Chapter 5: Leadership and Organizational Change in the Middle East
Christopher J. Rees, Rashid Althakhri and Aminu Mamman INTRODUCTION In this chapter, we explore the subject of organizational change and development (OCD) in the Middle East from a leadership perspective. The critical factor of leadership in relation to the success or failure of OCD interventions has long been recognized in OCD literature and diagnostic instruments (Weisbord 1976). Yet, despite the transitional nature of the Middle East, we highlight from the outset that there is a dearth of published research that has focused on OCD in this region from a leadership perspective. In drawing on a range of source material, the main objective of this chapter is to identify and discuss a number of key contextual factors that are associated with the leadership of OCD initiatives in the Middle East. The content of the chapter is structured as follows. We first introduce the field of OCD from a general perspective, noting the relatively high failure rates that are reported for OCD interventions. We then explore various studies on the subject of OCD that have emerged from the Middle East. These studies consistently identify resistance to change as a key factor in OCD interventions in this context. Having emphasized the association between leadership behaviour and resistance to change, we subsequently examine how various political, cultural and economic factors are inextricably associated with the leadership of OCD initiatives in the Middle East. We draw on case study material from a public sector organization in the United Arab Emirates to highlight certain aspects of...
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