Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Surveying Organizational Effectiveness: A Case Study from the United Arab Emirates

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Surveying Organizational Effectiveness: A Case Study from the United Arab Emirates

Article excerpt


The change and improvement process within an organization is influenced by multiple factors. Organizational change has traditionally been considered to be part of a specific change imitative or a continuous quality improvement process (Hay, Busby & Kaufman, 2014; Gage, 2013). Change processes are time and effort intensive, as well as costly. Most organizations eventually run into the question of which costs can provide the biggest return on investments. Sadly, organizational effectiveness has traditionally not been associated with a maximum return on effort and investment. The failure of organizations to view their effectiveness within the holistic context of the overall organizational framework is all too often an acknowledgement of the failure of the organization to directly address the realities of capitalism.

The university utilized in the study is a public institution of higher learning offering baccalaureate and graduate degrees in the fields of engineering, business and social sciences. The university is located in the northern portion of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Education in the UAE has undergone significant transition since the establishment of the nation over 43 years ago. These changes have been greatly influenced by many factors associated with the impact of colonialism and the desire to develop the tools to independently shape the national identity (Alhebsi, A., Pettaway, L., Waller, L., 2015).


For the purpose of this paper, systems thinking was considered in the tradition of organizational effectiveness established by Argyis, Schon, and Senge (Argyis, 1999; Bertalanffy, 1950; Jackson, 1995; Rosenblueth et al., 1943). Senge (1990) defines systems thinking as "a discipline for seeing wholes. Systems thinking is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static 'snapshots.' It is a set of general principles" (p. 68). Due to the dynamic nature of systems theory, ontological implications can be derived based on certain theoretical applications of systems theory in the real world (Jackson, 1995). However, theoretical systems models can also be used as epistemological devices to explain and explore current real world perspectives (Jackson, 1995).

Due to the nature of quantitative research, the epistemological position of this study is rooted in rationalism. Rationalism implies that knowledge is a result of the human mind's desire to know the truth. This perspective supports the belief that human reasoning alone can ascertain the truth. However, the nature of some of the quantitative tools involved in this study (such as the survey of organizational effectiveness) might also be viewed as empiricist in nature (Jackson, 1995).

A 39-item organizational effectiveness questionnaire was utilized to identify primary dimensions shaping employee perception of the organization's levels of institutional effectiveness. Upon completion of this study six dimensions were identified as critical underlying dimensions (factors). Data from this study were collected with the intent of developing and implementing strategies in support of the organization's continuous improvement processes within critical function areas. Findings are also intended to guide individual components in implementing plans for organizational improvement (Rashidi, 2015). Thus, these efforts culminate in the development of a sendee improvement methodology, which is directly used to support the organization's performance management systems. This methodology for improvement is consistent with the literature and has been designed in alignment with the organization's overall vision, mission, goals and objectives.

Although many informational sources may be employed in these improvement plans, the institution and individual components may effectively utilize information provided by organizational effectiveness questionnaires, such as the one used for this study (Rashidi, 2015). …

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