Teaching notes: University of Wollongong in Dubai
Many challenges face a multinational organisation striving to set up a business in a new location, where different or changing local conditions can create a divergence between the parent company’s original expectations for the local branch and the aspirations of the stakeholders in the new location. Management of the local branch can therefore be pulled in different directions by different stakeholders.
This case addresses the management issue of how a newly arrived leader — in an unfamiliar environment with a unique history and complex set of constraints — can refine and implement a new vision for an organisation. It describes the process of developing a new vision, and a set of strategies for achieving it, at the University of Wollongong in Dubai.
The features of this process included: (i) understanding the dynamics of the complex business environment for a private university in the rapidly changing business environment of the UAE; (ii) articulating a clear view of how the organisation might respond to this environmental context; (iii) using this background to frame an inclusive strategic plan review to identify a set of broadly accepted goals; (iv) using the strategic planning process to drive the changes; and (v) gaining the support and involvement of a wide range of stakeholders in pursuing the new vision for the organisation.