The UAE holds huge potential for business research was the message from the opening session of the sixth biennial conference of the Academy of World Business, Marketing and Management Development (AWBMAMD), which this year was held in the UAE and hosted by the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD).
The three day conference, held at the Ramada Jumeirah hotel, brought together leading academics and practitioners from 23 nations to discuss some of the key emerging issues around technology, finance, human resources, leadership, ethics, culture and the environment, and how they impact upon practices in business management and marketing.
In her opening address, Professor Valerie Lindsay, Dean of UOWD’s Faculty of Business, said that Dubai’s emerging status as a major business hub made it a fitting location for a conference focussing on key issues in the business world.
She said, “The UAE is gaining attention on the international stage with its considerable potential for economic growth particularly in the context of Expo 2020, which will attract 25-30 million visitors and create around 300,000 direct jobs, as well as one million indirect jobs.
“However, the country remains under-researched in a business context and great potential exists for us to learn lessons from the UAE and its role in the wider region, and to start to bridge this research gap.”
The conference went on to hear from Dr John Foster, Emeritus Fellow of Kingston University Business School, London, about the role of culture in business, another issue pertinent to the UAE’s diverse commercial environment.
Dr Foster highlighted how different business practices that stemmed from different cultures could, on the surface, present barriers to working effectively in a cross-cultural context. However, he went on to conclude that culture was not an insurmountable obstacle, as long as both parties were working towards a common goal.
The conference saw the presentation of over 60 papers covering an extensive range of subjects and focussing on geographic case studies from across the globe. Showcased alongside the work of established academics was the research of two of UOWD’s current doctoral students, Abdulaziz Bin Karam, supervised by Dr Payyazhi Jayashree and Professor Valerie Lindsay, and Salim Ghazvini Kor, supervised by Dr Arijit Sikdar.
Abdulaziz, who is pursuing his DBA alongside his management role with Fujairah municipality, presented his research findings on the factors affecting the employability of Emiratis in the UAE’s private sector, while Salim put forward his preliminary research finding on organisational crises.
This is the first time that the Australian-registered AWBMAMD has held a conference in the Middle East and North Africa region. The organisation, which works to advance, transmit and sustain knowledge and understanding of business, marketing and management development, has a number of refereed publications including the Journal of International Marketing and Exporting and the Journal of Management and World Business Research.
Associate Program Chair of the conference and UOWD Associate Professor, Dr Prakash Vel said, “Hosting the AWBMAMD conference this year has provided an excellent platform to showcase the agility of Dubai’s business landscape – its aspirations, its capacity for innovation and its boundless opportunities for growth.
“The event was hugely successful in putting the UAE on the map in terms of its potential for business research and a number of discussions are already underway for collaborative studies that focus on the region.”