Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Towards the Evolution of Sustainable Graduate Employability Ecosystem: A Contemporary Perspective for Higher Education Stakeholders in the UAE

  • Hanady Basheer

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business (DBA)


The world has entered an era of an unprecedented technological revolution. Developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have generated new professions while de-skilling or re-skilling many others. Higher education institutions (HEIs) face the challenge of keeping pace with technological advancement— both in their efforts to prepare students for success in their future careers, as well as in protecting graduates from potential occupational disruptions caused by AI. However, HEIs’ traditional business education model is incompatible with the changing nature of the job market. This DBA thesis examines business graduate employability (GE) in light of the emergent role of AI in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It investigates how HEIs respond to the changing demands of employability stakeholders in the AI era, adopting a more holistic and multi-relational approach to the interaction between employability mechanisms, structures, and stakeholders in the complex GE ecosystem. The study applies stakeholder theory as a theoretical lens to explore the GE phenomena. The research is conducted from a critical realist paradigm, employing a qualitative approach via in-depth interviews. Interviews were conducted with a sample 40 participants comprised of educators, graduates, and employers. The data analysis employed Gioia inductive logic approach to interpretive grounded theory, developing concepts, establishing interrelationships, and building an inductive theoretical model from the data. The study findings indicate that HE response to the digital era in the UAE remains nascent; HEI must rethink the dynamics of the uncertain external environment and its limited internal resources. Furthermore, HEIs should focus on developing a future-oriented and proactive approach to navigating the changing role of HE in the age of AI. This work ultimately proposes a GE ecosystem model developed from the research findings and grounded in stakeholder theory. This model, founded on a more comprehensive understanding of GE, is not only more sustainable – allowing HE to adapt to the stakeholders emerging demands – but adds new employability insights in the context of non-western countries such as the UAE.
Date of Award28 Jun 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorHong Bui (Supervisor) & Kendall Jarrett (Supervisor)


  • employability
  • AI

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