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DBA student presents findings on cultural influences at international leadership conference

Thursday, 7 August, 2014

Ms Amira Kamali, a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) student at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), has showcased the preliminary findings of her doctoral research at the International Conference on Management, Leadership and Governance 2014. Amira is being supervised on the DBA program by Dr Payyazhi Jayashree, Associate Professor (HR) and Associate Dean (Education), and Prof Valerie Lindsay, Dean of the Faculty of Business.

The paper, entitled ‘Leadership development programs (LDPs): A review of contextual and cultural factors and how they impact LDP effectiveness’, was selected for the conference following a double-blind peer review process by academic specialists in the field. It was recognised as one of the top two papers from PhD students presented at the international gathering of leadership experts, which this year was held at Babson College, Massachusetts, USA on 20 and 21 March.

As a HR Specialist with Dubai Municipality, Amira’s research is closely related to her professional practice. She has been responsible for designing leadership development programs at the Municipality for a number of years and, through her DBA studies, is looking to support the future development of effective leaders in the UAE government sector.

Her paper presented a conceptual framework that identified key contextual factors, including national culture, which might influence the design of LDPs and impact on the success of such programs.

Amira said, “In the Dubai Strategic Plan for 2015, leadership is one of the most important areas that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum is focusing upon. The development of leaders is a national priority and substantial investments are being made to advance the skills of Emiratis working in Dubai government organisations.

“However, these programs predominantly utilise Western leadership development approaches, and tend not to consider the influence of national culture, particularly in the selection, training, and professional development of leaders. That’s why my research is not only concerned with identifying the effectiveness of LDPs, but is also considering the contextual and cultural factors that have the potential to impact their effectiveness.”

Amira, who is also a graduate of UOWD’s Master of Strategic Human Resource Management program, is aiming to become a specialist in the field of leadership development programs at a national level.

The conference was an exciting and rewarding experience for Amira, who is among the first of UOWD’s DBA students to present their research findings on an international stage.

She said, “It was a great experience as it was my first time presenting a paper at an international conference. I had the chance to meet the experts in the field of leadership from different countries and to share knowledge with them.”

“I was so lucky at this conference as my paper was recognised among the best from PhD students at the event. I just missed out on winning the top award, but I will take this as a challenge to work even harder for the next conference.”