Sustainable Innovation Practices in Dubai Police

Introduction

The changes in the Emirati society are significant and important as they contribute to the development of the country in the modern global context. Al Mehrzi and Singh (2016) stress that the public sector is undergoing various transformations as the government is trying to make public services effective, accessible, and affordable. Dubai police are the agency facing various improvements to help police officers react timely and even prevent criminal activity. Emirati urban areas require specific attention because they are characterized by diversity, technological innovation, and unprecedented demographic growth. Police departments are becoming more transparent and people-oriented, but some changes fail due to ineffective management and employees’ resistance (Al Mehrzi & Singh, 2016). Emirati officers often try to apply the strategies and approaches they used to utilize instead of embracing the change. This paper includes an analysis of the existing issues, possible solutions (that address the problem at different levels), and methods to overcome employees’ resistance to change.

Literature Review

The implementation of change is a time- and effort consuming process that can be specifically difficult in the public sector. For-profit companies are often easily adaptable to the changing environment, and employees are ready to change their behavior as well while governmental agencies are less flexible (Pee & Kankanhalli, 2016). The review of the existing literature shows that proper knowledge management is regarded as one of the major pillars of innovation and change in the public-sector setting (Seba, Rowley, & Delbridge, 2012; Pee & Kankanhalli, 2016; Abdelsalam, Reddick, Gamal, & Al-shaar, 2013). The launch of any projects and programs aimed at innovating can be successful if employees share information effectively (Seba et al., 2012). It is necessary to note that the innovation process is often manifested in such areas as technology, leadership, and organizational aspects.

As far as organizational components are concerned, it is important to start with the use of the elements of lean government that presupposes the focus on efficiency and value-added services. Danese, Manfè, and Romano (2018) state that this approach has become widely used in the public sector due to its effectiveness. Governmental agencies and non-profit organizations try to identify certain flaws in the services they provide, develop strategies to eliminate them, and introduce standards and policies that ensure the compliance with new models and methods. Janssen and Estevez (2013) note that the use of technology and involvement of the public are appropriate solutions that can contribute to the provision of high-quality services. Abdelsalam et al. (2013) also note that governmental agencies can address certain organizational barriers by becoming closer to the public with the help of social media. It is noteworthy that the use of social media has proved to be effective in the public sector, but empirical evidence is needed to ensure its effectiveness in Emirati police departments.

Another organizational aspect is concerned with people’s motivation and their readiness and willingness to embrace changes. Fernandez and Moldogaziev (2012) state that empowerment is one of the important factors motivating employees, but these techniques must be used wisely. For instance, setting clear goals and mentoring has a positive impact on employees’ performance while close supervision and the need to provide detailed reports associated with learning and knowledge sharing have negative effects. Rengifo, Stemen, and Amidon (2017) also report employees’ negative attitudes towards close supervision that is linked to training. Patil (2018) points to the link between police officers’ motivation and the way they are understood by the public. It is found that officers are reluctant to embrace the change and become active agents involved in knowledge sharing and innovation if they feel their actions and the complexity of their work are misunderstood by the public. Seba et al. (2012) add that the organizational structure of Emirati police departments contributes to the use of autocratic leadership styles and methods. The hierarchy existing in the law enforcement system prevents subordinated and managers from collaborating effectively.

Leadership is another aspect influencing the implementation of change and the effectiveness of knowledge management. Seba et al. (2012) emphasize that police officers distrust their management and find the existing leadership practices ineffective. The review of the recent research literature indicates the focus on empowerment when addressing leadership in the public sector. Park and Hassan (2018) argue that empowering leadership is essential for effective knowledge sharing and change implementation in the law enforcement system. For example, employees whose managers are empowering are found to be more active when sharing ideas and identifying the flaws of the system. It is clear that leaders are often unable to empower employees and motivate them to embrace the change and focus on innovation.

Finally, the use of technology is another factor that has a positive impact on knowledge sharing, as well as innovation and lean governance implementation. Kromidha and Córdoba-Pachón (2017) claim that technology can help governmental institutions to innovate and address the needs of the modern society. Simulation is regarded as one of the tools to achieve certain goals and make employees more prepared to share knowledge and engage in innovative projects (Danese et al., 2018). Klischewski (2014) explores the role social media can play in bringing law enforcement officers and the public closer. It is noted that social media are becoming a potent tool that can contribute considerably in knowledge sharing management.

Weisburd, Braga, Groff, and Wooditch (2017) provide evidence suggesting that simulation and gamification can be utilized in order to achieve employees’ higher performance, enhanced motivation, and engagement. Such instruments as interactive maps, social media, simulations are analyzed in terms of their applicability in the public-sector setting (Gagliardi et al., 2017; Weisburd et al., 2017). It is clear that one of the major gaps in the existing knowledge base is the lack of empirical data concerning the effectiveness of the methods and tools mentioned above in the context of Emirati law enforcement system.

Discussion

Personal Perspective Concerning Change and Innovation

Change and innovation are key elements of the development of any sector of economy and the entire country. The United Arab Emirates can be regarded as one of the states that have embraced the idea of change and is constantly evolving. This positive shift in governance has already proved to be effective as the country is becoming one of the leaders in the Middle East. However, change is also associated with people’s reluctance to adopt new approaches or even their resistance. One of the primary reasons behind people’s unwillingness to innovate is the lack of understanding. They do not see the benefits of utilizing new methods and try to remain on the safe side following the recommendations they received years ago when they entered their profession. Fortunately, technologic advances and the active participation of younger generations in the process of change, as well as people’s activism, can help in modifying Dubai police departments.

Overcoming Organizational Problems

As mentioned above, irrespective of numerous improvements and the use of innovative approaches, Emirati law enforcement system is characterized by insufficient flexibility especially when it comes to employees’ motivation, engagement, and active participation in innovation (Seba et al., 2012). Knowledge sharing management is one of the central elements of the effective work of police departments. A two-dimension strategy can be recommended to address the existing shortcomings of the system. It is essential to focus on internal and external domains.

On the one hand, effective leadership should be developed within the agency (Park & Hassan, 2018; Seba et al., 2012; Willer, Flynn, & Zak, 2012). Police officers should feel empowered and motivated to collaborate effectively and to be innovative. Employees’ training and the use of technology are two of the most efficient methods to achieve this goal. Seba et al. (2012) state that leaders do not have the necessary knowledge and skills to empower their subordinated and contribute to the establishment of lean governance. Therefore, it is essential to provide the corresponding training to leaders. At the same time, subordinates also lack the skills and knowledge that facilitate proper knowledge management. Employees are unaware of all the options available to them through information systems. This dimension is also associated with the concept of informal organization. Willer et al. (2012) note that employees’ self-identification can be critical in the development of the favorable working environment. Police officers are motivated and prepared to work in cross-sectional teams if they associate themselves with the group.

On the other hand, the involvement of the public can have a positive impact on employees’ motivation, as well as the overall performance of law enforcement agencies (Abdelsalam et al., 2013; Klischewski, 2014). The active use of social media will make this involvement possible. Knowledge sharing management will take one of its broadest forms as many stakeholders will be involved in the process. Again, employees’ training and further research will be needed to come up with effective strategies and methods. The existing distrust should be overcome through transparency, collaboration, and the focus on innovation.

The Implementation of Change

The implementation of the suggested projects will be held in several stages (see table 1). As mentioned above, training is a key to the successful implementation of change. It is essential to acquire the corresponding software to ensure that employees can access and share all the necessary information. Databases, corporate networks, and other communication channels should be developed and introduced. Furthermore, police departments should acquire the software aimed at training and staff development. Weisburd et al. (2017) stress that gamification is instrumental in creating the atmosphere of collaboration, as well as a certain organizational culture. Simulations should be customized to the needs of the Emirati society and Dubai police departments. These training tools will mainly focus on staff development and training.

The development of the social networks that will bridge the needs of law enforcement professionals and the public should be held simultaneously. These networks should be user-friendly and secure. Existing social media can also be utilized in order to ensure the emergence of values shared by police officers and the public. The focus of these communication channels will be on sharing messages, discussions, and promotion of certain ideas. It is also critical to make sure that people will learn about the new services. The promotion of new communication channels should be far-reaching and involve all law enforcement professionals.

Table 1

Change Implementation Stages

Terms of Implementation
Stages Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8
Software development
Leaders training and empowerment
Development of messages for external communication
Employees training and empowerment
External communication management
The promotion of new communication channels among the Emirati people

Alongside the development of software, leaders should receive training that will ensure the successful implementation of the change. The suggested knowledge sharing incentives will contribute to the adoption of the principles of lean organizations where employees will be committed to identifying flaws, refining their performance, developing common grounds with each other, complying with the standards developed as a result of their effort. However, leaders should be trained to be supportive and empowering (Seba et al., 2012; Fernandez & Moldogaziev, 2012). Simulations can be utilized to develop this skill in law enforcement managers. It is also critical to make sure that leaders have the necessary expertise to use social networks utilized for internal and external communication.

Employees will participate in educational programs aimed at the development of the skills associated with information sharing and the use of social media. Short and Toffel (2010) state that self-regulation is more valuable than close supervision, but it can emerge within strong organizational cultures. Therefore, all practices involving knowledge sharing should be efficient and justifiable. It has been acknowledged that reporting is regarded as one of the tasks police officers are reluctant to complete when it comes to learning and staff development (Park & Hassan, 2018). Leaders should develop reporting strategies that will be viable and efficient. This reporting can be implemented in the form of digital checklists that can be completed within minutes. Time and workload are the most influential factors affecting employees’ performance and readiness to utilize innovative methods.

Employees should have a clear understanding of the need to develop proper communication with the public and acquire certain skills important for the effective use of social networks. This goal can be achieved through regular meetings with leaders and the discussion of benefits and most efficient strategies associated with this kind of communication. The development of the culture of change and innovation can ensure the progress in this effort. It is noteworthy that staff training is a lasting process since newcomers should acquire the same skills and adopt certain values. It is also important to make sure that employees who have received training services attend sessions regularly. For leaders, these can be one-month educational programs held annually. For employees, one-month projects should be launched two times a year.

Bradford (2014) emphasizes that shared identity is one of the building blocks of proper relationships between law enforcement employees and the public. Therefore, the training provided to police officers should be based on the principles that will be promoted and values among Emirati people. It is crucial to encourage employees to adopt social identities that will be consistent with the ideas of transparency and citizenship. Law enforcement managers should be trained to deliver the corresponding messages and encourage employees to embrace the change.

The final stage of the change implementation includes the focus on external communication. Law enforcement employees should be trained to promote transparency and sharing ideas with the public. Openness and commitment to collaboration are central to this process. Jackson et al. (2012) argue that people are ready to collaborate with law enforcement agencies and comply with regulations if they feel the legitimacy of these institutions’ power. In its turn, legitimacy is achieved through transparency and sharing ideas. Social networks should be used to shed light on some processes that take place in police departments. New services that are constantly introduced should be discussed in such domains as Facebook and Twitter, as well as specialized websites and forums. Certain simulations should become another platform for the development of proper relationships between police officers and the public. People should have access to online simulations where they can find themselves in different situations and receive high-quality services from police officers.

Overcoming Resistance to Change

Although changes are inevitable and often highly needed, people are often unwilling to use new methods and tools. Seba et al. (2012) state that the lack of understanding between leadership and employees, time constraints, and workload are the primary demotivating factors. Various methods aimed at enhancing employees’ motivation have been developed. For instance, when encouraging people to use innovative strategies and approaches, monetary and non-monetary rewards can be utilized (Al Mehrzi & Singh, 2016). Bonuses and rewards are often potent stimuli that can improve employees’ performance and their focus on innovation. However, due to the scarcity of resources and the need to allocate funds to ensure technological development and staff training monetary rewards cannot be the primary motivational initiatives. Moreover, the financial component is not the most relevant for Emirati police officers especially (Seba et al., 2012). Sebat et al. (2012) stress that trust and respect are central values in the Arab context.

Therefore, apart from financial incentives, it is critical to utilize non-monetary motivational efforts. Simulations can be seen as effective strategies to raise employees’ awareness about the benefits of innovation and the development of appropriate relationships between leaders and their followers (Danese et al., 2018). At the same time, face-to-face interactions are also vital. Regular discussions and workshops should become routine for law enforcement professionals. The completion of checklists and reports, as well as sharing ideas during meetings can enhance people’s understanding of the nature and positive outcomes of innovation and change.

Noblet and Rodwell (2008) claim that organizational fairness is the concept associated with employees’ commitment to organizational goals. Hence, transparency and employees’ empowerment should be key features of motivational efforts. Interestingly, the introduction of certain routines can be beneficial for the motivation of people (Rerup & Feldman, 2011). In addition to routine reporting and meetings, trial-and-error learning can become the necessary routine that will facilitate the change as well as the development of a learning organization. Rerup and Feldman (2011) note that close supervision is less effective than trial-and-learning. Knowledge sharing is one of the areas where this approach can be appropriate. Employees will try different methods and strategies to share ideas and develop communication channels, which will make them more engaged in the process.

Conclusion

In conclusion, innovation is an integral part of the development of an organization and the entire society. Although people may be reluctant to use new methods, such changes are necessary especially in the contemporary world. The country is winning a leading role in the Middle East and is entering the global arena as an innovative nation that can contribute to the development of solutions to major global issues. Law enforcement agencies are instrumental in maintaining order and enabling the country to pursue its objectives. Dubai police departments are becoming closer to the public and provide more people-oriented services. Prevention is becoming the primary objective, which calls for the development of the proper image of the organization and establishing its legitimacy for people. Knowledge sharing and staff training are the ways to address this goal. Police officers must be trained to collaborate with the public through online communication platforms with the focus on social media. The development of strong leadership and employees’ motivation are also important components of innovation. The Emirati law enforcement system will be improved significantly as law enforcement professionals and the public will form similar values and identities.

References

Abdelsalam, H. M., Reddick, C. G., Gamal, S., & Al-shaar, A. (2013). Social media in Egyptian government websites: Presence, usage, and effectiveness. Government Information Quarterly, 30(4), 406-416.

Al Mehrzi, N., & Singh, S. K. (2016). Competing through employee engagement: A proposed framework. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 65(6), 831-843.

Bradford, B. (2014). Policing and social identity: Procedural justice, inclusion and cooperation between police and public. Policing and Society, 24(1), 22-43.

Danese, P., Manfè, V., & Romano, P. (2018). A systematic literature review on recent lean research: State-of-the-art and future directions. International Journal of Management Reviews, 20(2), 579-605.

Fernandez, S., & Moldogaziev, T. (2012). Using employee empowerment to encourage innovative behavior in the public sector. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 23(1), 155-187.

Gagliardi, D., Schina, L., Sarcinella, M. L., Mangialardi, G., Niglia, F., & Corallo, A. (2017). Information and communication technologies and public participation: Interactive maps and value added for citizens. Government Information Quarterly, 34(1), 153-166.

Jackson, J., Bradford, B., Hough, M., Myhill, A., Quinton, P., & Tyler, T. R. (2012). Why do people comply with the law?: Legitimacy and the Influence of legal institutions. The British Journal of Criminology, 52(6), 1051-1071.

Janssen, M., & Estevez, E. (2013). Lean government and platform-based governance—Doing more with less. Government Information Quarterly, 30(S1), S1-S8.

Klischewski, R. (2014). When virtual reality meets realpolitik: Social media shaping the Arab government–citizen relationship. Government Information Quarterly, 31(3), 358-364.

Kromidha, E., & Córdoba-Pachón, J. R. (2017). Discursive institutionalism for reconciling change and stability in digital innovation public sector projects for development. Government Information Quarterly, 34(1), 16-25.

Noblet, A. J., & Rodwell, J. J. (2008). Integrating job stress and social exchange theories to predict employee strain in reformed public sector contexts. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 19(3), 555-578.

Park, J., & Hassan, S. (2018). Does the influence of empowering leadership trickle down? Evidence from law enforcement organizations. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 28(2), 212-225.

Patil, S. V. (2018). “The public doesn’t understand”: The self-reinforcing interplay of image discrepancies and political ideologies in law enforcement. Administrative Science Quarterly. Web.

Pee, L. G., & Kankanhalli, A. (2016). Interactions among factors influencing knowledge management in public-sector organizations: A resource-based view. Government Information Quarterly, 33(1), 188-199.

Rengifo, A. F., Stemen, D., & Amidon, E. (2017). When policy comes to town: Discourses and dilemmas of implementation of a statewide reentry policy in Kansas. Criminology, 55(3), 603-630.

Rerup, C., & Feldman, M. S. (2011). Routines as a source of change in organizational schemata: The role of trial-and-error learning. Academy of Management Journal, 54(3), 577-610.

Seba, I., Rowley, J., & Delbridge, R. (2012). Knowledge sharing in the Dubai police force. Journal of Knowledge Management, 16(1), 114-128.

Short, J. L., & Toffel, M. W. (2010). Making self-regulation more than merely symbolic: The critical role of the legal environment. Administrative Science Quarterly, 55(3), 361-396.

Weisburd, D., Braga, A. A., Groff, E. R., & Wooditch, A. (2017). Can hot spots policing reduce crime in urban areas? An agent-based simulation. Criminology, 55(1), 137-173.

Willer, R., Flynn, F. J., & Zak, S. (2012). Structure, identity, and solidarity. Administrative Science Quarterly, 57(1), 119-155.