An exploration into factors and influences towards increased effectiveness of Public Sector Boards (PSBs) in Abu Dhabi

  • Mohamed Omar Abdula

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The recent financial crisis, not surprisingly, has often been attributed to ‘failure in corporate governance’. There is a belief that the resulting public scandal may have been minimized if not entirely prevented if the Boards had acted properly. Both in the developing and developed countries, there is a widespread belief that improved corporate governance mechanisms can lead to effective Board operations. However, Board effectiveness remains an elusive concept and what makes a Board an effective governance mechanism remains a fundamental question. Many studies have been carried out on Directors’ capabilities, their contributions to Board and Board effectiveness; however, none have examined these issues within the context of Public Sector Boards (PSBs) in Abu Dhabi- a fast growing developing economy. The present research, a first time study, explores the issues related to Board effectiveness, including Director’s capabilities and contribution within four major public sector Boards. Following the tradition of social constructionism, the research adopts an interpretive approach to understand the perceptions and views of the Board members concerning the factors which influence their effectiveness and the effectiveness of the PSBs Boards. Employing an inductive methodology, sixteen cases were selected to generate the relevant qualitative data required for analysis. The thematic analysis led to the emergence of seven major categories of themes, factors, and identification of some 157 ‘issues’, including Directors personal characteristics, Board dynamics, constraints, demands and opportunities, Directors core capabilities, and most important of all the implicit and explicit socio-cultural influences on the behaviour and interactions of the members on the PSBs Boards. Islamic values and beliefs seemed to positively influence the Boards operations through trust, honesty, and responsibility to others and community. The findings of the study, indicates the intricate and complex nature of influences on the Directors’ in particular and Boards’ effectiveness, as the whole. The findings make a series of contributions to our present knowledge of PSBs operations and the behaviour of the members on the Board by contextualising the principles of corporate governance, and Board effectiveness in Abu Dhabi, public sector. The practical implications are numerous; some could be applied to other Boards outside the public sector domain. They have far reaching implications for policy and practice to facilitate the increased effectiveness of the Directors and the Boards as the whole.
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorNada K Kakabadse (Supervisor)

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