Since the start of the 21st century the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is experiencing mass development, and this is accompanied by a growing attention to public sector organizations and their need for change. Linked to this need for change in the UAE higher education sector is the search for avenues that improve performance.\ud This thesis is about 'champions' and 'championing' change in a UAE higher education institution. 'Champions' introduce change, fight for change, and defend others through change. In turn, the champion can be viewed as representing a cuase and conquering change. There has been a tendency to overlook the importance of championing in a UAE higher education context, despite the attention given to institutional change in recent years.\ud In this thesis it will be argues that champions of change are a necessary and important part of higher education institutional change. A champion is somebody on whom others can rely during institutional change. While change may be implemented in the form of structured rationalisation and mission statements, it is the champions that secure institutional change. It will be argued that champions are the key to creating institutional change, and are also an integral part of an institution's wellbeing.\ud The goal of the study was to understand and explain how change leadership works at one representative institution. Following a review of relevant literature, research questions were formulated. These were addressed through an interpretive case study undertaken at a particular UAE higher education institution. The study predominantly used ethnographic methods of data collection, which allowed a set of themes to be identified from interviews, focus groups and observation(s) at the case study institution. It will be argued that the themes show how champions emerge during institutional change
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