Hawkamah’s 10th annual conference reveals the secret ingredient: corporate culture

DUBAI, — Over 200 corporate governance experts and practitioners gathered on Tuesday at Hawkamah’s conference, organised at Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, to mark the 10th anniversary for Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance that was established in 2006.

The conference confirmed that as corporate governance evolves, the discussions are no longer on the meaning of corporate governance, nor is it focusing only on regulation, but rather on development and implementation. And in a belief that corporate culture is the next frontier in governance, the 10th annual conference theme was ‘Corporate Culture: The Secret Ingredient’.

“Culture is not something that is easy to define, but we all recognise good corporate culture when we experience it,” said Hamad Buamim, Chairman of Hawkamah in the opening address of the conference.

Stressing the importance of good corporate culture to organisations, he further explained that “It is that secret ingredient that ties people together within organisations, creates cohesiveness among employees, and fosters joint ownership of the company’s purpose and vision.”

Throughout his speech, he emphasised the need for good corporate culture by showcasing some examples of companies whose weak culture resulted in corporate scandals. He also invited all boards, CEOs and senior management to explore, through the conference, the ways in defining, creating, and monitoring corporate culture in their companies.

Delivering the keynote address at the Conference, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council Mona Ghanem Al Marri said that the UAE has developed a unique model for governance over the last four decades. “This period has witnessed major achievements driven by the leadership’s commitment to fundamental values of governance. These values are rooted in traditional councils, which used to be forums for sharing ideas and encouraging the participation of various stakeholders in the decision making process.”

Dubai, she said, is an ideal setting for this conference since the city has witnessed major cultural transformations. “The participation of youth in decision making and their empowerment that enables them to share their creativity and innovation is an important feature of Dubai’s development,” she said.

Al Marri also spoke about gender diversity as an important factor in successful corporate governance. She said that promoting gender balance is a key priority of the UAE’s leadership. The establishment of the UAE Gender Balance Council is a testimony to this, she added.

She urged the corporate world to change their cultures to support the rise of a new generation of women who are ready to take on the challenges of leadership. “It’s time for the corporate world in our region to rewrite their gender playbooks so that we can tap fresh perspectives and ideas from women.”

Al Marri further said that the UAE is a role model in empowering women. “The UAE is ranked number one globally in female enrollment in education. Women occupy 66% of public sector jobs � one of the highest proportions worldwide and 30 per cent of them are in decision-making roles,” she told the audience.”

Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din, CEO of Hawkamah said, “Dubai has significant achievements to its credit in the field of governance. A positive corporate culture is a key factor that determines the success of companies in achieving their objectives and serving society. Focusing on regulations is not enough, we have to work together to change our corporate culture so that decision making is always guided by the values of good governance and sustainability and employees are motivated to abide by the corporate and moral values that are rooted in our traditions.”

Dr. Gamal El Din also praised Dubai for playing a role both regionally and internationally in enhancing governance and encouraging its implementation, adding that the Conference discusses global and regional best practices for embedding a governance culture in the workplace.

Later in the full day conference, Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance and Dubai South signed an memorandum of understanding with an aim to improve corporate governance practices in Dubai South and free zone companies.

Source: Emirates News Agency