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Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) can be regarded as one of the factors contributing to the economic growth of the UAE. Clearly, the efficient government is central to attracting investment, facilitating entrepreneurial activity, and the overall development of the economy. Therefore, such incentives as DGEP are essential for any country. The program has proved to be effective in Dubai, the emirate that has become an international financial and travel hub, a location of heavy investment in such fields as tourism and real estate (Ahrens 2013). Mandatory participation in some categories can be seen as one of the most influential factors contributing to this success.
It is necessary to note that participation in the program is voluntary except for a number of categories. These categories include “Distinguished Government Authority” (large organizations), “Distinguished Government Department” (small organizations), and “Distinguished Government Employee” (Ahrens 2013, p. 584).
The categories can be regarded as major pillars of efficient public service as it is crucial to make sure that large organizations, departments, or smaller entities, as well as each employee, were committed to the concept of excellence. Ahrens (2013) stresses that public service entities (and each employee, in particular) are willing to participate and compete for the award, which has a significant value to Emirati people. Nonetheless, it is important to take into account such factors as the fear of failure, workload, lack of enthusiasm, and commitment to the concept of excellence.
Alhubaishi and Ahmad (2014) state that there is certain competitiveness among Emirati public service entities as people can address any of these organizations in any emirate. At that, there is still a monopoly as people tend to address their local entities. Thus, employees in governmental organizations may be reluctant to invest extra effort to make their entities competitive.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the major categories (mentioned above) should be mandatory to make sure that all entities will participate in the competition without any excuses or attempts to underperform. The award system can sometimes be less effective than the system of regulations and assigned tasks. Therefore, it is important to keep the mandatory categories and continue using various methods to encourage public servants.
Dubai and the Other Emirates
All the emirates strive for excellence when it comes to public service. They all use the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) excellence model (Jabnoun & Khalifah 2015). At that, DGEP is also seen as a model to follow. For instance, the Emirate of Ras Al Khaima has used both models to develop the Sheikh Saqr Program for Government Excellence (SSPGE) (Jabnoun & Khalifah 2015). It is clear that Dubai’s program is regarded as a successful model that can be used as a guideline in addressing governance excellence. This appreciation is a certain kind of evidence of Dubai’s leading position in achieving governance excellence. More importantly, the overall performance of Dubai also shows that the emirate has an efficient government.
Other emirates lag behind, and Dubai can be regarded as a leading emirate whose experience should be used as a model (which can and should be slightly changed to address local peculiarities). Other emirates show quite low results (compared to Dubai’s scores) in their attempts to implement governance excellence models (Jabnoun & Khalifah 2015). The gaps associated with governance excellence translate into the overall satisfaction of people, as well as the economic development of emirates.
Of course, there are various issues contributing to economic success, but effective governance is one of the primary stimuli for such growth. The pace at which the changes occur in other emirates is also quite unsatisfactory. Emirates’ governments started paying more attention to the implementation of governance excellence models in the 2000s. At, Dubai has worked on the implementation of the program and its improvement for decades. This can also be a factor contributing to the gap between Dubai and other emirates.
At that, some entities’ experiences and results show that other emirates can also achieve high results in addressing quality issues. Alhubaishi and Ahmad (2014) consider the case of Ajman Free Zone Authority (AFZA) and claim that the organization can be characterized by a high level of governance excellence. One of its most remarkable benefits is that the organization uses a customer-centered approach but still pays much attention to the needs and satisfaction of all the stakeholders, which is often a gap in governance excellence effort. Nevertheless, it is possible to note that a recent effort to focus on governance excellence shows positive shifts in all the emirates’ performance. Other emirates are becoming closer to Dubai’s success.
Making DGEP More Effective
Although it is evident that DGEP is an effective governance excellence model, it can be improved. One of the recommendations that could improve the effectiveness of the program is associated with awards. A specific feature of the reward system of SSPGE is associated with the improvement of the emirate’s government. This model is characterized by the use of a reward system combining organizational and individual performance (Jabnoun & Khalifah 2015).
The reward system presupposes rewards to high-achievers, employees whose performance is excellent and outstanding. However, the scores are not confined to the assessment of employee’s individual performance. The performance of a unit is also taken into account. Therefore, employees are encouraged to assist their colleagues to perform better and achieve organizational (or their unit’s) goals. Employees are not concerned about their own achievement, which can be associated with the lack of cooperation within teams, units, organizations. Clearly, this approach is beneficial for the improvement of the overall performance of governmental entities.
Another way to improve the model is related to effective collaboration among the stakeholders. The model implies the cooperation between different entities that share knowledge and experience. Of course, this sphere should be further developed. At that, it is possible to involve customers in a more efficient way. There is a certain effort as the incentive concerning complaints is highly publicized through media.
However, it can be beneficial to start a deeper collaboration with customers. Thus, people can provide their feedback and come up with ideas concerning quality improvement. It is important to detect malfunctions (through the system of complaints), but it can also be helpful to understand the needs (that are constantly changing) of customers. Moreover, it is possible to launch another award for the most active citizen committed to improving the emirate’s development.
People should know that their opinion matters and they can really change something. The award can encourage people to be creative and share their ideas as they will know that their effort will be appreciated. Of course, this incentive should be publicized through various media including television and the Internet (especially social media).
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Ahrens, T 2013, ‘Assembling the Dubai Government Excellence Program: a motivational approach to improving public service governance in a monarchical context’, International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 26, no. 7, pp. 576-592.
Alhubaishi, HSH & Ahmad, SZ 2014, ‘Stakeholder-oriented service excellence: the case of Ajman Free Zone Authority of United Arab Emirates’, Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 1-18.
Jabnoun, N & Khalifah, M 2015, ‘A four quadrant strategy for improving government performance in Ras Al Khaimah’, International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 32, no. 8, pp. 786-798.