Leading and communicating transformational change: A case study of a higher education institution in UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The UAE needs change leaders in higher education who can work on transforming their institutions to offer quality education and equip their graduates with the skills they need in the current competitive knowledge economy market. This study describes the leadership styles of two leaders from one university in UAE and determine the effectiveness of the leaders’ communication efforts during change implementation. The main research question guiding this study is: To what extent does leadership style and change communication influence the success of organisational change? Studies on big change failures reveal that failure is related to change resistance, poor leadership, lack of urgency to change, cultural issues and communication (Zou & Lee, 2008). However, there is a lack of empirical studies about change management in the Middle East and the Arab world in general and in higher education institutions in particular. The literature review examines four subject areas related to the study: organisation change management, leadership, organisation communication and higher education organisations. The study uses a mixed-method approach: questionnaires and interviews to answer the main study question. The results assert the importance of having transformational leaders who use effective communication to change their organisations, and university staff prefer face-to-face communication over other channels. The study findings may contribute to the international change management literature and provide valuable information for practitioners.
Education, Higher -- Administration., Educational leadership., United Arab Emirates (UAE), leadership styles, organisational change