Strategic Planning - Abu Dhabi Health Authority
When Nadia Al Jaberi graduated from the DBA program at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in April this year, her goal was to improve organizational learning in the field of healthcare.
Ms Al Jaberi has been working in strategic planning at the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (SEHA) for the past nine years, including seven years at Al Ain Hospital and two years at Tawam Hospital. She became interested in the program as it related to applied business.
“It’s not like a PhD,” she said. “It was more related to my work and more beneficial to my career. The main idea of doing a doctorate thesis is that you discover a practical problem in your workplace, and you do research and align it with literature, before merging it with the academic and the managerial or practical application.”
In her case, the research was focused on the impact of leadership styles on organizational learning. The context of her research was healthcare entities under the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (SEHA) in the Al Ain region, more specifically Al Ain Hospital, Tawan Hospital and the Ambulatory healthcare services. “The result of the research provided a lot of managerial implications for my employer, which is healthcare,” she said. “In the last 15 years, the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi has seen a rapid change in terms of their leadership and management, which caused a lot of learning frustration between employees, as everyone had different strategies. So my aim was to find the strategies to improve organizational learning, even if leadership styles change – we need to find a direction for this change.”
Having already acquired both a Bachelor degree and an MBA at UAEU in business management, she chose the DBA path for practical purposes and career improvement. “My research objective was to find an effective framework showing the impact of leadership styles on organizational learning through aligning the individual level with the organization’s level,” Ms Al Jaberi said.
“We have a template to do any research – you need to start with an idea and have literature, so the most difficult part was to align my idea and work problem with strong literature. Even if you have an idea, you need literature to build on this work.”
After pinpointing a number of ideas, she discovered that organizational learning was too wide a definition. “Having one set of organizational learning is so difficult,” she explained. “The most difficult part was to narrow down my idea and to have a strong basis of literature review related to our governmental strategy and the career problem that I found. When I narrowed down my problem, I successfully found a strong basis of literature and proposed my research hypothesis.”
When she first started out her career at the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, she never imagined she would reach such a high level later on. “I was in charge of the outpatient clinic at Al Ain Hospital and, seven years later, I decided that I needed to change my career path,” she said. “So I transferred to the Strategic Planning and Performance Management Section at Tawam Hospital two years ago because I saw it was more of a corporate level and you can see the big picture of all operations, strategies, clinical, human resources, and everything. It helped me a lot in my research.”
Her ultimate goal is to help in changing some of the strategies from the perspective of decision-makers, human resource and policy-makers, in terms of initiating strategies to improve organizational learning, and having effective leadership as well as academics. “I just started giving a part-time lecture to improve my academic skills,” Ms Al Jaberi said. “At my job, they have trainers from within the employees, so I am preparing material regarding management change effect or impact, and I can give any subject related to business management because it’s my major.”
She also plans to work on an extension of her research with one of her DBA colleagues. “I would highly recommend this program, especially for the senior level and leaders, because it broadens their mind and strengthens their decision-making skills and analytical skills,” she said. “It also improves their personality in a way that they become more analytical, wiser, and display more critical thinking.”
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