The Role of Transparency and Leadership in the governance of UAE Organisations

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The dissertation seeks to determine the extent to which transparency and good governance has been advanced in the organizations of the United Arab Emirates. In the past, the Middle East and North African countries had rated low in international surveys, compared to other countries in terms of transparency and corporate governance. The incidents involving Dubai Ports World (DP World) and the federation’s largest holding company, Dubai World, fuelled the general perception that UAE corporate culture is generally opaque. The financial crisis and ensuing global economic recession had also taken its toll on the UAE as it had with both developed and developing countries alike. The global crisis underscored the importance of transparency and good governance particularly in the area of global investing. Mindful that the UAE will need to attract foreign direct investments to recover quickly from the crisis, the UAE leadership embarked upon a mandatory program for transparency and good governance for all organizations within the federation. This study surveyed 150 managers in UAE profit, non-profit, and business organizations, and measured their perceptions as to their transparency in ten data disclosure categories, across seven disclosure criteria. Recall data was collected in the form of the respondents’ perception of transparency before and after the good governance decree was implemented. An interview was likewise conducted on aspects of the transparency of DP World in particular and UAE organizations in general. The study showed that significant improvements have been noted for all three types of organizations, but the improvement was more substantial for government organizations and more formal or technical for business organizations, with much room for improvement for the latter. Economic effects of transparency are inconclusive at this point
leadership, transparency, UAE organisations, United Arab Emirates (UAE), corporate governance, corporate culture, financial crisis, global crisis