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Leading change at Al Asafa in the Gulf

Vimi Jham (Institute of Management Technology, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

ISSN: 2045-0621

Publication date: 27 July 2017


Subject area

Leadership and change management, employee engagement, strategy

Study level/applicability

The case is designed to be an effective teaching and learning tool at the bachelors’ and master’s level business programmes in courses on leadership and change management, employee engagement, strategy courses or an elective on strategic consulting.

Case overview

In October 2011, Mr Abdulla became Chief Operating Officer of Al Asafa Brothers, a large privately driven organization with diversified businesses. The company’s story since then appears to be the typical slash-and-burn turnaround, but the view from the inside is far more interesting for anyone grappling with what it takes to lead a competitive organization and sustain its performance over the long term. Mr Abdulla is a straight-shooting, tough-minded, results-oriented business leader. But he is also a charismatic and persistent coach, determined to help people learn and thereby to provide his company with the best-prepared employees. Al Asafa was undergoing turmoil with a complete lack of leadership and facing financial and operational losses. There were huge cost centres. All employees started their own ventures and got into partnership with the owner and shared incentives with him. The organization kept on expanding and continued to be in huge debts thus facing losses. The case discusses the leader’s role in changing the organizational culture.

Expected learning outcomes

Giving students hands-on experience in developing a plan of action for a company in distress. Understanding analysis of the financial situation and suggest measures for improvement. Appreciating the involvement of employees in bringing change. Understanding the role of a leader in changing organizational culture.

Subject code

CSS: 11: Strategy

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email to request teaching notes.



Jham, V. (2017), "Leading change at Al Asafa in the Gulf", Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, Vol. 7 No. 3.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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