Developing Emirati Leaders - a presentation at the AOM Annual Meeting 2013

Yesterday I attended the discussion paper session "Do Leaders Matter" as a participating author. It was a great session with great participants. Positive feedback and genuine interest shown by all to improve the presented papers and get them ready for publication in a journal.

The Chair (Gina Grandy; Mount Allison U in red), an author and attendees interested in leadership.

The Chair again, more authors and some more attendees. 

Of the four papers presented, ours was the only one to use qualitative methods... but that was OK :) The presented papers, associated authors and abstracts were (copied from the AOM Program website):

OMT: Bean Counter or Co-Leader? A Contingency Perspective on Leadership Delegation to the CFO
Author: Malte Schulmeyer; RWTH Aachen U.;
Author: Malte Brettel; RWTH Aachen U.;

Recently, scholars started to draw attention on forms of co-leadership. Studies so far focused on the CEO/COO duo. We use contingency and power theory to assess, for the first time, factors influencing the CFO’s co-leader role. Specifically, we argue that under conditions of high industry dynamism, organizational complexity, and limited personal experiences CEOs delegate leadership to the CFO which in turn increases CFO power due to higher influence on resource allocation and strategic decision making in the TMT. Using a 6-year pooled sample of 94 German firms we find evidence showing that the CEO’s experiences as well as complexity arising from the firm’s diversification strategy affect leadership delegation to the CFO and CFO power. In addition, we find a positive main effect of the presence of a powerful co-leader CFO on firm performance.

OMT: How Much Do Leaders Matter? Ownership and Governance as Constraints on CEO Discretion
Author: Jonathan Clark; Pennsylvania State U.;
Author: Chad Murphy; Pennsylvania State U.;
Author: Sara J. Singer; Harvard U.;

Leadership and strategic management research suggests that the extent to which CEOs influence performance largely depends on the presence or absence of certain factors. This research suggests that CEO effects may be constrained by the task at hand, subordinates, the organization itself or by the external environment. A fundamental source of constraint that has received little empirical attention is an organization’s ownership and governance structure—that is, who owns and monitors the organization. In this paper, we outline how different ownership and governance structures can constrain leader influence and empirically examine the extent to which leader effects depend on these structures. Examining organizations in the same industry, but with different ownership and governance structures, our results suggest that these structures are closely aligned with the degree to which CEOs influence firm performance. Our findings support the notion that leaders matter most when institutional logics are weak or ambiguous, contributing new insight into the organizational factors that can constrain leader discretion and limit CEO effects on firm performance.

OMT: The Impact of Founder CEOs on Firm Leadership and External Constituents
Author: Nikolaos Kavadis; Erasmus U. Rotterdam;

This paper draws from theory on authority and prior research on founder-CEOs to explain why founder-CEOs are inclined to centralize decision-making authority, and how they materialize such preference. Further, I propose that founder-CEOs have a positive effect to external constituents with whom they closely interact and the source of legitimacy of their authority become most apparent. Based on a panel of large, publicly-traded firms, the results support the paper’s model.

OMT: Developing a Leader-Apprentice Framework Using Grounded Theory in the United Arab Emirates
Author: Sarah Abdulla Alhaj; National Cybersecurity Authority (NCSA);
Author: Constance Van Horne; Zayed U.;

Using grounded theory, this article looks at the role lived-experiences play in developing leaders, as opposed to formal interventions, as well this study seeks to explore the underlying factors that enable young Emiratis to learn how to lead. The findings are illustrated in a Leader Apprenticeship Framework which consists of experiencing influential encounters, dealing and learning from difficult events, and transforming at the heels of a formal-training programme.

This was a discussion paper session, which means that each author (or team of authors) presents a paper that is not their own and suggests ways to improve it so that it will be ready to send to a journal. Often a conference is the first step to present research results to the wider academic community, to get feedback and constructive advice so that when the researcher returns home, he or she or they can work on the paper to improve the chances of publication. (Yes, it is a long process, but it is a process that has developed over centuries and it seems to work!)

In another blog post I will provide a snap-shot of our article (but I can send you a copy if you email me).... I have many notes to go over with Sarah when I get back to Abu Dhabi, and en'shallah we find the time to get it ready for a journal.

The Academy of Management Meeting is not just about getting a line on your CV, it is about the research process and making our research in academia more robust - and hopefully more helpful to one another and for the communities we belong to.


  1. Very intersting topic, Good luck for all specially Sara and you Dr. Conny. Your point in developing young emaratis leader was very good point will be positive in future en'shallah :)

  2. Thank you very much for your kind words!