Women Leadership Styles in United Arab Emirates

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Women in the UAE have given the opportunity to pursue higher education, and to work in the business world for becoming a business leader. Although women are encouraged to join the business world, they are not yet allowed to hold the top positions within a business organization in the UAE. There are a few instances where women leadership are visible, but the opportunity for women leadership should be stretched to different areas of the business world. Women would manage the household chores, take care of the children, and the elderly persons whereas men are supposed to work outside for earning for the family, it is the traditional ideology in the Muslim culture. But the religion is distinctly declaring the equal rights for men and women in the society. Following the law of equality, as per the religious regulation, the UAE has successfully established laws that ensure the right to work, right to manage a business, and right to receive all the social benefits for the women in the country. An observation shows that the participation in the higher education by emeriti women are more than 80% but the study finds only 14.7% of these women are joining the workforce in the UAE (Addullah, 2015). The good thing is that women are participating in the business world and it is increasing gradually. And most importantly women are taking up the leadership position in the various business industry in UAE. The most motivating fact is that women from the UAE demonstrate a keen interest in exercising business opportunities for becoming a business leader, which helps us grasp that UAE women hold the potentials to turn out to be the future business leaders of the country. Apparently, in the UAE women have more practical business ideas; and it is found that an increasing rate of women entrepreneur can be seen in the UAE (Kargwell, 2012). Besides, the women leadership style should benefit an economy, because approximately half of the population of a country is women and if that population does not participate in the economic growth of the country then the growth of the would be slower than expected. Patel and Buiting (2013) identified the difference between the women leadership and men leadership styles, they have shown in their report that women take decision differently compare to the men, and the inclusion of women in the leadership improve the actual performance of an organization. As a matter of fact, it seems to be very important to identify different women leadership styles and corresponding issues with those identified women leadership styles in the context of UAE.

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Aim and Objectives of the Research

This paper aims to investigate the leadership positions that are being held by women in different industries in the UAE. The paper also aims to find out the leadership styles that are being followed by the emeriti women, their motivation style, management policy, contribution to the organizational decision-making, and the role of the UAE women as an independent entrepreneur. And the ultimate goal of this research paper is to identify different women leadership styles and the impact of women leadership in the business organization. The achievement of research aim involves achievement of certain objectives:

  1. To Identify different women leadership activities in different business industries
  2. To define women leadership styles in different industries in the UAE
  3. To differentiate between men and women leadership styles
  4. To analyze the impact of women leadership in a business organization

Importance of the Research

This particular research is important because it examines the current situation of women leadership in UAE, and it provides us an insight on the positive or negative impact of women leadership on business organizations. Also, the study will help to identify whether UAE women possess required management skills for joining in the leadership positions of different business organizations. Another important aspect of the research study is that it identifies the reasons for which women participation in the leadership positions is significantly low in the country. The research also identifies the difference between women leadership styles and men leadership styles; subsequently, it shows how women leadership is more effective or less effective compared to the men leadership style. As the research study is conducted on different women who are already working in the different business organization so, the research should explain types of leadership activities that are being carried out by women in the different positions in the country. Moreover, the research will help us identify whether gender aspects affect decision-making ability within an organization, in essence, the research examine the biases existence in promoting women to a leadership position. It is very important to figure out the level of organizational supports provided to women compared to men. And finally, the study measures the impact of women leadership in an organization, in essence, the study will try to figure out how does the women leadership helping an organization.

Research Limitations

The research is aimed to be carried out in the UAE but there are very few works of literature available that are written on the UAE women leadership. Existing pieces of literature are mostly written by North American scholars, and the research ideas are developed based on the current works of literature. The cultural difference in UAE may have a huge impact on the findings of the study; UAE is a country that follows Islamic rules and regulations whereas western countries have different religious rules and regulations. The cultural views towards the women in Muslim countries widely differs from the cultural views of the western countries, but the existing writings provide a constructive framework for the research.

The research is survey-based research so the questionnaire might not be able to acquire all the information needed, or the respondents may choose not provide accurate information on certain issues. The sample size will be only 65 which might not be an adequate number to draw a conclusion on the population. In spite of these limitations, the project should have a significant importance as the study will help to improve the knowledge on the women leadership styles, also it will add new information to the works of literature on the topic. In brief, the project is important because it studies the women leadership styles in the UAE which should help us understand the women leadership phenomenon in the middle east countries, moreover the study provides substantial primary data for analyzing women leadership practices in the middle east region.

Government Policy and UAE Women

The UAE government has a very supportive policy for improving the women empowerment, the country promotes gender equality actively and a positive result of gender equality is distinct in the country which is way better compared to other Gulf countries. Although the government of UAE is promoting gender equality; but there are some concerns regarding the existing laws of the country. A thorough study of the Laws of the country depicts some questionable policy of the government that literally does not help to eradicate gender discrimination from the country.

A note submitted on the 45th session of the committee on the elimination of discrimination women (CEDAW) reported all the notable gender discrimination in UAE, a summary of the notes is presented below. In the article 25 of the UAE constitution, it is clearly described that all individuals are equal before the regardless of their sex, origin, religious belief, and social status. But in Article 39,56 and 110, the law is clearly discriminating women from the men as the law is saying women must obey their male guardian, cannot divorce unless if it is a special case, and must take care of their husband and child. In the case of marriage, the government policy is discriminating, the law forbids women to marry a foreign national; in the case of marrying a foreign national, an emeriti woman must take prior permission otherwise the women lose her citizenship. Also, an emeriti woman cannot transfer citizenship to her children if she marries any foreign national. On the contrary, a man can marry a foreign woman and make the foreign women a citizen of the country, also can pass the citizenship to his children. The law also discriminates in terms of inheritance which suggests that women shall receive one-third of the assets while men shall receive two third of the assets. The government policy of UAE violates the freedom of movement of the women in the country, the article 29 of the constitution says women can have the freedom of movement but they need to obtain permission from their male guardian or husband in order for traveling outside the country boundary. The report has shown that there are very few statistics available on the domestic violence but the social survey suggests that there is evidence of domestic violence on women in the country but the women do not complain about the issue because of the indifference of the police, while the police think it as a private domestic matter. Women participation in the political affairs is comparatively lower than other sectors, and only 22.5% women participation can be observed in the political affairs of UAE. Emeriti women tend to pursue a higher degree and they have access to education in the country whereas emeriti men receive education from abroad. The constitution says that the emeriti women face serious discrimination in the workforce as they are not allowed to work in all the available positions, moreover they cannot work at night or cannot join any work without the permission of their male guardian. It is evidently declared in the report that only 5% women have access to a leadership position in the UAE business sector and only 30% women have access to a decision-making position in the public sector.

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Although the government of the country is trying to promote women empowerment through various activities, the legal policies of the country seem to impose a barrier to these initiatives. The discrimination context implies that the government policies regarding women should be positively changed towards the benefits of the women in the country.

Women and Education

The emeriti women get access to the higher education domestically but if an emeriti woman wants to study abroad, then the government policy will discourage her from pursuing a higher degree from a foreign country. Majumdar and Varadarajan (2013) assert in their paper, the encouraging educational policies of the UAE government resulted in an increasing number of women receiving tertiary level education in the country, especially in Dubai. They also mentioned in their report that introduction of business schools in Dubai has helped the women to become skilled for the workforce and to become and entrepreneur in the country. Abdullah (2015, p.10) mentioned in his article that a significant percentage of emeriti women are enrolling for higher education because of two reasons; the first one is the strong government support and the second one is the availability of segregated and cost-free education. Blended learning in the country is also gaining popularity and women in country appreciating the gender segregated education, although study suggests women prefer to receive the on-campus education rather receiving distance training. The government policy on women education and current scenario of women higher education in the UAE show a positive synergy, and the women of the country are positively responding to different initiatives of the government.

Women and Employment

With the increase in the number of women in the tertiary education in UAE, the number of working women in the country has also increased. The women of the country have become significant for the economic development of the country. Kargwell (2012) reported a dramatic increase in the women entrepreneur in the UAE and AlKhaleej (2010) there are more than 11 thousand women entrepreneurs in the country who are contributing $3.7 billion to the economy. The introduction of business schools in the country could be a reason for motivating women for becoming an entrepreneur (Goby and Erogul, p.6, 2011). Shallal (p. 2, 2011) indicated that in the UAE women participation rate in the workforce is 59% which is far better than other Gulf countries. Despite the significant contribution of women to the UAE women, the number of female participants is small compared to the total labor force of the country. And reasons for the lower participation are female employee hiring restrictions in a company, restrictions on women geographic mobility, and limitation in occupational choice are considerable (Shallal, p.3, 2011). He also mentioned how government initiatives are helping in improving women employment in the country, yet he finds that women participation in the private sector is still challenging (Shallal, p.4, 2011). Although the concept of women employment and empowerment is a modern concept in the UAE, the country has been representing a remarkable improvement in ensuring women participation in the workforce. Studies are suggesting that women participation in the labor force is gradually increasing and perhaps the idea of women empowerment will soon be accepted culturally in the country. The government support in establishing women equality in the society is noticeable but there are still problems in the private sector. So, the study is suggesting a research in the private sector, and I am assuming that the research will reveal that there is significant evidence of gender discrimination in the private employment sector in the UAE. The survey will be conducted on working women that would provide further evidence of gender discrimination in the job market in the UAE.

Women and Leadership Styles

Within the organization we can observe the presence of many types of leadership styles, however, there are three popular leadership styles that are discussed the most in literature which are transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles. Leadership is connected with the peer, supervisor, and subordinates (Merchant, p.34, 2012). Merchant (2012) distinguished the leadership styles of women and men in her article where she concluded that women leadership style is much of a taking care leadership whereas men tend to take charge of the followers. She finds a significant difference in the communication styles between men and women leaders. Moreover, she concludes that due to the gender issue women face more difficulties while working in a leadership position, and leadership position is more focused on achievement rather on gender. In brief, gender is not an issue in pursuing leadership position but due to the caring behavior women sometimes fail to achieve the leadership goals. Transformational leaders usually motivate their subordinates to become super proactive, they go beyond their call of duty, come up with creative solutions, and do everything necessary for achieving the organizational goals. On the contrary Transactional leadership is formed through exchange relationship where subordinates are rewarded for better performance or vice versa, and Laissez-Faire Leadership refers to a complete failure in managing subordinates (Vinkenburg et. Al, p.4, 2012). Vinkenburg et. al concluded that to get promoted to a leadership position a woman should focus more on exhibiting transformational leadership skills development, and promotion to a leadership position is not gender biased. They also concluded that usually women display more transformational and transactional behaviors and less ineffective behavior than men (Vinkenburg et. al, p.11, 2012). Likewise, Patel and Buiting (p.18, 2013) find that women naturally show transformational leadership behaviors and men usually exhibit transactional leadership behavior. Women are obtaining leadership position through entrepreneurship, a report shows that women are creating their own wealth by setting up new business and managing the business effectively (Barclays, 2013).

In the UAE, the number of female leaders is significantly increasing but the number is small compared to the total number of people in the workforce. The UAE women are taking leadership position by starting their own business rather working in an organization. There are three major reasons for which women in the UAE are starting their own business rather than joining in a full-time position, the reasons are motivation from their social network, socio cultural constraints, and Institutional barriers (Madichie& Gallant, p.83-85, 2012). Their study identified that women feel the need for creating something with lasting financial value, and financial gain along with work time flexibility can be considered as a reason for starting a new business. Women in the UAE have to behave within the socio-cultural context of the country such as religious restrictions, family support, and urge to avoid interaction with men (p.83-84). Although women in the country face different institutional barriers for starting a business on their own, among these institutional barriers obtaining a suitable physical business location, financing, and logistics setting up are considerable to different women entrepreneur in the country (p.85). Apart from starting a new business, women in the UAE are actively working in different positions in an organization, and the number of working women is higher in the public sector than in the private sector. Interestingly, a majority of the working women joined in the workforce not for the financial gain but for respect, service, and challenge (Shallal, p.6, 2011). He also identified that modern UAE women do not want to join in a position that is dominated by men, also they do not desire to work side by side with men due to the social norms in the country (p.8).

UAE Culture and UAE Women

The culture of the UAE has been changing from the very beginning of their Bedouin life to the modern lifestyle. The UAE is predominantly a Muslim country, so the culture, political system, societal norms, and ethical framework is constructed based on Islamic Shariah. According to researchers the local population of UAE is tribal in origin because they established the traditional society of the UAE. A woman’s place in the society is distinctly visible in the country, she keeps the name of her father even after the marriage. A woman is supposed to listen to her father before her marriage and supposed to listen to her husband after her marriage. Also, a woman receives “mahr” at the time of a marriage from the groom which is considered her own property and she can do anything she wants with that “mahr” (Abed &Hellyer, p.99, 2011). Although the country has no obligation to people for practicing other religion. According to the culture women are supposed to take control of the household; from taking care of the elder people, children to managing all sorts of day to day household chores. The education system of the country allows women to take higher education and educational institutions are gender segregated. Women in the UAE usually do not play any significant role in politics, as the area is considered as male domain (everculture.com). But the culture of the country has been gradually changing especially in the terms of defining women roles in the society. The government is trying to uphold women participation in the economy and different initiative by the government are proven to be successful. Many women in the country are joining the workforce and studies suggest the number of women entrepreneur is increasing in the country.

As women are working in different business organizations, so the study of the organizational culture is crucial. While working in an organization, a woman has to work with male employees along with the female employees which are a significant issue in the UAE culture. Also, Shallal (2011) mentioned that emeriti women usually do not like to work with the male-dominated organization. In an article Almazroui (2012) quoted that “Emirati families follow a tradition that prevents women from mixing with men or working in the same environment”. On the contrary, teamwork is necessary and every organization’s culture should emphasize teamwork for better performance of the company. Hiring a woman in the leadership position raises the question of effective teamwork as women in the UAE do not prefer to work with men; moreover, the cultural norms prohibit women working with unknown men. Also, different industry should have different organizational cultures that should affect the performance of a company that hired women in the leadership positions. Alhadhrami (p.235, 2013) concluded that managerial leadership competencies are not only influenced by the cultural practice but also are influenced by gender, education, age, industry, and experience. So, it is cleared from Al-Ahram’s conclusion that organizational performance can be affected from hiring women in the leadership position especially in the context of UAE, but the cultural practices of UAE should have a limited impact on the idea of using women leadership in the organization as it totally depends on the performance of the leader-manager. The Arab culture put greater importance on human relationship and productivity skills such as broker, facilitator, mentor, and innovator (Alhadhrami, p.238, 2013). Female manager exhibit better-brokering skills than the male managers, also female managers are gifted with nurturing qualities and persuasive negotiation skills (Idris, Hong &Mansur,p.173, 2012).

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Concepts of leadership in the UAE

Leadership is the process of motivating subordinates to work towards the attainment of organizational goals (Inyang, p.1, 2013). In order to understand the concept of leadership, the essential issue is to understand the context of leadership. Leadership is not management, although many people confuse leadership with management. Although the leadership and management are not the same concepts, they are inextricably linked and bound to function together for achieving organizational goals smoothly (Murray, 2012). According to Murray (2012), leadership and management must go together, the manager must define the purpose of assign tasks to the subordinate, and must show a nurturing behavior. The government has heavily invested in management and leadership training in the UAE to establish a culture of productivity and effectivity in the workplace (Khalifa &Suwaidi, 2012). These training provided by the UAE government promote strategic thinking, business judgment, inspiring others, managing people, and developing people (Khalifa &Suwaidi, p.49, 2012). Leadership and management have a number of similarities including working with people, effective goal management, and influencing followers (Management study guide, 2017). Leadership is based on building trust with employees, effective management, and subordinate, and initiation of teamwork (Kotter, 2011). Exploratory research on leadership has been going on for long period of time and the concept of leadership is changing with the time. Leadership is perceived as a process of goal setting, motivating, subordinates, and achieving organization, on the other hand, management is strategically planning and successfully executing the plan with the help of human resources.

Current Research

In a general perspective, the concept of leadership has been biased against women, whereas men have always been considered as managers everywhere around the world. The concept of leadership in UAE does not exhibit any difference from the general concept, it emphasizes a male dominated environment. The cultural and contextual condition of UAE does not provide an ideal environment for women leadership. The concept of UAE leadership supports managers to be hard on issues and to be soft on people, so literally, it is pointing towards male dominant leadership environment (Gates, 2015). The social and cultural circumstances of UAE have a significant impact on the roles of man and woman in an organization while acting as a transformational leader (Khalifa, p.41, 2012). According to Rahman and Said (2015), “The UAE’s Leadership initiated an NPM and post-NPM inspired reform where an emphasis on service quality, excellence, and innovation became at the government essence, leading to a major performance improvement”.

Literature Review

Leadership is the ability to motivate people to strive for achieving the organizational goal. Dubrin defined it the following way, “Leadership style is a leader’s combination of attitude and behavior, which leads to certain regularity and predictability in dealing with group members” (Randeree & Chaudhry, p. 2, 2012). Randeree and Chaudhry (2012) identified that two vital issues that impact the leadership style which is job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The study findings suggest that in most of the industry of the UAE job satisfaction is heavily influenced by salary, company culture, nature of work, direct manager behavior, and company leadership; however, direct manager behavior heavily influences the employee commitment. In support of the idea Alsalami, Beheri, and Abdullah (2014) assert that senior managers are critical for not only setting organizational goals but also for the execution of the organization’s strategic plan. Many researchers find that among the modern management styles transformational and transactional leadership are the most effective styles of leadership which initiate innovation (Sabir, Sohail, & Asif Khan, 2011; Vinkenburg et. Al, p.11, 2012; Merchant, 2012). A study on the leadership styles in the cultural context of UAE was conducted by Alsalami, Beheri, and Addullah (2014) to measure the impact of transformational leadership on the organizational innovation. The result of the study concluded that transformational leaders enhance employee motivation, organizational commitment, and improve performance with their behaviors that usually exhibits idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual simulation, and individual consideration (Alsalami et. Al, p.73, 2014). To find out the difference between the impact of the women leadership style and men leadership style on the performance of the organization Paustian-Underdahl, Walker, and Woehr (2014) conducted a meta-analysis on 95 studies and concluded that men and women do not differ in perceived leadership effectiveness. They further concluded when considering other opinions that women are found to be more effective leaders but when considering self-rating, men rated themselves as more effective leaders than women. Vinkenburg et. al (2012) find that women managers usually show more transformational and transactional leadership behaviors compared to men. Women usually exhibit caring, inspiring, innovative, and motivational behaviors when they are acting as a manager in an organization (Patel & Buiting, 2012). Social interaction with followers is considered to be one of the most important components of leadership style and women usually exhibit a different communication style that foster close relationship with the followers. On the other hand, men exhibit a power oriented communication style that foster an authoritative leadership style (Marchant, p.32, 2012). Reviewing different works of literature that argue women and men leadership styles have no significant differences, Marchant (2012) found that, although it is distinct that there is no significant difference between male and female leaders, the studies failed to prove that the leadership style of men and women are the same. After reviewing articles that argue that women and men exhibit different leadership styles, Marchant (p.40, 2012) was convinced to conclude that men and women follow different leadership styles and these differences are extremely situational; also, men and women both are better leaders in different positions. Different psychological theories of perception suggest people perceive a message differently even when the same is the message communicated in different styles. So, if the communication style of men and women are different when communicating with the followers, then the influencing ability of both men and women should be different, and therefore the leadership style of women would be different than men’s as well. Studies are suggesting that women are being neglected in many areas of leadership, especially in politics women are not being able to acquire leadership position so easily. Even in the western countries like the United States women leaders are not very welcomed, which is very clear from Hilary Clinton’s criticizing invisible barriers in the American Society (GE, P.31, 2017). If a country like America is not welcoming women leadership in politics then we cannot even imagine having a women political leader in the UAE where the society believes in men dominant politics. Studies are suggesting that women participation in the politics in the UAE is very low; however, studies are suggesting the number of women participation in the business industries are increasing which can be considered as a positive sign of women leadership development.

Apart from working in the private and public sectors, women in the UAE are becoming an entrepreneur at an interesting rate. Itani, Sidani, and Baalbaki (p.412, 2011) mentioned in their paper that the “UAE women have been increasingly marking their presence in society as ministers, civil servants, university professors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, secretaries, administrators, media personnel, police force, army members, and businesswomen”. They also identified that most of the working women usually work in a female dominant industry which was identified in some other studies discussed in the previous sections of this study. The main motivation for these women to start up a business is not financial need, but rather gaining social recognition in the country and in the family. There are many barriers for the women in the UAE for becoming an entrepreneur and for achieving a business leadership by establishing their own business, among these barriers lack of business management knowledge, family concerns, and traditional UAE society are the most significant barriers that are stopping women from becoming a successful business women as well as a successful business leader (Itani, Sidani& Baalbaki, p.417-418, 2011). Women are still underrepresented in senior positions and top departmental leadership positions in the UAE and seem to hold some departmental leadership positions in the government but they are still very small in the private sectors (Kemp, Madsen, & El-Saidi, 2013).

The actual question is does the inclusion of women in the business leadership positions helps the economy of a country? Does it help the organization they are working for? And should the business organizations of the UAE hire women in different leadership position within the organizations? The study of different kinds of literature is suggesting that (discussed in this paper) in many cases women proved to be an added advantage for the economic development of a country. It is also found from the review of different pieces of literature written in the women leadership style that women are more effective leaders than men as they show more transformational and transactional leadership traits than men. Gartzia and Engen (2012) found that men leaders usually pay less individual attention, show less emotional intelligence, and use less effective communication styles, which also supports the findings of Vinkenburg et. al, Patel and Buiting, and Marchant. Better leaders increase the effectivity of the company operations using their strategies and increase the productivity of employees using their influential behaviors which essentially help to improve the organization’s performance and profitability. So, it can be concluded that women leadership style helps an organization to increase its profitability. The third and most important question is should the organizations in the UAE hire women in a different leadership position? The literature review does not provide a clear answer to the question due to the lack of enough literature written on leadership styles of men and women in the UAE. This study focuses on identifying leadership traits exhibited by the emeriti women and analyze whether emeriti women exhibit transformational and transactional leadership traits or not.


The study was conducted among 65 randomly selected men and women from the UAE who are working in different sectors in the country. The sample was selected following the approaches of simple random sampling, but all the participants of the survey were working class people. No students were selected for participating in the survey. Participants of the survey were clearly advised that their input would remain anonymous to others; also they would have a right to withdraw from the survey. It was explained to the survey participants that if they wish to withdraw their participation from the study for any reason then they are allowed to do so. One hundred and fifty men and women were randomly selected from a list of employees of different public and private organizations in the UAE and they were contacted with the invitation for participation in the study. Among these 150-selected people 90 people responded to the invitation with positive feedback and cordially asked the researcher to send them the written questionnaire. The questionnaire of the study was distributed to all these 90 people who responded positively to the invitation via email. And finally, 65 responses were received from the respondents which are used to calculate the sample findings. A response rate of 43.33% was achieved which was unexpected, but the resulting quality of a survey does not depend on the response rate of the survey. Although many researchers believe that at least 60% response rate should be achieved for a better survey result but empirical studies on the issue concluded that response rate of a survey may not be associated with the quality of the representativeness of a survey (Johnson &Wislar, 2012). Considering the participant’s background and the quality of responses it can be said that the participation rate should not affect the quality of the result of the study. The written questionnaire that was used to collect information from the respondents contained a set of preliminary questions for cross comparison of data; these preliminary information requests were 1. age, 2. Gender 3. Designation 4. Industry in which the participant is working. Then the participants were asked to provide their considered rating for 18 written statements on a five-point Likert scale; these numerical responses were used to conduct an analysis of the information. The survey questions consist of written statements that will assess the psychological preferences of the respondents towards different behaviors of transactional and transformational leaders.

The five-point Likert scale provided options to the respondents for selecting an option from five given options (Low, Negative, Neutral, Positive, High), some questions offered options (Disagree, Partially Disagree, Neutral, Partially Agree, Agree), and some questions offered options (Poor, Bad, Neutral, Good, Excellent) and some other type of five point Likert scale options. Basically, all options of the 18 questions follow the pattern of two points negative, one neutral, two-point positive so that the respondents have equal options on the both side, moreover it helps to avoid a biased result from the survey responses.

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Findings of the Study

Among the 65 participants there were 48 females and 17 male participants, all the participants were between 27-48 years old but mean age of the participants would be 34.76 years. The result is suggesting that most of the participants are working in different managerial positions in private organizations (27.35%) and public organizations (72.65%) in the UAE. Among these participants, there were 36% top managers 64% mid-level managers, and 10% recent graduates. The sample representation is showing an ideal scenario for concluding about the population statistic.

The very first question of the survey intends to find out the importance of effective communication to the manager which is considered as a quality of a transformational leader. The result is showing that it is very important for most of the women managers to communicate effectively and also the men managers think it is important to communicate the assignment effectively; but men put less importance than women (Women scores: 4.78 and Men scores: 3.58).

The second question assesses another trait of transformational leadership which is the helping attitude of the leader. The result suggests that both men and women leaders think it is important to help the subordinates with skills training and advice, but women leaders are more serious (Mean 4.64) than men leaders (Mean 4).

The third question wanted to assess the tendency of controlling followers and therefore controlling the output of the project, which is a behavior exhibit by a transactional leader. The study suggests 85% men leaders want to take control over their followers while 71% female leaders think taking control of the followers is an ineffective strategy, although 23% female leaders seemed to be indifferent regarding the matter. And the fourth and sixth questions are intended to measure the reliability of the third question and study suggests that 79% male leaders think just achieving the goal is enough for them but 53% women leaders think just achieving the goal is not enough while 25% female leaders remained neutral on the issue.

Employees should be motivated through positive or negative reinforcement – the traditional ideal of a transactional leader seem to have more effect on male leaders (Mean 4.39, 83%) than femaleleaders (Mean 2.36, 21%).

Usually, the transformational leaders feel that assigning difficult tasks to subordinates increases their skills, the study wanted to find out what are the managers of UAE think about the issue. The result is suggesting 77.6% female leaders with a mean of 4.11 agree with the issue whereas 47% of men leaders with a mean of 2.79 agree with the issue. The result implies women show more transformational leadership behaviors than men in the UAE.

Employees or subordinates should have their freedom of choice in doing the assigned task for ensuring the effective outcome from the assigned tasks, the well-constructed thought of a transformational leader. The study is showing 73% women leaders let their subordinates enjoy freedom at work while 79% male leaders do not support the idea of giving freedom to subordinates.

The study revealed that in many organizations employees and subordinates are influenced by the opinion of their mangers, findings of the survey are suggesting that among the female participants there were 24.5% participants whose opinion is important across the organization they work for, on the other hand, 24.8% male managers had influence on their subordinates. It seems from the study that male and female managers both represent this specific transformational leadership trait equally.

The next question (10) tries to figure out if the respondents favor punishment based management or not, and it is found from the survey that 68% male managers prefer to avoid the chances of failure by agreeing the goal with their subordinates, and the liability of failure automatically gets transferred to the subordinates. In the same case, the study finds that only 39% female leaders somewhat feel like agreeing with the statement and rest of the women provided a negative feedback on the issue.

A transformational leader takes corrective actions to identify and fix the problem that causes underperformance of a subordinate while a transactional leader thinks that an employee should be punished for their bad performance, both ideas have their positive and negative impact on the organization but transformational behaviors are more desired than transactional behavior. The study suggests that female leaders (Mean 3.89 and 74%) would take necessary steps to help out their subordinates in correcting poor results. And the male leaders (Mean 1.39 and 19%) would agree with the idea of responsibility sharing with the subordinates, they would (Mean 4.09) rather prefer to punish their subordinates for poor performance.

In order to manage the effectivity of the management system, it is necessary to communicate with the subordinates frequently; also, sometimes it becomes necessary to guide the subordinates on tasks for smooth completion of the assignment. Frequent communication should not be thought as management improvement tools; it should be considered as an essential tool for influencing the subordinates to pursue the organizational goals by going beyond their call of duty. The study wanted to figure out what do female leaders in the country think about it? And we found that female leaders (63%) communicate more frequently than male leaders (58%). Another issue the study addressed which directly oppose the idea of mentoring the subordinates for influencing them and for attaining a better result on assigned projects, the question (14) tend to find out the mentality of managers about being rude to their subordinates as it is asserted by many researchers that managers think being a strict and rude manager helps attaining the company goals better than other managers. The study revealed that women are not at all comfortable (Mean 4.87) about being rude with the subordinates whereas a significant portion of the male respondents (81%) thinks being rude is a perfect strategy for enhancing the performance result of the firm.

The study wanted to understand the perception of current women managers on working in the managerial role in a male-dominated society, especially in the context of the UAE. Almost 100% female managers feel that it is really very hard to work in a leadership position in the UAE, whereas 65% men leaders agreed to the issue that women face problem to cope up in a leadership position in the country. It is also necessary to understand the workplace environment from the perspective of men and women in the UAE. The result is suggesting that 100% male employees agree that the work environment is supportive, while 37% women agree that the work environment is supportive in the UAE. It implies that gender-based stereotyping is existing in the workplace in UAE and women face additional problems while working in a leadership position.

Around 60% female leaders think the promotion in the organization largely depends on the performance and 71% men leaders think the promotion is based on performance, which suggests that the work environment is not 100% bias free.

The very last question of the questionnaire tends to find the general perception of leaders about their subordinates working nature, the result is showing that female leaders think that employees are quite supportive (Mean 1.61) for the organization while majority of the male leaders have quite the opposite idea, they think employees are lazy and need pushing (Mean 4.18) to complete the assigned tasks in time.


The study was carried to have a comprehensive understanding of the women leadership style in the UAE. From the secondary sources study, I found that women leadership style is quite different than men leadership style, women usually show a caring behavior towards their subordinates when they are working in a leadership position whereas most of the men show dominant behavior as a leader. The study reveals that among all the leadership styles transformational and transactional leadership styles are the most effective styles for an organization’s performance improvements. And many researchers have proved that women tend to show transformational leadership style behavior more than men. So, the study can conclude that hiring women in the leadership position should benefit an organization to a great extent, but different studies on the women leadership position in the UAE show that only a few women are working in the leadership positions in various private and public organizations. A survey was conducted based on 18 questions that helped the study to determine what type of leadership styles are usually adapted by the UAE women. The result of the survey helped the study to conclude whether hiring women in the leadership position in the UAE would significantly improve the organization’s performance or not. In addition to that, the survey result should help in determining if the government should facilitate the working environment for women by taking different initiatives or not.

The result of the survey is suggesting that women leaders would become a substantial addition to the organizations in UAE as most of the UAE women shows strong senses of transformational leadership. On the contrary, men leaders in the UAE are very traditional and most of them show transactional leadership behaviors. The study suggests hiring emeriti women in the leadership positions would drastically improve the economic performance of the country; as well as the organization’s financial and operational performance. Finally, it should be concluded that the invitation of further research on quantifying the impact of hiring women leaders in UAE organizations would reveal more specific statistic on the inputs of emeriti women to the economic development of the country.


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