Summary of the Pertinent Facts of the Case
The Ministry of Affairs is comprised of multiple units, and cooperation among them is essential to the Ministry’s efficiency as a whole. Each unit has a clear hierarchical structure, and they share the common organisational culture of transparency and a commitment to work. Staff members value teamwork, and they operate from a mission to increase the Ministry’s productivity and professional success. The Ministry cooperates with multiple mass media, other UAE ministries, and consulting companies in the external environment. Thus, its internal organisational events are often disclosed to the public.
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The unit described in the case is responsible for policy-making, harmonisation of all units, and control over compliance with assigned responsibilities. Therefore, the unit is of great significance for the smooth execution of the Ministry’s internal and external operations. The important staff members in the unit are Ahmed, Salem, and Haman. Ahmed is a newly appointed manager of the division responsible for the development and running of applications.
Ahmed is dedicated to his work, yet he does not have any experience as a manager. He enjoys a great personal relationship with Salem, his superior manager; in fact, Ahmed actually attained his current position thanks to Salem’s help rather than his own competence as a manager. Salem is known as a conservative manager, but at the same time, he encourages the career growth of those close to him. Haman is another section manager, and his main objective is to become a top manager in the unit. In comparison to Ahmed, Haman has sufficient experience to earn a higher-level manager position, and since Haman has a strong moral obligation to comply with ethics and to reward professional merit, he begins to disrupt Ahmed’s plans.
Ahmed’s appointment to a new position has multiple adverse consequences. First, his lack of experience and appropriate qualifications results in the division’s poor performance. Moreover, Haman’s disapproval of Ahmed as a manager interferes with communication between their divisions and compromises cooperation. Haman suppresses all of Ahmed’s decisions, and these problems also contribute to a developing mistrust and insecurity among employees. Certain Ministry projects are at risk of stagnation or even failure, and this dire situation in the unit draws the attention of other ministries’ managers who conduct a thorough investigation.
Appraisal of the Situation in Relation to Broader Issues, Theories, Concepts, and Principles
The identified problems are primarily related to issues of leadership and ethics. Ahmed’s manipulation of personal relationships in order to attain career growth and Salem’s encouragement of Ahmed’s work in an area outside his professional competence may be considered violations of organisational standards and ethics. But it is possible to say that compliance with ethical principles of professional behaviour is of tremendous importance for the political and administrative entity because that compliance will reflect the national authorities in public.
According to the theory of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSP), compliance with the principles of transparency and ethics creates a positive organisational image and increases the quality of responsible corporate social performance, which is especially important in the public sector (Idowu, Capaldi, Zu, & Gupta, 2013). Through the adjustment of the organisational strategy and leadership goals with the principles of corporate citizenship (CC), the Ministry may get the chance to further develop loyalty among the public, to enhance organisational culture, and to increase employees’ motivation, which in turn can positively affect working productivity and efficiency.
However, CC implies a high level of managerial self-regulation because the organisational leaders are usually regarded as company representatives; therefore, it is critical for high-level management to comply with organisational ethics and to share equally organisational values among all other staff members. It is possible to say that the failure of the unit’s leaders to follow the rules of ethical conduct impugns the Ministry’s efforts to be a good CC.
According to the principles of Ethical Leadership (EL), high-level managerial groups need to make decisions based on fairness, responsibility, and respect (Mihelic, Lipicnik, & Tekavcic, 2010). Leaders are regarded as the main contributors of the dissemination and incorporation of ethical values into the organisational culture. Thus, the efficiency of EL determines the extent to which subordinates might accept the principles of ethical behaviour in the workplace and then comply with them.
Through the consideration of universal and specific local principles of ethics, leaders represent their organisations as good CCs and then improve their corporate reputation overall. Researchers distinguish many levels of ethics applicable to multiple organisational contexts; however, the major levels are hierarchical, legal, professional, and political. Consideration of each is vital for implementing successful leadership strategies.
Hierarchical ethics relates to the organisational culture relevant to professional roles. In most organisations, professional roles are structured in a hierarchy, and within that hierarchy, each staff member has a particular position (a specific professional role) associated with particular responsibilities, norms of behaviour, and set duties. Hierarchical ethics is related to operating within the area of professional responsibilities and following prescribed standards of behaviour. It is possible to say that hierarchical ethics refers primarily to higher levels of organisational hierarchy which are usually endowed with greater authorities and power (Treviño, Weaver, & Brown, 2008).
A leader’s compliance with expected behavioural norms, his or her ability to think clearly and without prejudice (both positive and negative), self-discipline, and reasonableness hold ethical implications, while violation of hierarchical ethics may have adverse social consequences in both the internal and external environment.
The legal level of ethics interprets the legal norms, laws, and human rights from the point of view of morality. Legal ethics deals with the interdependence of morality and law. Since both law and ethics aim to educate people and to regulate them, legal ethics strives to activate the moral aspect of human behaviour at both universal and narrower, regional organisational or even individual levels. Within organisations, the legal level of ethics may be implemented through corporate legal regulations and policies supporting ethical decision-making, stimulation of ethical activity, and relationships among personnel (Ekici, & Onsel, 2013).
In the evaluated case, it is possible to judge Salem’s decision to appoint Ahmed to the position of manager from the point of view of legal ethics. Although there may be no particular policy forbidding the promotion of an employee according to personal preference, Salem’s behaviour provokes doubts regarding the appropriateness of his decision, especially in the context of an organisational culture that values hard work and professional merit.
Professional ethics is associated with the ability to comply with specific requirements imposed on the representatives of a profession. For example, professional ethics of managers and leaders are related to their ability to guide organisations, implement business strategy, develop organisational culture, and engage subordinates in working processes through constant communication and by conveying necessary information (Atta-Panin, 2013).
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Leaders also need to comply with high standards of morality in their decision-making. In the evaluated case, Salem could not perform his professional ethical standards as a superior manager because he failed to take timely measures to prevent evolving conflicts between Haman and Ahmed. At the same time, Ahmed experiences difficulty in fulfilling his managerial duties and he acts out of the domain of his competence. In this way, he is also unable to comply with professional ethics.
The political level of ethics refers to objectives, merits, and values of politics. The major goals of politics (in both a universal and limited sense) are fairness and peace, and political authorities should strive to fulfil these goals through regulation of conflicts, support of human rights, and development of political order. On the broader scale, political ethics requires organisations to comply with national political objectives and with public policies (Ekici, & Onsel, 2013).
Still, it is possible to say that organisational political ethics has a communicative structure which implies the application of theoretical knowledge in a way to ensure peaceful coexistence of individual employees. Thus, the ongoing conflict in the analysed case demonstrates that all three managers fail to comply with the principles of political ethics. Their unit needs to adopt policies that will guarantee regulated conflict management and stimulation of political accountability.
Assessment of Plausible Alternative Strategies
Collaboration among units is essential to the Ministry’s productivity and efficiency. Thus, one potential strategy aims to develop the unit’s team integration through the realisation of regulatory policies. The main indicators that contribute toward successful team integration are a unit’s focus on organisational goals, its commitment to work, a free flow of communication, and a culture that rejects and denies excess criticism (Ibrahim, Costello, & Wilkinson, 2015).
Based on this, the strategy is comprised of several steps: 1) clear formulation of desired goals; 2) design of regulations and policies aimed at achieving set goals; 3) development of a culture that motivates employees; and, 4) adoption of new communication patterns for the dissemination of information about any organisational change. Implementation of these strategic steps may increase managerial (Salem’s) control over personnel activities and may also help resolve conflicts between Haman and Ahmed, by forcing them to follow organisational rules.
However, while focusing on regulations and on an increase in control, the strategy does not necessarily ensure the managers’ compliance with ethics or the integration of ethical values into the corporate culture. Therefore, the emphasis on strategy development should be on changes in leadership style.
The second potential strategy aims at the development of Ahmed’s managerial competence. Since he does not possess the skills necessary for high-level management, this strategy focuses on training that will help Ahmed achieve better performance, improve problem-solving skills, and enhance his abilities to supervise divisional operations. The strategic phases are
- admitting Ahmed to a two to three-month training course;
- hiring of a personal counsellor to help Ahmed improve daily performance;
- shifting toward independent operation only after completion of this comprehensive training.
This second strategy may help Ahmed to develop the necessary knowledge to maintain the productivity of the unit and to improve corporate communication with Haman. However, the success of this strategy depends on many subjective factors and even on Ahmed’s personality traits. Moreover, this strategy will not improve Haman’s attitude toward the situation, and could even make it worse by demonstrating to Haman that Ahmed is maybe more appreciated by the organisation at large than he is. This level of training and having to hire a counsellor also imply financial expenditures, so this strategy is associated with incurring additional costs.
The third strategy is EL strategy. This strategy boasts a larger scope and requires the participation of all three leaders. It aims at organisational adoption of ethical values, leaders’ strict compliance with principles of ethics, and integration of these values into the corporate culture via communication with all staff members and an increase of accountability.
My Action and Strategy
EL strategy may be regarded as an integrated approach to resolving the current problems in the unit. The strategic phases are 1) generation of ethical values and development of policies; 2) conduction of a high-intensity training course for the unit’s leaders (within two weeks); 3) implementation of newly adopted principles by which to measure leadership performance; and, 4) dissemination of information within the unit via communication with subordinates.
Another important strategic action is to call for Ahmed’s resignation from his current managerial position. He should be appointed to the post that best matches the area and the extent of his competence. This decision aligns with new organisational ethical policies, and such a strategic move would help to maintain the Ministry’s positive public image and prevent undesired turmoil in the media, in case the situation with Ahmed’s appointment and its negative consequences were to be revealed. The position of division manager should be held by a competent employee chosen from the Ministry’s personnel by means of reasonable measures, i.e. interview, evaluation of skills, and consideration of past work experience.
The strategy should be initiated in coordination with the Head of the Ministry. The minister will control the unit leaders’ behaviour, making it possible to achieve sustainable positive results in the realisation of EL strategy.
EL is regarded as a vital element in the fulfilment of corporate missions and visions. It serves as motivation for the achievement of both long and short-term goals (Mihelic et al., 2010). Overall, EL indicates the moral health of an organisation and it may thus be regarded as the main foundation of corporate sustainability and success.
Analysis of Generalisations
The findings of the case analysis make it clear that the efficiency of a leader’s operation is grounded in sound and open interaction with individuals and agents both inside and outside of the company. In many cases, poor organisational performance is caused by ineffective leadership; therefore, high-level management of any private or public organisation, in any area of operations—commerce, marketing, or logistics—needs to implement leadership strategies that consider specific aspects of business conduct such as ethics, CSR, and conflict management. When all the aspects of strategic decision-making are taken into account, management becomes more efficient, better able to avoid errors that might jeopardise a company’s stability and productivity.
In regards to private, for-profit enterprises, it is notable that the concepts of EL and CSR may provide substantial support for the development of competitive advantages in the market via the fulfilment of stakeholders’ interests, an increase in customer loyalty and attraction, and the integration of higher value into offered products or services. By increasing CSRs, organisational leaders may enjoy the opportunity to expand focus, which can help them overcome crisis situations and attain a more sustainable position in the market.
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Ibrahim, C. K., Costello, S. B., & Wilkinson, S. (2015). Key indicators influencing the management of team integration in construction projects. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 8(2), 300-323. Web.
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