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Ahmad Salih

DBA Graduate - 2017

Thesis title

The role of leadership effectiveness and DCF-based cultural intelligence Framework in assisting organisations to succeed in UAE


Taran Patel

Dr. Ahmad Salih is an architect by origin, GIS and IT by experience, and project manager/strategist by profession. He has led many cultural change programs and established the project management office within Khatib and Alami in the UAE in 2006. In 2010, he started his academic journey and completed his MBA with a focus on strategy at the Edinburgh Business School in Dubai in 2012. In 2017, he completed his DBA at Grenoble Ecole de Management in leadership effectiveness, Douglasian Cultural Framework (DCF), and Cultural Intelligence (CQ).

Purpose This study aims to report the outcomes of a research conducted within the United Arab Emirates private sector using Hamlin’s (2005) model for Perceived Leadership and Managerial Effectiveness. The study also examines the effects of Cultural Intelligence (CQ) integrated with the Douglasian Cultural Theory (DCF) on leadership effectiveness and/or ineffectiveness.Design/methodology/approach This study, through its post-positivistic and a pragmatic ontological approach to knowledge, takes a constructivist epistemological stance, which is then translated into the deployment of qualitative methodology. The study uses the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) (Flanagan, 1945) with its variation known as CIRC as the main method of data collection in phase one, supported by in depth semi-structured interviews conducted in phase two along with author’s remarks.Findings Our study and its subsequent comprehensive framework provide empirical evidence for sameness and similarity of leadership effectiveness/ineffectiveness in the UAE with those deduced by Hamlin and his colleagues. The study combines aspects from the threes knowledge disciplines (Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology) and CQ and DCF to allow for a national culture-free conceptualization of leadership effectiveness. Our study contributes to CQ and DCF discourse in many aspects: first, the study revives the often neglected role of DCF’s fifth culture (the hermit). Second, the study fills an important gap in CQ’s literature by introducing a transactional and dynamic approach to culture; DCF as replacement to the static and geo-ethnic national culture. Third, by linking CQ’s meta-cognitive dimension and DCF’s hermit, our study provides empirical evidence on leaders/manager cultural adaptation and intelligence. Additionally, our research provides theoretical contributions to four distinct streams of literature: (1) the general literature on managerial and leadership effectiveness, (2) literature specific to managerial and leadership effectiveness in ME countries with a focus of UAE, (3) the literature on CQ, and (4) the literature of DCF.Research limitations/implications As any research, our work has few methodological limitations while opens doors for scholars to pursue future research on more than one aspect. We believe that conducting research on public sector organizations, investigate more on gender interaction with Hamlin’s taxonomy would enrich the application of Hamlin’s model in the UAE. Besides, there are few theoretical limitations detailed in chapters one and seven.Practical implications Through the comprehensive framework of leadership effectiveness and ineffectiveness, our research provides tools to managers as well as organizations who operate outside their homelands. We also provide alternative training methods to managers when they intend to deal with diverse others though our DCF-based CQ framework.Originality/value Covered above.Keywords Leadership effectiveness, Culture, Cultural Intelligence, Douglasian Cultural Framework, UAE, Dubai, Critical Incident Technique, Critical Incident in a Relational Context (CIRC),