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Future Governments Organizational Culture, Leadership and Performance in Dubai Municipality Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi,

Future Governments

Future Governments Organizational Culture, Leadership and Performance in Dubai Municipality Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi,

Organizational Culture, Leadership and Performance in Dubai Municipality Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi, Mohammad Habibur Rahman,

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To cite this document: Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi, Mohammad Habibur Rahman, "Organizational Culture, Leadership and Performance in Dubai Municipality" In Future Governments. Published online: 01 Feb 2019; 205-220. Permanent link to this document:

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Chapter 11

Organizational Culture, Leadership and Performance in Dubai Municipality

Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman

Dubai Municipality (DM), one of the largest public entities in the Government of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was founded in 1954 with only seven employees to undertake simple tasks such as cleaning the city. 1 Over the past 60 dec- ades or so, the municipality in the Emirate of Dubai has evolved through various phases of structural and functional expansion concurring with the growth of the city. The entity’s decision-makers’ interest in linking its culture and leadership with the organizational performance came from the external assessment report of 2017 by the Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) that suggested to give effort to implement an organizational culture and values. 2 This statement triggered thoughts about this case study that intends to examine how organizational culture and leader- ship can influence corporate performance of DM. This study examines the effects of organizational culture and the role of transformational leadership on organizational performance in DM. It adopted Daniel Denison’s Model to explain how four cultural dimensions (i.e. mission, adaptability, involvement and consistency) 3 and transform- ational leadership influence organizational performance. This survey-based perception study, involving 209 middle-managers and senior-level managers in DM, observes sig- nificant effect of organizational culture on organizational performance and a positive influence of transformational leadership on organizational performance in the organ- ization. The study finds challenges in the Municipality’s culture impacting performance and suggests areas for improvement in both cultural and leadership dynamics to facili- tate further excellence. The case study recommends that the Municipality promotes

1 Government of Dubai. (2018). About Dubai municipality. Retrieved from https://www.dm.gov.ae/wps/ portal/aboutdm. Accessed on 21 July, 2018. 2 Dubai Government Excellence Program. (2017). 20th assessment cycle 2017 — Dubai Municipality. Dubai: Dubai Government Excellence Program. 3 Denison, D. (1990). Corporate culture and organizational effectiveness. New York, NY: Wiley.

Future Governments Actions and Insights Middle East North Africa, Volume 7, 205 220 Copyright r 2019 by Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman. This article is courtesy Academy of International Business Middle East North Africa Chapter Association and Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government All rights of reproduction in any form reserved ISSN: 2048-7576/doi:10.1108/S2048-757620190000007011

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206 Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman

more involvement and consistency of cultural elements and builds leadership capabil- ities to further corporate performance.

11.1. Introduction

Organizational culture and leadership are seen as imperative for public sector per- formance. Public organizations in Dubai perform against set targets to efficiently meet the government’s agenda and to achieve leading scores in competitions to dis- play continuous excellence. Therefore, all organizations in the Emirate of Dubai are observant about efficient utilization of resources, high capability in policy imple- mentation and the ability to perform the organizational mandate innovatively. Organizational culture is a key attribute of strategy in any successful organization as it plays a significant role in achieving public interest. 4 Culture is also central to the functioning of an organization and has a wide influence. As observed by Buono, Bowditch and Lewis: 5

It affects practically all aspects of organizational life from the way in which people interact with each other, perform their work and dress, to the types of decisions made in a firm, its organizational policies and pro- cedures, and strategy considerations.

11.2. Understanding the Nexus between Organizational Culture, Leadership and Organizational Performance

To contextualize the discussion on the relationship between organizational culture, leadership and organizational performance, it is imperative to conceptualize the per- ceptions. Since the 1980s, ‘corporate culture’, ‘organizational culture’ and ‘climate’ have been used by managers, sociologists and organizational theorists as inter- changeable concepts to explain how motivated workforce committed to common set of core values and beliefs resulted in greater successes of the Japanese firms over the American firms. 6 Although there is a widespread conceptual disagreement on the definition and scope of organizational culture, 7 in the public sector, organizational culture can be defined as an intellectual framework consisting of attitudes, values,

4 Sampford, C., & Preston, N. (1998). Public sector ethics finding and implementing values (Routledge ed). New Zealand: The Federation Press. 5 Buono, A., Bowditch, J., & Lewis, J. (1985). When cultures collide: the anatomy of amerger. Human Relations, 38 (5), 477 500. 6 Denison, D. (1984). Bringing corporate culture to the bottom. Organizational Dynamics, 13(2), 5 22. 7 Ogbonna, E., & Harris, L. (1998). Organizational culture: It’s not what you think. Journal of General Management, 23(3), 35 48.

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Culture, Leadership and Performance 207

behavioural norms and expectations. 8 There are two main approaches to organiza- tional culture: process approaches and classification approaches. 9 Process-oriented approaches describe organizational culture as ‘a continuous recreation of shared meaning’. 10 The classification approach towards culture classifies and describes cul- ture based on common frameworks. A number of authors have proposed a range of ideal corporate types of culture based on a number of variables 11 This case study used the latter approach to organizational culture. Although not many researchers have contributed to the linkage between culture and performance, there is little doubt among experts that this relationship exists. A range of empirical studies sup- port the link between organizational culture and organizational performance. 12 Given that organizational culture is an important factor in organizational effective- ness, there is a growing interest in strengthening cultural elements by governments in order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency in public sector entities. This study adopted Daniel Denison’s Model to explain how four cultural dimensions (i.e. mission, adaptability, involvement and consistency) 13 impacts organizational performance. Leadership, and how it affects an organization’s success, has been studied by many scholars. The need to manage change and transform organizations during poor economic situations led to the emergence of ‘transformational’ leadership, which is perceived by researchers like Bass and Avolio as visionary, entrepreneurial, and has great ability to motivate subordinates to achieve desired objectives 14 impacting on followers and on their performance. Bass observes that transform- ational leaders are able to change followers’ goals and beliefs, which results in achieving higher levels of performance. 15 In the reform efforts, the role of state lead- ership was central in inculcating a culture of measuring efficiency and effectiveness

8 Greenberg, J., & Baron, R. (1997). Behavior in organizations. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 9 Lim, B. (1995). Examining the organizational culture and organizational performance link. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 16(5), 16 21. 10 Roskin, R. (1986). Corporate culture revolution: The management development imperative. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 1 (2), 3 9. 11 Hampden-Turner, C. (1990). Corporate culture for competitive edge. London: Economist.

12 Denison, D. (1984). Bringing corporate culture to the bottom. Organizational Dynamics, 13 (2), 5 22; Kotter, J. P., & Heskett, J. L. (1992). Corporate culture and performance. New York, NY: The Free Press; Carmeli, A., & Tishler, A. (2004). The relationships beteen intangible organizational elements and organ- izational performance. Strategic Management Journal, 25 (13), 1257 1278, doi: 10:1002/smj.428(25); Kassem, R. (2016). The relationship between organizational culture and business excellence: case study from United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Information System in the Service Sector, 8(3),

16 35.

13 Denison, D. (1990). Corporate culture and organizational effectiveness. New York, NY: Wiley. 14 Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (2000). MLQ multifactor leadership questionnaire. Redwood City: Mind Garden. 15 Bass, B. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations. New York, NY: Free Press.

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208 Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman

of policy implementation through multiple tools. 16 There is a need for leadership continuity and stability in order to create a positive culture and to positively affect the organizational excellence and performance. A recent trend has emerged in gov- ernments to work as private organizations to achieve high efficiency and adapt inno- vations for better services. Organizational performance involves the actual output or results of an organiza- tion as measured against its intended outputs or desired goals 17 . It is actually a sys- tem that consists of many elements that interact dependently. The subject of performance management as a topic for academic research started in the mid-1990s with the participation of Kaplan and Norton 18 and European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 1998. Thereafter, more interest was given to per- formance management with the establishment of the Performance Measurement Association and the British Academy of Management Performance. Organizations in the public sector have attempted to manage their performance using the balanced scorecard (BSC) practice in order to measure and track performance in four dimen- sions: finance, customer services, employee satisfaction and learning and growth. Schein sees leadership and culture as central to understanding organizations and making them effective that we cannot afford to be complacent about either one. 19 Some scholars have studied the linkage between organizational culture and organ- izational performance, but few empirical studies have combined the effect of organ- izational culture and of leadership on organizational performance in the public sector. In fact, no studies have investigated this combination with regard to the Dubai context, leadership in government, or the fourth generation of Excellence Model. In the UAE, the relationship between public sector performance and leadership has been observed by Rahman and Youssef as a deliberate act of leadership that is government led. 20 The Government of Dubai has focused on developing leadership skills at different levels through a leadership programme over the last decade. This approach has emphasized the important role of leadership in nurturing the appro- priate organizational culture necessary for supporting government reforms and performance. In 2016, the fourth-generation Model of Excellence was established by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. This is the first-of-its-kind model designed by and for the public sector for both federal and local government

16 Rahman, M. H., & Youssef, S. W. (2015). Public sector performance and leadership in the United Arab Emirates. Presented in the 3rd International Conference on Management, Leadership and Governance — ICMLG 2015, Auckland, New Zealand, 12 13 February 2015. Conference proceedings by Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited. 17 Richard, P. J., Devinney, T. M., & George, S. Y. (2009). Measuring organizational performance:

towards methodological best practice. Best Practice Journal of Management, 35(3), 718 804. 18 Kaplan, R.S., & Norton, D.P. (1992). The balanced scorecard—measures that drive performance. Harvard Business Review, 70(7/8): 172 180. 19 Schein, E. H. (1992). Organizational culture and leadership (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. 20 Rahman and Youssef, Op. cit.

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Culture, Leadership and Performance 209

entities in the UAE. 21 The government excellence system is aimed at achieving world-class leadership and emphasizes the outstanding performance based on results achieved. The government excellence system is divided into three main pillars (i.e. achieving vision, innovation and enablers) representing the foundations of leader- ship. These pillars ensure that governmental entities will effectively perform its spe- cialized work as specified in the foundation decree in order to achieve its objectives in line with the general government objectives through the optimal use of resources and by the continuous pursuit of learning and development. 22

11.3. Dubai Municipality

Dubai Municipality (DM) is a public entity that plays a significant role in the soci- ety, economy and environment of the Emirate of Dubai in the UAE. It was initiated in 1954 and re-established in 1961 with a decree by H.H. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoom. At that time, it managed few tasks and small number of employees, then it developed over the years and performed a wide range functions that were later separated and delegated to newly created organizations such as Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Statistics Centre, Town Council and public libraries. Now, DM operates with an annual budget that exceeds AED 2 billion, has more than 12,000 employees and manages large vital sectors including environment, city planning, constructions legislations, food safety, horticulture and public parks, and irrigation and sewerage infrastructure. Since the introduction of the Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) in Dubai in 1997, DM has maintained its interest in total quality management (TQM) with an early attempt to achieve corporate excellence and won the Excellence Government Entity award from DGEP in 1998. It has been a strong competitive public entity in excellence programs throughout these years with achievements in all fields and continued to receive awards in different categories including individual, administrative and corporate. The interest in this case study to examine the link between organizational culture and organizational performance came from the external assessment report of 2017 by the DGEP on DM. The report, which was conducted based on the new fourth- generation principles adopted in 2015, stated, ‘Dubai Municipality has established a strong human capital foundation and must now strive to implement an organiza- tional culture and values that will position them as a world-class leading organiza- tion’ 23 This statement triggered thoughts about this case study on the linkage

21 Anon. (2016). SKGEP. Retrieved from https://www.skgep.gov.ae/en/government-excellence-system/ objectives-of-the-government-excellence-system-1 . Accessed on July 23, 2018. 22 Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP). (2016). Training workshop the 4th generation of the government excellence system in Dubai. Dubai: Dubai Government Excellence Program. 23 Dubai Government Excellence Program. (2017). 20th assessment cycle 2017 — Dubai Municipality. Dubai: Dubai Government Excellence Program.

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210 Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman

between culture, leadership and performance to searching for the best ways to fur- ther excellence through improved corporate performance.

11.4. Organizational Culture and Leadership in Dubai Municipality

This case study on DM is to present an empirical evidence of the perceived effect of organizational culture and transformational leadership on organizational perform- ance in this entity. It was presented based on the proposed relation in Exhibit 11.1. That study applied multivariate analysis using both interdependence and depend- ence techniques to analyze the data collected from a survey. High ( > 0.50) and statis- tically significant correlations between variables were observed, indicating the need for dimension reduction using principal component analysis (PCA). The factors extracted through PCA were then used to determine associations between dependent and independent variables with the help of linear regression. As mentioned in the preceding section, classified culture model of Daniel Denison was used to determine the effect of organizational culture on organiza- tional performance and transformation leadership from management perceptions in DM. This model is described by four general dimensions; the first one is the mission culture, where a successful organization has clear sense of its mission and defines strategic goals and objectives towards achieving its future vision. The second is adaptability culture that is driven by customers, takes risks and learns from experi- ence and mistakes. It is also capable of creating and adapting to change. The third one is the involvement culture, which occurs when people are empowered to make

Exhibit 11.1: Independent and Dependent Variables.

the involvement culture, which occurs when people are empowered to make Exhibit 11.1: Independent and Dependent

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Culture, Leadership and Performance 211

decisions, when teams are the centre of organization work and when employees develop capabilities at different levels to stay competitive and meet ongoing business requirements. Lastly, the fourth type is consistency where the organization main- tains a strong culture with shared values among members, thus creating a shared identity with a clear set of expectations. Skilled individuals with diverse points of view are able to reach agreement regarding critical issues and to work together in coordination and integration to get the work done. The response to the survey was 103 out of 209 possible participants (approxi- mately 50%). The majority of respondents (60%) were male, which indicates the dominance of males at the managerial level in DM; in fact, the current number of female directors and managers is only five. Of the sample, 37% were between 36 and 45 years old, and 59% of respondents have been working in the organization for more than 15 years, which reflected a high degree of employee loyalty. Most respondents were holders of bachelor’s (60%) or master’s (27%) degrees, and only one participant has a PhD. Participation from department directors (senior manage- ment) was almost half of the actual number of directors in the entity, and there was a very high response from heads of sections (middle management) (59%) and heads of development and support offices (25%). Such individuals were likely more cap- able of assessing top management leadership style. In terms of descriptive and frequency statistics, the highest and lowest means and standard deviations were observed as well as the focuses were on items with sub- stantial responses. All the items were measured on a 5-point scale, where 5 was the highest score. The highest mean was found on the question involvement culture ‘I’m informed and involved in the work that I do, which has positive impact on the organization’ (4.696). Second highest mean (4.578) was on mission culture which reflects: ‘I understand the organization strategy’. However, the lowest mean (4.167) was on regarding ‘involvement’ getting proper training. The lowest dispersion of data (SD 0.494) was observed in the consistency dimension: ‘I share a set of values that create a strong sense of identity and a clear set of expectations’, and the highest item (SD 0.868) was item 9 on getting proper training. As many as 71% participants agreed strongly on the culture of involvement, ‘I’m informed and involved in the work that I do, which has positive impact on the organization’. Another high score was recorded at 58%, with employees agreeing strongly with the mission culture: ‘I understand the organization strategy’. Also, 56% of participants Strongly agreed to items including: ‘I work on short-term goals on a day-to-day basis activities to achieve the organization vision and strategy’; ‘I understand the needs of our custo- mers and am committed to responding to their changing expectations’ and ‘I share a common perspective and work together to eliminate silos and promote actions that are in the best interest of the organization as a whole’. However, only 40% agreed strongly that they ‘received the proper training to improve my skills and capabilities to be competitive today and into the future’, and 13% of the answers were neutral for the same item. In the consistency culture questions, 58% agreed they ‘share a set of values that create a strong sense of identity and a clear set of expectations’. Concerning transformational leadership, in most cases, the mean values were closed to (4.2). Regarding leader behaviour, there was high agreement on these

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212 Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman

items: ‘My manager considers the moral and ethical consequences of decisions’ and ‘My manager talks optimistically about the future’. However, the issues like intellec- tual stimulation and individual consideration had lower means, which were esti- mated to be 4.108 and 4.137, respectively. The dispersion of data generally was < 1.00 and > 0.8. The highest frequency attributes pertaining to leader behaviour was 52% : ‘My manager consider the moral and ethical consequences of decisions’. For item, ‘My Manager talk optimistically about the future’, 50% of respondents chose frequently, if not always , 34% chose fairly often and 14% chose sometimes . In addition, 35% of participants responded that their managers went beyond their self-interest for the good of the group fairly often . However, there were lower percentages of 45% given for intellectual stimulation and individual consideration. The results on organizational performance reveal minor differences in the mean values, which ranged from 3.1 to 3.8. This indicates that there is room for improvement in the performance results of the DM, as per the requirements of fourth generation of Excellence Model. A higher mean (3.892) was found for ‘We achieved positive results related to the management of financial resources for the last three years compared to competitors’. Generally, the mean of items pertaining to ‘Achieving vision’ was high as well. In contrast, a lower mean (3.186) was seen for ‘the development and implementation of innovation management system’. It is interesting to note that the average variation around the mean (SD) was high ( > 1.1) in innovation results. Also, it was relatively high in results related to ‘the development and implementation of the smart transition plans and policies’, ‘the designing and managing services provisioning processes’ and ‘the development and implementation of risk management plans’, respectively (SD 1.078), (SD 1.029) and (SD 1.007). Generally, the answers were in in most areas and about half , which reflects moderate result, and few items elicited extreme opinions. About 54% chose in most areas for item: ‘We achieved positive results related to the implementation and follow-up of strategy performance for the last 3 years compared to competitors’; 53% for item: ‘We achieved positive results related to the processes quality efficiency effectiveness productivity and improvement for the last 3 years compared to competitors’; and 52% for item: ‘We achieved positive results related to the management of financial resources for the last 3 years com- pared to competitors’. Nevertheless, 30% of participants perceived that the organ- ization sometimes did achieve positive results related to future thinking compared to competitors. Regression analysis was used to test the influence and predict the impact of organizational culture and transformational leadership on organizational perform- ance results as per the fourth-generation Excellence Model:

H1. There is a significant influence of organizational culture on organizational performance/excellence.

H2. There is a significant effect of transformational leadership on organizational performance/excellence

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Culture, Leadership and Performance 213

In Exhibit 11.2 , test results indicate a significant effect of organizational culture on organizational performance as the p -value is 0.00, which is less than the signifi- cance level (a) = 0.05 ( p -value 0.00 < 0.05). Moreover, that result shows that the Pearson correlation (correlation coefficient) of the independent variable, organiza- tional culture, is 0.511, which means that there is a positive relationship between organizational culture and organizational performance as per the fourth generation of Excellence Model results with a β weight of 0.511. Because the coefficient of determination R 2 is 26.1, 26.1% of the variation of organizational performance around the mean can be explained by organizational culture. Therefore, the null hypothesis can be rejected and the alternate one be accepted, while still acknowledg- ing that there are more missing variables. As a result, further research and explor- ation are needed as 74% of the variables remain unexplained. In Table 1, test results indicate a significant effect of transformational leadership on organizational performance as the p -value is 0.00, which is less than the signifi- cance level (a) = 0.05 ( p -value 0.00 < 0.05). Also, it shows that Pearson correlation (correlation coefficient) of the independent variable, transformational leadership, is 0.436, which means that there is a positive relationship between transformational leadership and organizational performance as per the fourth generation of Excellence Model results with a β weight 0.436. Because the coefficient of determin- ation R 2 is 19.0, 19.0% of the variation of organizational performance around the mean can be explained by transformational leadership. Therefore, the null hypoth- esis can be rejected and the alternate one be accepted, while still acknowledging that there are more missing variables. As a result, further research and exploration are needed as 81% remain unexplained.

Exhibit 11.2: Regression Test Results.

Model/

Model 1: Organizational Culture Organizational Performance (ANOVA a )

Model 2: Transformational Leadership and Organizational Performance (ANOVA a )

Regression Test

Results

Multiple R

0.511 a

0.436 a

R 2

0.261

0.190

F

35.623

23.642

p-Value

0.000 b

0.000 b

Standardized

0.511

0.436

coefficients

Collinearity statistics 1.000

1.000

A. Dependent

variable

B. Predictors:

(constant)

Organizational performance

Mission, adaptability, involvement, consistency

Organizational performance

Transformational leadership

performance Mission, adaptability, involvement, consistency Organizational performance Transformational leadership
performance Mission, adaptability, involvement, consistency Organizational performance Transformational leadership

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214 Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman

11.5. Observations and Analysis

The observations indicate that organizational culture generally has a positive influ- ence on DM’s organizational performance. The four organizational cultural traits (i.e. mission, adaptability, involvement, consistency) combined in the Daniel Model of effective organizations had a significant influence on the performance of DM. Exhibit 11.3 presents the application of the model based on DM results. The mission culture: People understanding their organizational strategy and shar- ing an inspiring vision had the most positive effect on DM performance and results. DM has a strong external focus on stability when exerting efforts and striving for achievements. However, in the organizational performance results of this study, achieving vision did not correlate with a high effect. Strategic and vision alignments with work activities and policies are still required to attain complete focus of employees on furthering their performance and achievements. The adaptability culture had a strong effect on DM performance and results with a tendency to be customer-focused after the release of different service applications and establishing four-star standard in three service delivery centres.

Exhibit 11.3: The Daniel Model Application on DM Culture Results.

four-star standard in three service delivery centres. Exhibit 11.3: The Daniel Model Application on DM Culture

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Culture, Leadership and Performance 215

The involvement culture had a contradictory effect on DM performance and excellence with both positive and negative results, which is not clear. For example, the management in DM felt they were highly involved and could per- form with a strong belief about the posit ive impact of their work on the organ- ization. This confidence indicates the h igh amount of power given to leaders and authority to make decisions. Neverthel ess, participants thought they were not receiving the proper training from the or ganization to improve their skills and capabilities to cope with current and f uture changes. Although DM operates a training centre, the training programs s eem not meeting employees’ expectations or enhancing their capabilities and skills . Also, team work was not addressed as the preferable way to do the jobs, althou gh the number of existing teams is high. This points to some missing areas in the formation and performance of these teams. The consistency culture had a weak effect with a lower average mean compared to other dimensions of DM performance and results. DM performance results were adversely affected with low consistency in the current culture, where employees do not share common perspectives regarding eliminating sporadic work and increasing agreement in work environment. This study also found that some recent DM initiatives have promoted corporate values and a positive culture among leadership and employees, and those changes have probably affected employee’s perception of consistency practices. The aim of those initiatives was to build awareness and provide a behavioural guide to imple- menting those values in day-to-day life. A joint team from strategy and human resources departments started clearly defining corporate values for different levels — as an entity, managers and employees — in a practical way. Moreover, DM orga- nized training and brainstorming sessions so that management could define the areas of potential implementation and thus change culture in a positive way. The sessions resulted in establishing a ‘Corporate Value Guild’ with rich behavioural examples for all employees. In addition, there have been continued awareness semi- nars about values and their implementation directed to all employees. Another initiative was the adoption of the ‘Investor in People’ accreditation from UK, which is a structured framework that helps a high-performing organization through an assessment journey. It focuses on three main areas of improvement: leadership, development and support. First, leaders should be role models in values and behaviours should involve more employees in decision-making. Second, the accreditation encourages continu- ous individual development and building capabilities that result in sustainable success. Finally, it supports the work cycle and individual performance management with rewards and incentives. As a consequence of all those activities, the awareness of values has increased by almost 30 points, yet the impact on performance is not attained. Still, more communication and corporate marketing are required with real stories to be disseminated and rewarded. In considering the influence of transformational leadership in enhancing DM per- formance, this case study found significant effect on organizational performance. The findings from a representative sample of management helped the study

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216 Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman

understand the preferences, attitudes, and behaviour characteristics and in a better understanding of the key dimensions of transformational leadership. The question about leadership idealized attributes appears to be a sensitive issue. It identifies leaders who are able to build trust in their followers, and the answers were discreet. It requires leaders go beyond their own individual interests and focus on the interests of the group. The presence of such qualities in leaders matters sig- nificantly to subordinates. Both behaviours and motivation scores were fairly high in DM compared to other results of leadership perceptions. It seems that leaders manifest positive and highly valued behaviours and act with integrity and always consider the moral and ethical consequences of their actions. It is encouraging that they direct their atten- tion on building a commonly shared sense of a vision or mission for their team or group. This result is supported by and consistent with the ‘Leadership Positive Energy Survey’ results, which was conducted internally in DM for all leadership levels. The average scores of that survey were relatively high among leadership. With regard to inspirational motivation, leaders inspire others in the organization. They articulate, in simple ways, shared goals and a mutual understanding of what is right and important. They enhance meaning and promote positive expectations about what needs to be done. Furthermore, coaching people and individualized consideration has also not been exercised widely among leaders in DM, although leaders do attempt to recognize and satisfy employees’ current needs. Nevertheless, they do not expand or elevate those needs in an attempt to maximize and develop full individual potential. Leaders need to set examples and assign tasks on an individual basis. Also, to become transformational leaders, they should provide opportunities and develop an organizational culture that is supportive of individual growth.

11.6. Lessons Learnt

The challenges presented here were expected based on the descriptive and frequency analysis of initial results that imply that DM may find specific areas in which can improve its organizational performance.

11.6.1. Clear Future Thinking

There are common weaknesses within corporate process frameworks in that they lack a clear future thinking policy. Many good ideas and projects may be blocked due to organizational and procedural oversight. While top management may preach the benefits of innovation, middle-managers are still tasked with ensuring optimal performance in the business’s core activities. Another backward practice is the cur- rent suggestion system in which ideas are judged by the same metrics used to evalu- ate activities that the business has been involved in for decades. New initiatives are

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Culture, Leadership and Performance 217

not competed at the same level, and they are dismissed before they are given a chance to prove themselves. Performance metrics often suffer from the same problem. While employees are told to be innovative, failures are not truly embraced as learning opportunities. Failures are still regarded as failures. This creates fear among those who might otherwise conduct worthwhile tests, for example, to help prevent the organization from overinvesting in risky projects. Moreover, employees’ performance goals and compensation packages do not create the incen- tives to do so.

11.6.2. Effective Communication

Internal communications did affect organizational performance in DM related to personal attitudes and information flow in the current systems. One main issue is the personal attitude of some leaders. A number of individuals in top management assume that, because they are aware of some piece of information, then everyone else is also aware. They are not really value communication. Usually, the staff’s lack awareness creates a gap between strategic trends and employees’ daily work focus. Likewise, misunderstanding or interpreting the information incorrectly not as meant and intended by both side’s leaders and followers. This can led to some major pro- blems or issues arising out of the confusion. Because leaders are burdened with bur- eaucracy and due to the organization’s growth in size and branches in different locations in Dubai, more communication and feedback are required. Also, the mis- interpretation of communication is just averse to a high degree of communication, which leads to more confusion arising. Regarding corporate practices, the current organizational communication system is not very effective because it lacks a system- atized reporting system. Although lots of unscheduled meeting are performed besides the regular meeting, the communication effectiveness is not measured. Thus, communication is often inadequate and not timely, hindering the decision-making process and communication, internally and externally. Moreover, there are often many systems in the organization that generate and produce a substantial amount of data that are not classified as open data. The problem is that such data are of real importance and essential to creating valuable knowledge.

11.6.3. Process Synergy

The current work processes and operations in DM are designed not based on cus- tomer focus, but rather according to departmental activities. That approach is an outdated method of workflow and has caused duplications and complications with missing of real time duration in providing the services. Although there are many new services transformations and introduction of smart applications, the absence of a clear intelligence transition strategy causes a loss of future opportunities and per- formance instability.

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218 Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman

11.6.4. Leadership Capabilities

The results show that limited attention is given to associates to develop their cap- acity to think critically and solve future problems. Such an approach will hinder the organization’s ability to solve problems, resulting in low creativity and innovation. This requires creating new administrative talents to play a catalyst in improving DM performance. Therefore, leaders need to continue strengthening their skills to play the expected role.

11.7. Forward Thinking

Given these finding and the above lessons, DM may consider enhancing its culture and leadership capabilities for outstanding and excellent performance, as signalled by DGEP in its 2017 report. 24 Therefore, the following are suggested areas in which improvements could be focused:

(1) Building a culture of innovation should be at the top of the agenda for DM in order to become a top performing organization in the Government of Dubai. The DM leaders may create a culture that supports innovation and advocate a new approach with clear strategies and policies to develop a new image of innovation managers. Also, leaders need to understand what groundwork needs to be laid for an innovative culture to sustain. This can be done by highlighting the different arenas in which employees can be involved with innovation and help employees add value in areas where they have deep knowledge and a desire to get involved. Furthermore, employees should understand the interface between business opera- tions, service development pipelines and customer demand. Managers should also enable employees with adequate training and resources and encourage them to take risks and become entrepreneurs within the organization in a safe space for experimentation without judgment of failures. (2) DM will be at an advantage to take a deliberate, formal approach to ensuring sound communications by developing communication plans (both internally and externally). The current communication system needs to be evaluated and improved in relation to organizational structure, strategy, innovation and talent management. The leaders ought to realize the need for increasing reliable com- munications and make a deliberate attempt to carefully convey information and share knowledge to create a learning organization using new technology such as dashboards. Sound meeting management skills are required to ensure effective communication with employees in frequently scheduled meetings with clear objectives and agenda. Moreover, a periodic reporting system needs to be estab- lished by upper level management that contains achievements, results and chal- lenges with innovative solutions and recommendations.

24 Dubai Government Excellence Program. (2017). 20th assessment cycle 2017 — Dubai Municipality. Dubai: Dubai Government Excellence Program.

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Culture, Leadership and Performance 219

(3) Emphasis needs to be given to high-quality training programs — addressing both behavioural and technical needs to equip DM employees with the required knowledge, tools and methodol ogies to change behaviours, promote cultural values and ensure continuous improvements and innovations to pub- lic services. Continuous training and a wareness programmes are important for restructuring capabilities and me eting the needs of the customers on a continuous basis. (4) DM is likely to reach a strong organizational culture if the team-building pro- cess could be fostered further. Again the lead role should come from its leaders to delegate downward a sense of responsibility to the middle and junior manage- ment to build and lead teams at the organizational subsets to transform DM into a highly empowered, effective and cross-functional entity. HR policies can be re-visited to enhance the reward structure for good team work like in the suc- cessful international corporate world. Such changes may result in increased col- lective achievements and sustain them through innovation, knowledge sharing, mutual respect, empathy and collective understanding. (5) DM may implement Six Sigma to remove variance, raise internal coordination and build trust of customers and employees. DM should continue its ongoing efforts of value sharing to mitigate conflicts and increase agreement. What’s more, alignment of vision, mission and strategy are crucial for cultural synergy:

individuals need to share the same vision. DM has to define and understand its mission and competitive values and convey those findings to its employees in a way that makes them feel that they are doing meaningful work. Thereafter, it needs to provide employees with what they need to bring their tasks in congru- ence with those organizational goals. Finally, it is important to appreciate employees’ accomplishments in order to retain talented people and ensure they progress in the organization in the future. Apart from cultural alignment, all processes and policies need to reflect mission, adaptability, consistency and involvement in all cultural attributes.

All of the above will be more contributory with effective change management plan and leadership growth. Specific management practices need to embed continu- ous change into the mind-set of leaders. It is necessary to construct an organiza- tional culture that underpins an organization’s ability to embrace ongoing changes and adaptability. The Prosci ADKAR Model, which was introduced in DM in the past, may be adapted to facilitate the current call of time to advance awareness, desire, knowledge and ability of its leaders and employees.

Thought-provoking Questions

Question 1

How do you conceptualize the nexus between organizational culture, transform- ational leadership and organizational performance?

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220 Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman

Question 2

Is the Denison model of organizational culture contextually correct to examine the mission, adaptability, involvement and consistency in DM’s corporate culture?

Question 3

Based on the observations and analysis of this case study, examine the strengths and weakness in DM’s leadership and culture.

Question 4

Assess how DM can move forward to improve its corporate culture and leadership style to further its performance and excellence?

Acknowledgements

This article was written by Amna Ahmad Al Suwaidi and Mohammad Habibur Rahman using publicly available information interviews and survey data, and its intention was to provide material for discussion through publication. The authors do not intend to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a situation. The author may have disguised certain names and other identifying information to pro- tect confidentiality. This article was originally published under the Actions and Insights — Middle North Africa title series, in collaboration with the Academy of International Business — Middle East North Africa and Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government. This article is based, in part, on a Master Dissertation at MBRSG, written by the first author and supervised by the second.