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The Naturalization and Residency Department in the UAE Thesis

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Introduction

Background

In the 21st century, one of the recurring debates in the field of management concerns the fundamental role played by total quality management (TQM) in enabling organizations to accomplish their set objectives, including retaining competitive advantage in the marketplace (Hakes, 1991). Stiff competition for the ever constricting market segment coupled with vagrancies of the macroeconomic has necessitated organizations engaged in profit-making to redesign their functions along with the basic tenets of TQM (Kaboolian, 2000).

Private organizations are increasingly competing at the global marketplace due to globalization and advances in technology, upping the stakes even further for the enterprises to reformulate their strategies through quality management or risk being wiped out by the turbulences of the modern economic environment. Organizations operating in the public sector have not been spared the onslaught, with governments stepping in with performance-oriented approaches in an attempt to streamline public agencies in line with the broader objective of providing efficient and timely services to customers (Wilkinson, 1996).

To remain competitive, modern organizations must initiate processes and practices that dependably meet or surpass the requirements set by customers, not mentioning the fact that they must design processes that aim to curtail errors and attain continuous improvement (Martinez-Lorente et al, 1998). TQM is a management tool that aids organizations to achieve some of these objectives. Ross & Perry (1999) asserts that TQM “…means thinking about quality in terms of all functions of the enterprise and is a start-to-finish process that integrates interrelated functions at all levels” (p. 2). This implies that TQM employs a systems approach that takes into consideration every interaction that influences the fundamental components of the organization.

Leadership and involvement of people are two critical components or principles of TQM that forms the background of any quality management practice. Leadership is fundamentally important since it is at the core of all the other practices and processes aimed at quality improvement (Martinez-Lorente et al, 1998).

Anyamele (2005) posits that not only is leadership a central principle of quality and process improvement, but it is also a medium for positive change. Organizational philosophies, self-development strategies and employee motivational approaches are inherently dependent on leadership (Oakland 1995). In equal measure, it is difficult to achieve quality improvement without involving the people for the reason that quality is largely viewed as a people issue, that is, both employees and customers are instrumental in determining the quality of a service or product. According to Box (1995), the experience of poor quality in organizations is aggravated when employees are either not allowed to contribute towards correcting quality inadequacies or are unwilling to do so.

The Study Context

This particular study will be focused on understanding the role of leadership and involvement of people in the naturalization and residency department in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This public-oriented department is c charged with the responsibility of providing services related to immigration, security, Visa and passports allocation and renewal, nationality, and residence. The department is exceedingly busy due to the nature of Dubai as a duty-free commerce hub. As such, the department serves many people from a multiplicity of nations.

Problem Discussion

Over the past couple of years, a huge volume of literature on TQM and its impact on the business environment has been published. Seminal studies on the subject continue to be undertaken by researchers due to the huge interest associated with the TQM concept. It is the dream of assiduous and conscientious managers to be at the helm of business organizations that have cut a niche for themselves in the marketplace and firmly established themselves on the world map (Zink, 1995).

Yet this appears a pipedream for many enterprises operating in the private sector due to the multiplicity of challenges that are prevalent in the modern business environment. In the public sector, the attainment of such a feat is largely viewed by most agencies as an illusion in the subconscious due to the myriad of shortcomings associated with service delivery in the public sector. According to Alford (2009), bureaucratic red tape, poor remuneration packages, lack of motivation, and poor policy frameworks are largely viewed as an affront to the public sector’s desire to break even in the provision of services to customers.

In the last few decades, however, many governments across the world have begun to offer stimulus packages to the public sector in a spirited attempt to seal the loopholes that have, for a very long time, continued to be negatively associated with the sector. While many studies have been conducted to evaluate how leadership and people involved can be harnessed to achieve success in the private sector, few have been done to highlight how these principles can be actively used in the public sector to enhance service delivery. It is this gap that this particular study will seek to fill.

Aims and Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to critically evaluate the impact of leadership and involvement of people on the success of TQM in the services sector. The specific objectives of the study will include:

  1. Critically evaluate if leadership behaviour and involvement of people has an impact on the application of total quality management
  2. Critically evaluate the role played by leadership on the department of naturalization and residency in establishing organizational systems and processes aimed at supporting TQM efforts
  3. Critically evaluate how leadership behaviour and management style influence employee satisfaction and motivation in the provision of services
  4. Critically evaluate how the involvement of people impact on the successful implementation of TQM in the naturalization and residency department.

Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following research questions:

  1. Does leadership behaviour have an impact on employees to achieve the goals of TQM?
  2. What is the role of leadership in establishing processes that support TQM?
  3. What is the relationship between leadership and employee satisfaction?
  4. What is the importance of the involvement of people to achieve TQM?

Significance of the Study

The value of this particular study can never be underestimated. Efficiency and quality improvements in both private and public organizational environments are increasingly turning into basic necessities as enterprises attempt to manoeuvre their way through the intricate web of challenges of the 21st century. For a very long time, the public sector in many countries, including the UAE, have continued to lag behind in service provision, thereby necessitating respective governments to incur huge losses in governmental budgets as customers go unattended and work targets remain unachieved.

Alford (2009) asserts that the poor levels of service delivery in most public sectors stem from the philosophy of work held by both management and employees, especially on service delivery. As such, this study will come up with a body of knowledge that will outline how such negative philosophies of work can be altered through engaging leadership and involvement of people to spur the success of TQM in the public services sector. In addition, this study will fill the information gap that exists on how leadership behaviour and management style in the public services sector should be modelled to enhance efficient service delivery and satisfaction of employees.

Review of Related Literature

Introduction

In the 21st century, government agencies in the public sector cannot advance and enforce effective service delivery through the proliferation of a plethora of red tape and traditional rules of engagement that are so prevalent in the sector (Alford, 2009). Today, more than ever before, the public sector has to be efficient in the provision of services as a basic prerequisite of ensuring value for the taxpayers’ money that is used to fund various public agencies and institutions (Box, 1995).

It can be argued that provision of quality services is also a fundamental prerequisite for enhancing the image of the public sector towards the realization of efficiency, effectiveness, independence, receptiveness, and transparency. In short, analysts are of the opinion that the public sector, just like the private sector, must go the way of TQM to ensure that customers gets what they want in terms of expectations and service (Zink, 1995). This segment aims to discuss how leadership and involvement of people determines the success of TQM in the services sector.

Definition of TQM

There exist numerous definitions of TQM to reflect the numerous fields and sectors in which the concept is used. Generally, TQM refers to a comprehensive and structured management strategy that is put in place for purposes of continuously improving the quality of products and services in response to continuous feedback (Haigh et al, 2003). TQM, more than anything else, seeks to achieve customer satisfaction, and hence acknowledges that that quality management should be evaluated from the customer’s point of view (Martinez-Lorente et al, 1998). The concept originated in the manufacturing sector, but has since been incorporated in almost every type of institution and organization conceivable, including business enterprises, schools, government agencies, and churches.

Principles of TQM

A quality management principle can be described as a fundamental rule or philosophy for leading an organization, which is aimed at recurrently improving efficiency and performance on long-term basis by increasingly focusing on client or customer satisfaction while tackling the needs and requirements of other stakeholders, including employees (Anyamele, 2005). Going by the ISO9000 standards, there exist eight universally accepted principles of TQM, namely customer-focused organization, leadership, involvement of people, process approach, systems approach to management, continuous improvement, factual approach to decision making, and finally, mutually beneficial supplier relationships (Zink, 1995). This particular study aims to focus on leadership and employee involvement on the success of TQM in the services sector.

Leadership

Leadership is a central facet of quality improvement in any organization as it is the leaders who are tasked with the duty of instituting the unity of purpose and bearing of the enterprise (Anyamele, 2005). The organizational leadership carries the fundamental responsibility for the enterprise in all facets of management, operation, guidance, and performance (Anyamele, 2005). It is prudent to argue that the success or failure of any TQM process is primarily dependent on the type of leadership that is advanced from the top downwards (Box, 1995).

Leaders, through extending their vision and comprehension of purpose, must be able to generate and maintain an organizational environment whereby people are given the maximum capacity to become fully involved in accomplishing the goals and objectives set by the organization. This is one of the basic tenets of TQM.

Leadership is a function of leading, influencing, guiding, and commanding people to follow the laid down procedures. According to Anyamele (2005), leadership entails the capability to influence people towards the accomplishment of set objectives. More specifically, leadership is the capacity to get other people work towards the realization of set goals while still maintaining their confidence, admiration, allegiance, and willing cooperation (Alford, 2009).

Leadership centres on vision, organizational change, and accomplishing results that entails setting the direction for the organization, aligning people, and coming up with viable strategies to motivate them to work harder and contribute more to the realization of the organization’s objectives. It can, therefore, be argued that any TQM efforts led by a leader who does not envisage the organization’s, vision, direction, and objectives is bound to fail.

A leader should always be proactive in leading the people by example. The organization’s leadership should not only comprehend and respond to changes and modifications in the external environment, but should also have the capacity to establish shared values and beliefs at all levels of the enterprise (Alford, 2009). In ensuring the success of TQM efforts, the leadership must also have the capacity to consider and evaluate the needs and requirements of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and the local communities.

Still, it is the central function of organization’s leadership to reinforce trust and eradicate fear among employees, not mentioning the fact that it should have the capacity to inspire, support, educate, coach, and recognize people while at the same time providing them with the necessary resources and independence to perform their duties with responsibility, diligence, and accountability (Wilkinson, 1996). Without these capacities, it would be virtually impossible for the leadership to achieve any goals or targets, let alone making TQM a success in the services sector.

Involvement of People

According to ISO (2010), “…people at all levels are the essence of an organization and their involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization’s benefit” (para. 1). Involvement of people is beneficial in that it does not enhance their motivation and commitment in contributing towards the organization’s objectives, but it also trigger’s innovation and creativity. Involvement of people also makes them to become accountable for their own actions and performance, not mentioning the fact that it arouses eagerness to participate and contribute towards the continuous improvements of organization’s processes and practices (Zink, 1995). What’s more, involvement of people gives them an opportunity to voice their own concerns and ideas, and contribute towards solving the problems that may be afflicting the enterprise. As such, its role in ensuring the success of TQM cannot be underestimated.

Some tangible results are achieved when the principle of involvement of people is applied to TQM efforts. First, people are put in the know about the significance of their individual contribution and function in the enterprise (Alford, 2009). Second, employees readily identify the limitations to their performance, accept ownership of the limitations, and take positive steps to remedy the limitations when they are involved in the daily running of the organization. Through people involvement, employees are also able to evaluate their own contributions and performance against their individual goals and aspirations (Zink, 1995).

This is fundamentally important if TQM efforts are to succeed. Lastly, it is a well known fact that involvement of people makes them to freely share their own knowledge and experience with other employees, and triggers them to openly discuss and seek remedies to problems and issues affecting them. This greatly assists them to focus their strengths and potential in the creation of value for customers, not mentioning the fact that it assists people to derive the much needed satisfaction from their work (Alford, 2009).

TQM in the Public Sector

The public sector is charged with the enormous responsibility of providing services to the public, which may range from healthcare services to public education to births and deaths registration (Kaboolian, 2000). For some time now, the public sector in many countries have been shedding of the traditional bureaucratic approach to services provision to a more rational approach based on performance, efficiency, and effectiveness. As such, it can be safely argued that TQM has already started initiating a new paradigm for management strategies practiced in the public sector (Morgan & Stephen, 1994).

In most cases, efficiency in the public sector is described as the accomplishment of a desired outcome at minimum cost, and links vital resource allocation to service processes. Effectiveness, on the other hand, entails undertaking the right actions in relation to the outcomes that are being sought (Haigh et al, 2003).

Kaboolian (2000) posits that “…over the last decade, all levels of government have embraced the principles and techniques of the private sector focus on quality and customer relations (p. 26). There is sufficient anecdotal proof suggesting that some organizations in the public sector have had substantial success using these approaches. Some public organizations have totally transformed their leadership styles, hiring and promotional strategies, structure, culture, and how employees are involved in the daily running of the enterprises in spirited attempts aimed at extending quality service to their customers (Morgan & Stephen, 1994).

According to Kaboolian (2000), TQM principles such as leadership and involvement of people are more likely to unite the stakeholders in supporting the organizational goals and objectives in addition to clearly defining the organization’s tasks and outcomes. As such, the role of leadership and involvement of people in ensuring the success of TQM efforts in the public sector cannot be wished away.

Methodology

Introduction

This section purposes to discuss the research design, population and sample size, instrumentation and data collection tools that will be used. The section will also discuss how data will be analyzed and pertinent ethical issues relating to the study.

Research Design

The study will utilize both quantitative and qualitative research designs to critically evaluate the impact of leadership and involvement of people on the success of TQM in the services sector. Hopkins (2000) postulates that most quantitative research designs are interested in evaluating the association between variables, and are either descriptive or experimental. It is imperative to note that this study will employ a descriptive approach since the respondents will only be measured once (Sekaran, 2006).

A survey technique will be used for collecting quantitative data among selected employees and customers. According to Sekaran, a survey in the form of self-administered questionnaires is particularly effective when the researcher is essentially interested in descriptive, explanatory, or exploratory assessment of variables as is the case in this particular study.

Qualitative data will be collected by means of interviews. Maxwell (2005) asserts that qualitative research approaches are mostly preferred when the researcher is interested in assessing human behaviour, values, attitudes, preferences, and perceptions, not mentioning the fact that the designs are mostly utilized to generate leads, notions, and concepts which can then be used to prepare a pragmatic and testable hypothesis. Qualitative research designs can use either the case study approach or survey design to collect the requisite data (Maxwell, 2005). The researcher chose to utilize the survey design using face-to-face semi-structured interviews.

According to Maxwell, qualitative designs are extremely helpful when a subject or phenomena under study is too complicated to be responded to by a simple yes or no as it is the case in this particular study (Maxwell, 2005). A comprehensive review of literature will also be undertaken, including a critical analysis of documents and reports availed by the naturalization and residency department.

Target Population and Sample Size

The population for this study will comprise of top managers at the naturalization and residency department, employees, and customers of the department. The sample will comprise of 2 top managers in operation, 50 employees, and 50 customers. The top managers will be sampled through purposive sampling techniques while the employees will be sampled using convenience sampling technique. Sekaran (2006) posits that respondents in a purposive sample are selected based on their understanding about the topic under study while a convenient sample comprise of respondents in the research framework by the virtue of being in the right location or environment at the right time.

Data Gathering instruments

Quantitative data will be collected using self-administered questionnaires while qualitative data will be collected using face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Self-administered questionnaires are cost effective and easy to administer, not mentioning the fact that the can be effectively used to gather confidential and sensitive information from the customers and employees (Sekaran, 2006). According to Maxwell (2005), face-to-face interview are advantageous in that not only does the procedure enable the researcher to create rapport with the subjects, hence gaining their cooperation, but it also permits the researcher an opportunity to investigate further for more information.

Ethical Considerations

Saunders et al (2007) posits that “…ethics refers to the appropriateness of your behaviour in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of your work, or are affected by it” (p. 178). In addition to requesting for permission from the management of the naturalization and residency department to conduct the survey and interviews within the department’s premises, the researcher also took time to explain to the subjects the nature and purpose of the study she was involved in, not mentioning the fact that the researcher kept the subjects in the know about their rights, especially the right to informed consent and the right to privacy. The same was also done for customers

Data Analysis

Quantitative data will be analyzed using a computer software package known as SPSS. Quantitative analysis will include data coding, entry, cleaning, analysis, and interpretation. The software package will then be used to run univariate analyses aimed at generating frequency distributions. The data resulting from the distributions will be further harnessed, interpreted and presented using statistical procedures such as pie-charts, bar-graphs, and normal text. Qualitative data will be analyzed using content analysis technique, whereby data will be reduced, presented, and finally, conclusion drawing and verification made (Sekaran, 2006). According to Stevens (2003), “…content analysis is the systematic description of behaviour asking who, what, where, why, and how questions within formulated systematic rules to limit the effects of analyst bias…It is the preferred technique for analysing semi-structured interviews” as is the case in this study (143).

Reference List

Alford, J. (2009). Engaging public sector clients: from service-delivery to co-production. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. Web.

Anyamele, S.C. (2005). Implementing quality management in the University: The role of leadership in Finnish Universities. Higher Education in Europe 30 (3-4): 357-361. Web.

Box, G. (1995). Total quality: Its Origin and its future. In: G.K. Kanji (Eds) Total quality management: Proceedings of the first world congress. London: Chapman & Hall. Web.

Haigh, B., Morris, D.S., & Nwabueze, U. (2003). Implementation of TQM in the Public Sector. International Journal of Applied Public Sector Management 3(1): 23-37. Web.

Hakes, C. (1991). Total quality management: The key to business improvements. London: Chapman & Hall. Web.

Hopkins, W.G. (2000). . Web.

International Organization of Standardization. (2010). Principle 3: Involvement of people. Web.

Kaboolian, L. (2000). Quality practices in the public sector. In: R. Cole & W.R. Scott (Eds) The Quality movement and organization theory. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc. Web.

Martinez-Lorente, A.R. Dewhurst, F., & Dale, B.G. (1998). Total quality management: Origins and evolution of the term. The TQM Magazine 10(5): 378-386. Web.

Maxwell, J.A. (2005). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, California. Sage Publications, Inc. Web.

Morgan, C., & Stephen, M. (1994). Total quality management in the public sector. London: Open University Press. Web.

Ross, J.E., & Perry, S. (1999). Total quality management: Text cases and analysis, 3rd Ed. Florida: CRS Press LLC. Web.

Sekaran, U. (2006). Research methods for business: A skill building approach, 4th Ed. Wiley-India. Web.

Stevens, M. (2003), Selected qualitative methods. In: M.M. Stevens (Eds) Interactive textbook on clinical symptoms research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Web.

Wilkinson, A. (1996). Three roads to quality: Variations in total quality management in Storey, Blackwell cases in human resource and change management. Oxford: Blackwell. Web.

Zink, K.J. (1995). Total quality management and people empowerment. In: G.K. Kanji (Eds) Total quality management: Proceedings of the first world congress. London: Chapman & Hall. Web.

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