Iraq can be considered as a cement manufacturer due to the abundance of raw materials and availability of expertise and technology. There are numerous cement plants existing in several areas of Iraq. Although being an exporting state of cement, it has recently become an importer due to insufficient production in the local market as well as the poor conditions for almost 30 years. Iraq has faced difficult circumstances which began from the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s (Marr, 2018) the Gulf war and economic blockades in the 1990s and the Iraq war in 2003 (Chatelard, 2009) and the war against terrorism followed, which significantly affected the industrial sector in Iraq including cement plants, causing a shortage of production capacity, as well as the apparent lack of power supply and prescription in many mechanisms of productive units (industry.gov.iq). Recently, after Iraq declared victory against terrorism and the launch of building and reconstruction efforts, this industry needs to be paid necessary attention owing to the announcement of the Iraqi prime minister in 2017 (pmo.iq).
It is a proven fact that the cement industry is one of the most strategic industries as mentioned in many literature reviews (Wang et al., 2013) because it is directly linked with the reconstruction and building. The strategic success of this industry also requires various factors, the most important being the strategic leadership (Cater & Pucko, 2010).
Today, there is a dire need for a strategic leadership for working in business organizations as it is undoubtedly tough to work in these organizations (House et al., 2013); this is because there one needs to interact with individuals inside and outside the organization, which requires great attention to strategic leadership and the strategic leader's role who has the utmost ability to think strategically (Leroy et al., 2018) to make decisions capable of keeping up with the rapid changes and high risk environment, in addition to visualizing the desired future of the organization, directing its financial and human energies toward achieving the strategic goals (Kurucz et al., 2017).
A number of studies in this area have proven that the effective strategic leadership leads to innovation, creativity, excellence, leadership and promoting competitiveness (Bolman and Deal, 2017) and these have recorded many success stories in this area. Various studies have shown that strategic leadership can be considered as one of the major and crucial pillars for the success of a variety of organizations (Schoemaker et al., 2013). This largely depends on attracting qualified efficiencies that holds the capacity of dealing with the accelerating changes in the work environment and fierce competition at every stage. This is where strategic leadership is mandatory to cope with changes and developments in such environment.
To sum it up, the primary objective of this paper is to explore how strategic leadership affects organizational success in Iraqi cement industry.
It became evident that leadership plays an important role in organizational behaviour studies because, since 2000, organizations have spent $50 billion per year on the leadership development (McCallum and Connell, 2009). In recent studies, it is also pointed out that strategic leadership has many tasks and roles to perform such as vision, leadership and strategy development, responsibility for implementation and strategic application, building culture and resources, maintaining sustainability and building competitive advantage. Both individuals and teams are assisting to evolve strategic leadership to generate direction, balance and commitment which is required to achieve sustainable performance of the organization.
In general, strategic leadership can be defined as the ability and wisdom to make decisions about goals, strategies and tactics, through the combination of leadership and management on the one hand and strategic intent with tactical events on the other (Pisapia, 2009). This helps in strengthening the ability to mold the future of organizations with a vivid vision of a mechanism that can aid in achieving goals and aspirations briskly. Consequently, strategic leadership has become a process of transition of an organization by being in the place where its leader wants it to be (Dess et al., 2014).
Vision is defined as the state that embodies the ambition of the organization and the organizational goals that induce convincing mental images of individuals. It is a lucid image of what the organization will be like in the future. The critical aspects of leadership are to have an explicit vision and be able to communicate it clearly and precisely.
High level of cognitive activity
The knowledge activity extends to all the organizational processes by clearly defining its role in the strategic field of identifying alternatives and differentiation between them (Pisapia, 2009). It represents the knowledge base that enables the use of knowledge in solving problems and taking the right decisions without any hesitation (Donate and De Pablo, 2015).
The importance of Strategic Thinking (ST) is that it is a competitive tool suited for the global competitive environment and that the organization's strategies and limits are for achieving the highest profits (Baloch and Inam, 2009). Some think that ST is not just a mere reflection of strategy. Accordingly, the need for ST seems to be immense and became an integral part of the strategic development process as it plays an important role in strategic planning; this is because ST demands developing options for a long-term strategy (Graetz, 2002).
By the introduction of digital economy, Information Technology (IT) has redefined the world economic concepts (Anthony and Patrick, 2013). IT defined as computers and related digital communication technology has extensive power to reduce the cost of coordination, communication and information processing. IT has successfully redefined productivity, education, social and political landscape of the world.
Change to the future
The change to...