Case Study: Sheikh Mohammed and the Making of "Dubai, Inc." Name
The making of Dubai is the vision of one man: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Everybody knows the classic Arabian Nights but that is just a fairytale. Not “Dubai, Inc”. Incredible but true, its arid desert is transformed into a center for multinational companies and holds world records such as the most expensive hotel in the world. The coastline was literally made and artificial islands were created by dredging companies.
The vision for Dubai might be seen as derived from necessity. In the 1940s the leading industry, the pearling industry, was in decline. It therefore had to focus on commerce. Even though oil was found in 1966 and oil concessions were granted, the political developments were more important to help turn the country into a more prosperous place. Sheikh Mohammed did not want the country to be dependent on oil.
When the UAE were found, he became the youngest Minister of Defense at age 21. Already as a child, Sheikh Mohammed was extraordinary. He was energetic, curious and full of initiative that later would prove beneficial for Dubai because he initiated many projects that turned the country into a corporation. Sheikh Mohammed believed in himself and in his vision. He could execute his vision for the country because his family was related and had ties with both business and government so in one sense it can even be considered a family business.
His vision also entailed also to bridge the gap between Islamic laws and procedures and Western, more capitalist practices, for instance, by establishing free zones that stimulated business. Through these practices Dubai flourished, from real estate to finance. His management leading the developments gave Sheikh Mohammed the nickname of “CEO of Dubai”.
However, there is not only success to the story. Besides the impact of the financial crisis of 2008, Dubai mistreated immigrants who worked under dire and poor circumstances....
References: Mayo, J.A., Nohria, N., Mendhro, U., Cromwell, J. (2010, 1 March). Sheikh Mohammed and the Making of “Dubai, Inc.”. Harvard Business School, 1-31, 9-410-063
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