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The book “Our Iceberg is Melting” by John Kotter is a business fable about a group of penguins that used to live on an iceberg, and one observant penguin notices that the iceberg is actually melting and they have to move. He convinces the key leaders in the group and with the help of other penguins with different personalities and leadership skills, they embark on a transition. The book is intended to bring the attention to eight important steps that must be observed in the process of change in the organization. The organizational change can be best achieved through employee participation (Ingahm, 2008).
Urgency in the need for change in the UAE organizations lies in meeting the challenges brought about by cultural, religious and social differences among the workforce. In the UAE, many locals will often quit their jobs citing minor reasons like boredom and stress due to managing work and personal life; this has caused many employers to target foreign employees to retain experts in the work place. An example in the UAE is the Al Reyami Group that boasts of a work force with different nationalities (Shukal, 2011). The UAE government has put in structures to ensure that local employees get first consideration during employment, in order to change these demographics of foreign employees being preferred more.
Breaking down the organizational structure into teams enhances the chances of employees feeling that their input is highly appreciated. When employees feel that their grievances and efforts are being appreciated, the resistance of the employees towards management reduces. Building teams among employees enhances the communication process in the organization structure and ensures that employee consultation is upheld.
The vision for the change in the UAE in employee management is driven by the urge of the organizations to attract and retain employees. This has caused many employers to focus on benefits and rewards as forms of salaries. In the UAE, employers are urged to offer their employees flexible schedules and relate with their problems for them to retain these employees (Kotter & Rathgeber, 2006).
The government in the UAE has been instrumental in promoting the idea of hiring and maintaining local employees to reduce the amount of capital that would have been invested overseas as remittances. The programs that government is using to implement this vision are Emiratisation, Omanisation and Saudisation. Through promoting these national programmes, the government is communicating the need for changes in the use of foreign labor to local labor (Shah & Irani, 2010).
Many nationals in the UAE prefer to take up jobs in the public sector rather than in the private sector. This is because they claim that the public sector offers more benefits and better working conditions than the private sector. By offering better wages and changing the negative perceptions towards the locals, like low language knowledge and incompetence, the private sector will be able to attract more nationals (Shah & Irani, 2010).
Short term gains experienced with the urge of the community to increase the local nationals in the employee percentage have been experienced in the banking industry. Slow progress has been caused by rebellion by the private sector due to the sudden increase in employee benefits that has been hard to adjust to. However, with this motive being highly embraced in the public sector, the private sector is bound to catch up with the changing trends.
Although implementation of the shift from using a lot of foreign labor to encouraging promotion of local labor still presents a major challenge, the government will make use of quota systems for sectors or particular positions. To make the policy stick, the government has to involve business owners to achieve the goal of localization.