same manner, the leader having insight and foresight, uses the technology to increase transparency and acts accordingly to inspire the team members or the government employees in a department to work up to the needs of the people while implementing government policies and delivering citizens’ charter.36Though this leads to strategic management, too much theory may lead to lethargy in the organization.
Hence, it is necessary for a leader to have transformational leadership with operational leadership up to required extent. However, the operational leadership is not possible without a strategy, but too much focus on strategy, which can be termed as hallmark of government departments hampers the operational leadership and managerial concepts usurp the leadership aspects of the heads of the department. Hence, the participation of middle management is necessary during the strategic planning as they are the people who act as bridge between leaders and the citizens who will be at the receiving end of the implementation of policies and schemes. This not only enriches the organizational or departmental environment, but also increases the functionality as the middle management could have more knowledge about giving instructions to their teams. This further reduces the extent of transactional leadership and also prompts the transformation of the department into a social organization that considers citizens’ aspirations while delivering the services. In this regard of mentioning about social organization, Said Elbanna (2009, 780) cites Whittington and Mayer (2000) as ‘the social sciences made America the universal pattern’. 37
Mix of Transactional and Transformational Leadership
To transform a department into a social organization, an environmental management system is necessary to deliver a leadership that is a mix of transactional and transformational methods. The environmental management system involves certifications such as ISO 14001 and it is necessary for government to enable its departments to get these certifications. As getting these certifications differ in public and private sectors, it is necessary for the government to maintain certain standards in each department to maintain transparency and responsibility so that they can get these certifications and this amounts to transactional leadership up to some extent as these certifications depend on transactions of the department.
After having these certifications in maintaining records and accounts, the functional activities of the department should be influenced by transformational leadership by the heads of the department. This depends on the ways and means adopted by both government and the heads of the department as they need to demonstrate the commitment to lead by example. This is possible when they take actions that reduce impacts due to changes in environment. If these actions are not taken, the citizens who are at the receiving end may suffer or may face problems. To avoid that, it is necessary to drive the change in the organizational culture of each department, so that office based sources can improve the quality of delivery of services. In this regard, Ambika Zutshi., Amrik S. Sohal., Carol Adams (2008, 526) cites Enviro News (2000), Leavitt (2002), and Srinivas (2006) about the implementations of change in organizational behavior in government departments. They state that training is necessary for the employees to change their responses while dealing with the people and delivering the services.
So ‘a set of policies, procedures and overall management structure that organization can use to address immediate and long-term impact of products, services and activities on the environment provides a systematic and structured approach to manage affairs’ (Ambika Zutshi., Amrik S. Sohal., Carol Adams 2008, 527).
In doing so, the public sector departments can track all the transactions and dealings of the employees thus increasing transparency. One such activity that can modify the responses of the employees is right to information, which increases openness in the department. When the leadership uses that aspect in a right manner, one can observe change and enhancement in the services offered by any department. However, the these type of initiatives involve the top leadership and hold them responsible for failures of the employees or the team members. Hence, a continuous monitoring and note files are necessary that help to assess the process of file movement in the department is necessary. Thus recording each and every activity that explains the way the employees and leaders work and making them open do have benevolent effect. To make success the transformational leadership in the functioning of a government department, it is necessary to note down the obstacles faced by the citizens in approaching the leaders or the employees of the department. After recording them, one can plan the initiatives that can minimize those problems by increasing the transparency in the activities of the department.
As per the literature review, the government departments in UAE do have less transparency as well as responsibility and credibility. The awareness in the people about the activities of the different government department is not spread uniformly in all quarters of the people or citizens. The work culture of the employees in government departments is not at par with employees in different multinational companies working in UAE. Hence, it is necessary to develop leadership qualities in heads of the departments of government and the ground for making employees to change their work culture is the need of the hour. The change of work culture of employees and the leadership development at the helm of each department in UAE government should go simultaneously and in other words, happens vice versa. It will be possible when transformational leadership development could happen in government departments. That means the leaders or the heads of the departments need to guide or inspire the employees through values as well as with the methods adapted so that the transparency regarding decision-making of leaders as well as the functional activities of the employees’ increases, and the people can know about the ways and means followed by them to deliver the services.
In order to deliver the services in that manner and to know the ways and means of leadership development in the government departments, a survey has been conducted. In that survey, the employees of private and public sector were taken as two groups and a questionnaire was given to them to get answers. In that survey, it has been found that the leadership development is better in private firms than in government departments. Hence, as a result, the analysis and discussion part has been done keeping in view the factors discussed and conclusions arrived in literature review and survey. That resulted in discussion of ways and means and necessity of inculcating values in government employees to bring out organizational behavioral change in any government department.
Different leadership qualities ranging from operational, strategic, transactional and transformational aspects have been discussed, and the analysis found that the inculcation of values and implementation of transparency in the activities of the department can help in development of democratic leadership. In that way, the discussion concluded that the different departments could be turned into social organizations in a democratic way when the leaders inspire the employees to deliver the services more efficiently and with more quality than in the past. Thus, the analysis discussion part has analyzed the aspects reviewed and found in the interviews. This led to a conclusion that the leadership development in government departments and public sector should be a mix of transactional and transformational one and capable of delivering quality services to the people. The review further discusses about implementation of TQM even in the government departments to enhance the quality of services rendered to the citizens.
- It is necessary to increase transparency in the government departments to enhance the quality of the services.
- The transparency in the activities could be achieved through certain legislations from the side of government so that the employees will be bound to record their activities, to inform them in case of any query.
- One such type of legislations that can increase transparency is the right to information. Every government department should have the legal responsibility of revealing the information to the citizens, which was only a moral responsibility hitherto.
- The existence of these types of legislations should be used by the leaders or the heads of the departments to inspire the employees by abiding to the relevant laws.
- In addition to the transparency, it is necessary to have transactional leadership in the government departments only to the points of packages offered to the employees as well as to get the certifications like ISO 14001.
- After confining the transactional leadership to that extent, it is necessary to develop transformational leadership to the employees.
- The transformational leadership should impart necessary training to the employees, so that their responses bring about a change in the functioning of the department.
- After bringing a change in the functioning of a government department, the leaders have to work in a democratic way so that employees should not feel that they are bullied to work better.
- This is possible with transformational leadership, blended with knowledge that is useful to enhance the efficiency of the department.
- The leaders or the heads of the departments should establish a system in the department, which helps the employees to increase knowledge according to the changing times.
- It is necessary to impart training on the employees to maintain interpersonal relationships not only with colleagues but also with the people with whom they deal with while implementing government’s policies and schemes.
- Though the interpersonal relationships are necessary, they should not come in the way of recruiting employees in various government departments.
- Instead of recruiting them based on the social relations of recruiters, there should be a system that makes recruitment on the basis of merit and leadership qualities.
- After recruiting, in order to make the employees to fall in line with their leaders who implement transformational leadership, a training session is necessary.
- The training session needs to emphasize on legal, moral, and ethical responsibilities of the employees while delivering their duties, instead of doing a duty only in letter but not in spirit.
- The legislations of government should make all the above recommendations mandatory in government departments to enable leadership development.
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