It is easy for those who follow the procession of development in the UAE to notice the growing interest in the concepts and practices of excellence. This interest has appeared in many initiatives as awards of quality and excellence, which exceeded fifteen awards in the UAE. This number is not a little bit if we know that in one of the researches published in 2011, 94 special awards of quality and excellence have been monitored in the world. This interest also appeared by launching special initiatives looking beautiful in a spirit of excellence and wearing a robe of innovation and creativity. They are recently expressed by adoption of the high politics of the UAE in the field of science, technology, and innovation. This growth and popularity of the practices of excellence was not quantitative growth as we can find the numbers alone, but it was qualitative growth with the concepts and content. In this article, I will try to highlight the future of both of the government sector and the business sector, the form of functional business, and the ability of Institutional Excellence models in UAE to accommodate those future trends.
The dawn of Institutional Excellence
The concept of Institutional Excellence started to be at the end of eighties of the last century and began developing upwards. In Europe, for example, there were the beginnings of this appearance by the European Foundation for Quality Model EFQM, on which the European Quality Award was built in 1992, which spread and became used in many countries of the world. This model has followed other models in total quality management as the model of Malcolm Baldrige Award in the United States of America, which was founded in 1987. With the passage of time, The EFQM model has been updated more than once, and the last one was in 2013. But the most important event was the exit of Excellence from the mantle of the overall quality in 1999 as the word “quality” was dispensed from most of the of the main and sub standards of model and replaced by the word “Excellence”.
The flexible models of Institutional Excellence have helped applying them successfully in the institution of all sizes, whether they are small, medium or large, as well as the private, governmental and public benefit institutions. This flexibility has also helped persuading the managers to accept their responsibility for applying Excellence in the institution, as the standards suit most departments and the sub-units of work, regardless of the nature of their activity. In addition to the two important practices that were brought by the concept of Institutional Excellence, namely the self-assessment, as any institution can evaluate itself based on the standards of Excellence and know at what stage and at what level it is, and what it should do to become more distinctive. As for the second practice is benchmarking and comparability with other local, regional, or global institutions and the benefit from their experience and their distinctive practices.
This does not mean that the application of Institutional Excellence was an Ideal trip without disturbances. Few companies found that the application of Excellence was not effective and did not fulfill their requirements. The flexibility of the model and its ability to hold many of the initiatives and the development projects was a positive thing for the institutions that have good administrative infrastructure. As for the start-up institutions, they faced difficulty to reach the desired results, and this forced them to select other methodologies closer to the total quality but in a new framework, such as, Sigma six. But these cases were very few compared to the successes achieved by the institutions in applying models of Excellence.
In the United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Quality Award was launched in 1994. Those awards have quickly spread at both the federal and local levels with several developed versions. The latest one was the launch of the fourth generation of the system of government Excellence.
Foreseeing the future a leap forward
The trend towards development of the capacity of the institutions to foresee the future is a clear shift in the administrative practices in UAE. This is due to being differentiated from the typical strategic planning activities that have been closely associated with the needs and aspirations of stakeholders and the internal performance and available capabilities. The goal of foreseeing the future is to achieve leadership, Excellence, and exceeding satisfying the needs and the expectations. Foreseeing the future will be through developing the capacity of the institution to put scenarios identifying the future trends and working to keep pace with them. If we search to keep pace with the future trends, we will find that the innovation which is essential and indispensable would force the institutions to achieve great strides forward. If the institutions integrate the innovation and the continuous improvement methodologies, they’ll get a steady positive pattern of development with the ability to make breakthroughs accelerating the institution towards achieving its objectives. This balance between the work of continuous improvement and the new innovation contains valuable wisdom. One hand, it does not ignore the processes of assessment and improvement by measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of applying work methodologies and the use of the measurement outputs to create suitable improvement opportunities which are studied and applied in an orderly way. On the other hand, the radical change in the concepts of work occurs through new ideas entirely changing our concept of the ways in which the institutions should conduct to achieve its mission. In the UAE, it is clear that the government perception of the importance of foreseeing the future was reflected in several aspects, including the system of the fourth generation for the Governmental Excellence in the country as an entire focus was singled out for the innovation and was framed with the ability to foresee the future and the innovation management.
The governmental sector and the future directions
The Governmental sector plays an important role in identifying the appropriate regulatory policies and frameworks to achieve the general orientations. If we look to the future, we will find important interlocutors on the governmental sector table at the level of countries of the world. In Europe, for example, in a research study recently published by an initiative of Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the future COCOPS financed by the European Union, a number of issues have been identified, which represents a priority for the work of the government sector in the next phase. They require research and scrutiny, including the application of e-government, and the search for effective ways to devote the correlation between the government and the individuals. As well as the necessity to focus more on the long-term strategic planning, relying on the evidence and the data analysis in the government decision-making and the policymaking, and to consider ways to achieve greater coherence and integration between the government services and the search for advanced technical solutions to achieve them.
The future priorities mentioned above are not particularly in Europe only. If we look at the researches of the governmental sector future in other parts of the world, we will find similarity to the extent of conformity in many themes. The Public Sector Research Centre PWC-PSRC published a search on the future of governments based on information from a number of the world countries distributed on the five continents. It summarized many of the recommendations that can be domesticated by the governments of the future. In addition to what was mentioned, it was proposed to avoid closing of the government institutions and the trend towards establishing a network of relationships with other institutions so that they can improve their services, as well as activating the specialization in the work of the governmental sector through the transformation from big governmental institutions offering a wide range of services to small and strongly interconnected institutions having the flexibility that enables them to focus on their mission and the purpose of their creation. As well as the importance of transition of institutions from focus on the work done to measure the effects of such work and the extent of its contribution in achieving the objectives of the institutions in the short, medium and long term.
Recognizing the importance of the Awards for Excellence in developing the public sector is not new in the UAE, Dubai Award for Excellence in Government Performance has been launched in the country since 1997. It is considered one of the earliest awards oriented to the governmental sector in the world. It has been followed by several awards concerned with the governmental sector. We also find that the future orientations observed by the Global Studies about the future of the governmental sector are work plans in progress in the UAE. The involvement of the individuals is an integral part of the governmental attitude towards happiness of the dealers. The unique star system of government services and the e-government of the UAE is not new theme. We can now touch its results through the smart and integrated government services platforms. As for the strategic focus, it is enough to point out the UAE Vision in 2021 and Abu Dhabi Plan in 2030 as examples of the strategic planning, which has become a well-established practice at the government sector institutions. All the excellence awards in the country also give it an important and essential area.
Future businesses Governance
The form of business has developed in several countries, and what characterizes this development in terms of form is the emergence of the concept of Limited Liability Companies, which was first included in the Companies Law which was issued by the United Kingdom Parliament in 1862. These companies came to protect the owners and the partners towards the company’s performance and obligations. In case of bankruptcy of these companies and the consequent financial obligations, for example, the partners are not liable, but within the limits of the amount of their share of the capital. This flexibility has encouraged the individuals to engage and establish a business. However, the strict financial control and the disclosure procedures which became increasingly complex and detailed as time goes on formed a challenge to the limited liability companies. That forced those in charge of those companies to focus on the operational work and the short-term gains as a result of the changes that have been mentioned in the business climate. This is in addition to the vigorous informational follow to those companies. This matter restricted their ability to approve the long-term strategic orientations. The effects of such attitudes and their results need a period of time to appear in the required form. This status would ask a question about models of company governance which are the most suitable for the next stage. The answer certainly depends largely on the nature of countries economy and the enablers and the investment climate in every country. But in the framework of our theme of Excellence in the UAE, we can highlight the family business. Throughout the previous decades, these companies have proven their ability to adapt and grow remarkably in the country. The family companies contribute about 60 to 75% in the gross domestic product of the economy in the Gulf countries. They are nominated to have a greater economic role in the future because of the flexibility that these companies have and the ability to adopt a long-term strategic orientations due to the ability of family owners on the company’s long-term support and the patience to achieve the desired results. It seems that the family companies in the United Arab Emirates United are aware of this matter as there was an agreement of the necessity to modernize the governance of those companies systems to enable them to face the future challenges such as securing a smooth transition of management to the second generation. It was the main topic of discussion at the last conference of the family companies and the leading projects in the UAE. The Excellence practices in the country have allocated a wide range for private companies such as business-oriented awards, such as Sheikh Khalifa Award for Excellence in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Quality Award in Dubai. It is also for the entrepreneurship and the small and medium projects as Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders.
Will the employee remain an employee?
The prevailing pattern in employment is still a contract between the employee and the institution to perform certain work in exchange for a specified salary. The institution provides a bunch of features and benefits for the employee varying according to the job title and the functional tasks. These features include creating an encouraging work environment and providing the required resources to enable the employee to perform his duties. The institution also invests in employees over the long term through training, sharing, empowerment and other human resource management practices, but these stereotypes are changing over the recent years through the orientation of employees to independent work as the results of a national survey conducted in 2014 in the United States showed that 53 million employees are independent and do not work for one company. This number represents 34% of the total labor force. The study also showed that 80% employees, who expressed their opinions and who are working full-time, have the desire to do additional work to increase their income. It is notable remarkable in these results that 69% of the independent employees who participated in the survey think that the technology and the means of social communication have been an instrumental role in facilitating their access to the business. This draws attention to the role of technology in changing preferences and ways of work performance and its effect on the behavior of employees. Several studies were published in this field. What we are interested is the division of the generations by the periods of time when they were born for example, who were born during the period from 1966 to 1976 are called Generation X, Generation Y for those born from 1977 to 1994, and Generation Z for those born from 1995 to 2012. With reference to the existence of minor differences in identifying the years which form the time periods accurately, but there is an agreement on the division in general. It is noticeable in the definition of these generations that Generation Y is associated with technology such as television, radio, and electronic games, while Generation Z is more dependent on technology through using smart phones, portable devices, high-speed internet and social networking sites. This matter provides an explanation about the employees’ tendency gradually towards the independence and reliance on unconventional patterns in the performance of work such as independent work. Some companies welcome this approach because it saves them from a lot of obligations such as compensations of end of service, the social security, the pension and other.
In spite of this apparent orientation towards the independent work, it is not expected to become prevalent at least during the next few years, since not all institutions are able to adapt with such a pattern for performing work, as well as this matter is linked to the social policies followed, plans for of the social development and planning of the labor markets. But at least such a trend raises a debate on the best way to make use of the available human expertise and the extent of need that the distinguished national expertise is in one institution whether it is done through employment or polarization, and whether there is a need to find a way to make maximum use of these energies.
The honor and encourage of the individual excellence have not been lost on the Excellence Awards in the UAE. This has been quite evident in the two governmental sectors; the Federal and local ones, through the medals of the Prime Minister of Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Excellence in Government Performance, medals of Chairman of the Executive Council in Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance, and functional excellence categories in Dubai government Excellence program. This matter is also in honoring of the UAE top creators and pioneers and Abu Dhabi Award to honor those who have contributed with their good work in community service and provided great jobs and services to the Emirate.
The gradation in this article makes us say that the UAE has become a destination of the organizational excellence in all objectivity. Here I recall the opening of the first branch of the European Foundation for Quality Management EFQM in the Middle East in UAE recently. Despite the maturation of excellence practices and its multiple awards in the country, we see that universal institutions consider it an attractive environment and a basic destination which we must be present in.