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National citizenship as a mediator of organizational innovation

Valerie Priscilla Goby (College of Business, Zayed University, Dubai, UAE)
Abdelrahman Alhadhrami (College of Business, Zayed University, Dubai, UAE)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 17 May 2018

Issue publication date: 29 May 2018




The purpose of this paper is to report an initial investigation into the role of national citizenship status in relation to leadership and organizational innovation in the context of the United Arab Emirates, an Arabian Gulf country with a workforce in which migrants far outweigh the number of locals.


The authors use grounded theory methodology to gather initial data and reveal potentially appropriate theory for further research into the role of national citizenship as it correlates with organizational innovation.


The dominant themes that emerged were that citizen leaders display high levels of willingness to deviate from organizational schemata to respond to new situations; a preference for focus on the big picture; and low monitoring of subordinates. These findings indicate that citizen leaders experience greater ease in diverging from organizational schemata, suggesting that national citizenship status may afford a freedom that enhances the potential to contribute to organizational innovation.

Research limitations/implications

The issue of national citizenship is clearly one of increasing significance in the global workplace and, therefore, must be added to the academic research agenda given the combination of more frequent worldwide professional migration and the growing imperative of organizational innovation. To this end, the authors suggest potentially useful frameworks for further study.


This pioneering research has applicability to other geopolitical regions with high numbers of migrants in their workforces.



The authors would like to thank Dr Daniel Shore for presenting an earlier draft of this research at the Academy of Management Annual Conference, 2017, on behalf of the authors.


Goby, V.P. and Alhadhrami, A. (2018), "National citizenship as a mediator of organizational innovation", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 482-494.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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