Case Study

Dubailand (A): Would the pharaohs have dared?

14 pages
June 2007
Reference: IMD-3-1831

The idea for Dubailand first came up in early 2002 as part of the country’s efforts to diversify the sources of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by expanding the tourism market offering. The answer, developed by the Dubai Development and Investment Authority, was the founding principle behind Dubailand – the creation of a globally competitive entertainment and leisure hub. Between 2003 and 2005, a master plan for the project was drafted. International theme park experts and consultants were called on to provide input as to how the land should be divided and what should be included to make the destination globally competitive. In April 2006, Christian Perdrier, current CEO of Dubailand, was approached by a headhunter based in London about the Dubailand project. They were looking for someone with international experience and industry expertise to lead the project, which was not taking off beyond the master-planning phase. He accepted the challenge and joined the company in February 2007. The case is set in 2007, in the first few months after a CEO is hired to make the vision happen. Between February 2007 and December 2010, the CEO will have to turn a plan into a reality, opening a leisure and entertainment complex of 27’000 hectares, hiring the first wave of the 250’000 people who will ultimately work in a hub that will include dozens of theme parks, hotels, retail and residential units.

Learning Objective

The Dubailand case series illustrates the issues linked to creating a vision for a gigantic endeavor, and making sure it happens. The case serves as a basis for discussing the following issues: 1) How do you set up a course of action in a situation without a precedent? 2) How detailed should you plan to be when you don’t even have a team yet? 3) What key priorities will you have to keep in mind to set the pace and get the project in motion and done on time? 4) How do you make sure that your vision doesn’t just become a hallucination but happens for real? 5) How do you get the enlistment of people around your vision? What do you need to do to communicate it well? To create the enthusiasm that will drive people to achieve it? 6) What kind of profiles do you seek in your top team to make your vision happen?

United Arab Emirates
Field Research
© 2007
Available Languages
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Teaching note, Video
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