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Strategic alignment or non-alignment:This thesis focuses on the international hotel industry as part of the global economy and examines the implications that the strategic management of human capital has within the five-star sector of the hotel industry in Dubai, an emirate of the United Arab Emirates, and an economy based on the service sector. It examines the macro environmental factors influencing the potential strategic directions of two recognized international five-star hotel brands and considers the challenges this creates for the alignment of strategy, and the implications this has for management of human capital(people) as a key determinant of success that enhances organisational outcomes. In selecting this area of research, the author has adopted a grounded theory approach to the generation of new knowledge, allowing the literature to be guided by concerns raised by hotel managers and industry consultants working in the context of Dubai. This approach led to the employment of a case study method, through which the key influences of organisational culture and ownership are considered. Two international hotel chains were identified to represent the two strategic modes of entry into the destination. The first case being a locally owned and managed chain with 7 hotels in Dubai. The second case is a European chain operating 6 hotel properties under management contract in Dubai, with 6 different owners from the Middle East. Both companies operate within the luxury five-star market that is so prevalent in Dubai. The hospitality industry, by definition, relies heavily on human capital, both as a resource and a capability that may allow for the development of competitive advantage. However, the dynamics of the Dubai hotel environment, the strength of the Arab cultural values and the organisational conditions that exist in Dubai present HR managers with a number of unique challenges, including high levels of pastoral care, and approaches to managing the workforce that may be at odds with traditional ‘Western’ ideals. This thesis adds to the existing debate on the value and utilisation of existing theoretical frameworks attached to the alignment of strategy and the implications for managing human capital in the face of globalisation and presents a model of their application in a city that is characterised by power and control, predictability and change aversion.