Training Magazine Middle East Q3 2015 - Page 28

We are embarking on an era where the imperative transformation from an oil-based to a knowledge-based economy in the Middle East is incurring important considerations concerning different types of leadership towards that end.

In the Gulf states, and particularly in the Emirates, the multiplicity of nationalities (involving both leaders and personnel to be led) offers a rich choice of management styles and personalities. It is natural that UAE executives should figure largely in defining and developing the style of leadership in the region. This factor is strongly buttressed by the support and encouragement of rulers such as Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi. Nevertheless, the Emiratis are fully aware of the advantages of utilising foreign managers from nations such as the USA, Germany and Britain, given their long Western experience on a global scale. Also the important trading and other commercial connections with the Far East encourages due attention being paid to management and leadership styles of such countries as Japan and Korea.

In the post-war period, leadership styles have been studied and analysed by organizational culture experts for decade after decade. American leadership naturally followed their military success in World War II and their precepts dominated managerial thinking until the mid-1970s. The German miracle, the Japanese miracle and, more recently, the Korean manufacturing successes gave the world more options in planning business strategies. Since the turn of the century the LMR cultural model invented by Richard D Lewis has gained ground in western universities and business schools, as well as being adopted by the World Bank, in clearly defining a tripartite organisational division, paying adequate attention to Asian concepts, including leadership, which had been hitherto largely neglected by cross-culturalists. The LMR, or Lewis Model, is illustrated by the following two diagrams:

Middle East analysts will observe that the Arab countries, notably the UAE, are categorised as Multi-active cultures in the tripartite classification.

This will have important repercussions as to how Emirati leaders will interact not only with their own subordinates, but also with employees and indeed leaders who belong to the other two categories, namely the Linear-active and Reactive divisions.

Even more interestingly, the interactions of personnel at leadership level assume even greater significance in a multinational conglomerate where, for instance, executives could hail from such sources as American (Linear-active), UAE (Multi-active) and Korean (Reactive).

Cross Cultural Feature

cross cultural FACTORS

in the middle east

BY RICHARD D LEWIS

28 | TRAINING MAGAZINE MIDDLE EAST Q3 2015