Since I began teaching at Zayed University, the first assignment I give students in an essay…. It began with the topic, “Men are better managers than women” (to both my female and male students), then “Management is…” and now “Management is important to the UAE because…”.
I have always had brilliant essays and well thought out work (and some rushed assignments which reminds me of my own undergraduate courses) – and sometimes the simplest arguments, with solid evidence are the essays which receive the top marks.
This past essay is another case in point. When my 29 male Emirati students were asked why management is important to the UAE I got some interesting answers. In general they said that there are scarce resources, so we need management to ensure that the benefits of a finite resource are available for future generations. We need management because there are over 200 cultures and nationalities working in the UAE – and we need to work together to achieve a common vision, although we do not have a common background.
Some spoke of issues of the day such as the dress code – and that new residents and visitors should have information about what is proper and what is not to wear – and also why, explaining the culture and the importance of modesty.
A few others spoke of management innovations such as Saeed (the traffic police in Abu Dhabi) and Mawaqif (metered parking in Abu Dhabi) and others spoke of managing projects such as the Burj Khalifa. Economic diversification was mentioned by more than a couple, and how Abu Dhabi and Dubai need management to plan and organise the development of the tourism industry.
Two students cited my blog (yes, feels even better than receiving an apple J) and more than a couple cited Abu Dhabi 2030 (OK, I might have sent them the pdf and suggested it might be a good document to start from).
All of them agreed though… management is important, and that the basic steps of planning, organising, leading and controlling (feedback) can be used in all different situations and are a very simple process to use and reuse to make sure things get done, the way they were supposed to, in the time allotted and with a happy workforce.
Because, they all know that the greatest resource in the UAE is not oil, it’s …