THE IMPLEMENTATION OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN UAE’S PUBLIC SECTOR ORGANISATIONS
AL SHEHHI, KHALED
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Several government agencies, ministries, and public organisations have adopted transformational leadership in order for the UAE to position itself as an international business hub and tourist destination. Empirical research suggests that transformational leadership is positively related to job satisfaction, job performance, organisational commitment, and survival. Although the concept of transformational leadership has been implemented in a variety of organisations, little research has been conducted on the challenges of implementing such approaches in the UAE public sector, including key barriers, sources of resistance, compliance strategies, factors that contribute to the successful implementation of transformational leadership and levels of success of the new style. Moreover, these studies have not contextually explained each construct, what exactly hinders and causes resistance to the implementation of transformational leadership, and how organisations respond to obstacles with appropriate compliance behaviours and strategies. Therefore, this study aims to examine these interrelated constructs in more detail in order to develop a theoretical and practical framework that is useful to both scholars and practitioners. Data were obtained from literature reviews, content analyses, thematic analyses and semi-structured interviews with managers and staff in three ministries, including the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Prevention, using the grounded theory principles for data analysis and Nvivo 12 plus software. Starting with the first interview, open, axial and selective coding methods were used to analyse the data. In addition, the frequencies of occurrence of the coding generated by grounded theory were counted to identify the essential elements and categories until the final theory was developed. The results showed that the most critical barriers were cultural barriers, leadership issues and characteristics, organisational structure and management issues, leader-employee relationship, implementation challenges, and employee psychology and motivation. In addition, an analysis of the participants revealed that the new leadership style is met with resistance from both employees and leaders. The causes include inadequate resources and time for implementation, employee cynicism, leadership cynicism, and structural and managerial issues. It was concluded that several strategies could be used in organisations, including employee corrective actions, corrective leadership actions, formulation of appropriate compliance strategies and policies that include several specific strategies and tactics that help management reduce resistance at each level. Additionally, the factors that contribute to the successful implementation of transformational leadership, such as robust and clear vision, idealized influence, inspirational motivation and communication, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration, were explicated in more detail. Finally, the study found that each dimension of transformational leadership is positive and acceptable; however, additional efforts are needed to achieve the final stages of implementation while the UAE organisations are still in the middle stages of implementation. Ultimately, the assessments of successful implementation of transformational leadership so far show a medium level. This study has theoretical and practical implications that contribute to the literature by providing a comprehensive contextual framework that fills the void in the existing literature and offers guidance to managers in these organisations with appropriate and rigorously addressing implementation issues.