Author:Sowmya, Damodharan Varadarajan


"It is my duty as the leader of the young people of this country to encourage them to work and to exert themselves to raise their standards and to be of service to the country. The individual who is healthy and of a sound mind and body but who does not work commits a crime against himself and society" His Highness Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

During the nearly forty-six years of its existence, the United Arab Emriates (UAE) has achieved notable successes. In a larger measure, these successes are attributable to the countries leadership and their leadership styles. Leadership in the UAE revolves around its constitution and the rulers of the seven constituent emirates. Each of the seven rulers' leadership styles has played a vital role in the success of the country. Since its founding, one man stands out as having provided an unusual degree of leadership style which has been the driving force in all major aspects of the country life in the first three decades, and it is the Abu Dhabi ruler and UAE president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The creation of the union, growth, and development of the UAE was possible because of the visionary leadership style of His Highness, the father of the nation, Sheikh Zayed (Ziyad, 1982).

As per the FAHR (Federal Authority for Government Human Resources), one of the important values in their mission statement is to develop leadership excellence among employees in Federal Government institutions in the UAE. The FAHR aims to develop leadership skills of people in the UAE in the field of entrepreneurship, innovation, excellence, and quality as well as set policies and laws to improve the quality of services and achieve leadership in all the aspects of the work system (Federal Decree Law No. 11, 2008).

This study is to examine the three different leadership styles in the UAE across various organizations as well as to find out the relationship with relates to the position, age, experience, department, education and various situations. Initially, the authors believed that participant's position, industry, age and different situations would have no effect on the leadership styles employed in a study, and our target was to find the best leadership style. Upon a deeper analysis of the data gathered from various organizations, the results were surprisingly different.

The recent research conducted in the US (Ferguson et al., 2017) revealed an interesting picture about the data which provides rich insights into the similarities, differences, and critical nuances of public versus private sector leadership. The paper is aimed to address the gap in the literature by concentrating on both private and public sectors in the UAE. It focuses on their leadership styles, challenges and prioritizes them in parallel for the most part.

The analysis of the study revealed how the participant's position, qualifications, experience and industry affected the leadership styles. Some very interesting questions and situations have gathered in this report based on leadership style survey. This paper aims to report the findings of an empirical study exploring the relationship between three prominent models of leadership styles using the independent variables Neural Network analysis methods and identify the most prominent influencer of the choice probability of leadership style. The independent variable which relates to the demographic and work-related includes factor such as age, gender, level of education, industry type, levels of management, total work experience, experience in the organization.

The rapid development and changes that have occurred in the UAE in the past four decades are possible due to the qualities and charisma of leadership styles and their decision making (Davidson, 2005). Besides, limited research has been conducted on leadership styles in the UAE context, though it has cited as effective and successful by mouth; it has not studied explicitly. Hence, there are conceptual, empirical and theoretical gaps in understanding the nature of leadership styles and their decision making in the UAE this research will address those gaps.


The Growth of UAE

Few countries in history have experienced, in less than four decades, a huge shift in income and development comparable to that of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the last part of the twentieth century (UAE Ministry of Economy, 2018). The UAE developed a public national educational system in a 45-year period that is like what Western countries established in over a 100-year period. Since the early 1970s, the UAE emerged from relative obscurity in global affairs to become one of the wealthiest and most dynamic countries in the world (MENA Report, 2018).

The UAE is the second largest Gulf Arab economy, and among the fastest-growing economies in the world. Throughout the past 40 years, its GDP grew rapidly, increasing from Dh6.5bn in 1971 to approximately Dh1248bn in 2011, an increase of 192 times. (International Monetary Fund, 2013), The GDP growth rate of the UAE over the past years reached record numbers exceeding those of many developed and emerging countries when the rate of growth over the past five years accounted for 34 percent. (Emirates, 2011). The per capita GDP also increased from the US $10,000 in 1975 to the US $37,622 in 2016 (Annual Economic Report, 2017).

Local and international reports indicate that the steady economic growth the country over the past four decades years is not attributed to energy production and export, as is the case with many of the oil economies. But due to a strategy of diversifying sources of income, and reduction of oil-reliance for the favor of other sectors, such as finanlcial services, logistics, tourism and trade and industry, where the country was able to strike record highs in these sectors and even become a competitor to many economies (Shihab, 2001).

The industry sector in the UAE witnessed remarkable development during the past years regarding the number of establishments, the size of investments and the number of employees. There has also been a significant evolution in the quality of national industrial products which increased their competitiveness edge in domestic and global markets (Emirates, 2011). Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 45 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living (Forbes, 2017). Most of the recent developments in the last 40 years are mostly attributed to the late leader His Highness Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who is still revered for his vision and charismatic leadership style.

Brief of the Leadership Style of His Highness Zayed bin Sultan A1 Nahyan

Leadership is an internal power of convincing the people and bring the best out of them, and the world has created so many leaders who have helped in the progress of the nation. But only an extraordinary leader with a strong belief, commitment, and leadership skills could be able to create a miracle in transforming a desert-like UAE into a modern state which is a real pride of the world now. His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who is the principal architect of the United Arab Emirates and held office as the president of UAE for over 30 years. The leadership style of Sheikh Zayed in the following anecdote he often quotes:

"The Ruler should not have any barrier which separates him from his people."

Sheikh Zayed was an effective leader who catalyzed a vigorous pursuit of national development through the unionization of the emirates into a singular nation with a federal form of government and had a sharp vision, and the most significant guarantee of his effectiveness was the growth of the country during his governance. His success became the success of the country which was a transformation of the vision into a reality (UK Essays, 2015). Sheikh Zayed gained the respect and the love of the people due to his unique leadership style of wisdom. He adopted important principles of far-sightedness for Islamic nations and could earn international recognition as well. His charisma helped him to create a policy to maintain a close relationship with the people (Al Bawaba News, 2007). Sheikh Zayed had an extraordinary ability to construct a nation composed of three major elements, the bureaucratic structure of a modern state, diverse tribal elements, and a federal system. The UAE is a rising international Arab star; by 2021, the Golden Jubilee Year of the Nation, the nation is expected to attain global golden heights of education per capita for GDP, and it is possible due to the visionary leader and the father of the nation Sheikh Zayed (Ahmed, 2015).


Northouse (2012) defines leadership as "a process whereby an individual influence a group of individuals to achieve a common goal". Leadership is a process in which an individual exercises influence over others and inspires them to help and support the completion of a common task. Leadership comes from the word "lead" which means: "to show someone the way somewhere or take them there by going in front of them"" (The Longman Dictionary, 2013). It is obvious that leadership is the way of acting and behaving to lead a group of people to certain common goals or objectives. It requires some personal attributes, interpersonal relations, and a doctrine. Leadership is a process in which an individual exercises influence over others and inspires them to help and support the completion of a common task. The key words are leadership style is to influence, inspire and support.

Leadership is one of the important HR strategy measures of achieving success in any organization. Leadership refers to a group phenomenon, goal-directed and action-oriented group of leaders and followers. Leaders exist with the power of followers. It is important to have leaders to reach success as leaders can influence change in individuals...

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