The Saudi Arabian economy remains one of the strongest in the region, and indeed the world. According to a 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Saudi Arabia was ranked position seventeen from 21 in 2010-2011 (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, n.d). The Saudi Arabian economy has in the past been characterized by resilience in the global economic slowdown. While this show of strength highlights the effectiveness with which the government mobilized its reserves to support economic activities, it also reflects the Kingdom’s increasingly diversified economy, resulting from years of proactive initiatives and a relatively stable banking sector.
Oil prices and production levels are still major drivers of the Saudi economy. According to ECD Report (2011), the Saudi Arabian government revenues are directly tied to oil prices and production levels. The oil production sector accounts for 85% of the total government revenues and 45% of the gross domestic product. The Saudi Arabian economy is oil-based; having the largest crude oil reserves in the world which amounts to 266.7 billion barrels. The Saudi Arabian oil reserves also account for 57% of the Gulf Corporation Council reserves, 29% in OPEC, and approximately 20% of world oil total reserves. The country is the largest oil producer and exporter of petroleum plays a crucial and leading role in OPEC. In OPEC’s total oil production, the country produces approximately 28%. In recent years, oil production levels in terms of barrels have been increasing. Between the years 2009 and 2008, the number of oil barrels produced per day increased from 8.055 million to 9.113 million (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, n.d).
Saudi American Bank (Samba)
The Saudi American Bank (Saudi American Bank) was established in 1980 by taking over branches of Citibank in Jeddah and Riyadh. The takeover was in accordance with a notification program in Saudi that was forcing foreign banks to change their branches to get an affiliation with Saudi nationals. Citigroup got into a technical management agreement to manage the newly formed bank. In the year 1985 SAMBA opened another branch in Istanbul which closed in 1994 but maintained a branch in Geneva and an office in Beirut. In the 1980s SAMBA opened another branch in the UK (London). In 1999 SAMBA joined up with United Saudi Bank forming the largest bank in the Middle East.
In 2003 SAMBA changed its name to Samba Financial Group, removing all Saudi Arabia references. The name was changed after Citibank decided to withdraw from Saudi Arabia. Citibank sold its shares, which by then were 20%, to General Organization for Social Insurance (Saudi Economic Report, 1996).
Ladies banking is offering personalized banking services to ladies to enable them to conduct their businesses in a homely environment while avoiding queues and other constraints encountered in other conventional banks (SAMBA, n.d). SAMBA ladies banking pioneered ladies banking in Saudi Arabia. The bank offers a comprehensive and distinctive world-class range of privileges designed to give flexibility, financial solutions, and convenience to ladies. The bank offers accessible, dedicated, and reliable ladies branches, automated teller machine cards made specifically for ladies, well-trained ladies staff, unlimited accessibility to accounts through ATM cards, Samba.com, and Sambaphone among other services (SAMBA, n.d).
Quality management practice is one of the most important factors influencing an organization’s performance and productivity. Most modern organizations are practicing a participative management style. Employee satisfaction is a reflection of this modern approach of human resource management approach. Employee satisfaction in an organization leads to an increase in customers’ satisfaction and loyalty; which eventually leads to an increase in organizational productivity and performance (Morrison, Jones & Fuller, 1997).
Empowering employees leads to an increase in their motivation and forms a sense of ownership and belongingness. Empowering employees to improve their confidence thereby improving their quality of service. Improved service quality in an organization leads to an increase in customers’ satisfaction levels. High customer satisfaction levels in an organization increase the firm’s productivity and financial performance (Morrison, Jones & Fuller, 1997). The major objective of every bank is to earn profits. For a firm to offer maximum value to its customers, it is required to fully understand its customer’s satisfaction levels.
The Saudi Arabian banking industry has of late experienced a period of innovation and growth. However, Saudi Arabian banks have been neglecting customer and employee satisfaction. A Saudi Economics Report (1996) indicated that Saudi Arabian banks are slightly market-oriented since the market orientation was still at its early stage. The author is interested in studying and comparing the performance- operationally defined as financial performance, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and quality of management of the ladies branches and male branches of the Saudi American Bank (Samba, n.d).
Service- profit chain theory
A service-profit chain theory was formed by Haskett et al. (1997) at Harvard University. They established that there is a relationship between employee satisfaction, customers’ loyalty, profitability and productivity. The theory argues that customers’ satisfaction and loyalty stimulate organizational profit and growth. Customers’ loyalty comes as a result of customers’ satisfaction. Services provided by the employees to the customers stimulate their customer satisfaction. In an organization, value can only be created by loyal, productive, and satisfied employees. Satisfaction of the employees results from quality management practices, policies, and support services that enable them to satisfactorily serve the customers.
A service profit chain is a special leadership tool that emphasizes employees’ satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and quality management practices which lead to a firm’s productivity and increase in its performance.
Justification for research
To the management of SAMBA, this study will provide information on the difference between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and quality management practices in male and female branches. The management may use the findings of this study to improve employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and management practices in the branches.
To the researchers and academicians, the study will provide a base upon which secondary material on the performance of male and female branches can be drawn. The study will also provide good literature on the performance of male and female branches of the Saudi Arabian Bank. To the general academic fraternity, the study will form a base for further studies on male and female banking.
Statement of research questions
- To what extent, if any, does employee satisfaction differ between the male and female branches of Samba located in the Riyadh region?
- To what extent, if any, does customer satisfaction differ between the male and female branches of Samba located in the Riyadh region?
- To what extent, if any, does the quality of management practices differ between the male and female branches of Samba located in the Riyadh region?
Below are the null and alternative hypotheses based on each guiding question.
H1o. There is no difference in the level of employee satisfaction between the male and female branches of Samba located in the Riyadh region.
H1a. There is a difference in the level of employee satisfaction between the male and female branches of Samba located in the Riyadh region.
H2o. There is no difference in the level of customer satisfaction between the male and female branches of Samba located in the Riyadh region.
H2a. There is a difference in the level of customer satisfaction between the male and female branches of Samba located in the Riyadh region.
H3o. There is no difference in the quality of management practices between the male and female branches of Samba located in the Riyadh region.
H3a. There is a difference in the quality of management practices between the male and female branches of Samba located in the Riyadh region.
According to Robert (2000) research studies analyzing the relationship between employees’ satisfaction, productivity, financial performance, and customer satisfaction started in the early 1980s. Robert (2000) further added that some of the earliest studies include a survey by Benjamin Schneider who studied the level of satisfaction of bank’s employees and customers. In the year 1997, Development Dimensions International (DDI) did a study determining the drivers of an effective service environment. The study found that a relationship existed between employee satisfaction and employee retention, customers’ loyalty and customers’ satisfaction increase in organizational profitability.
Katherine (2001) proposed a model indicating that workforce capability, loyalty, and satisfaction make customers perceive value. Customers’ value perception leads to customers’ satisfaction and customers’ loyalty, which eventually leads to organizational growth and profits. The study established that there was a correlation between employees’ capability perception, satisfaction, and customers’ satisfaction. Daniel (2001) also proposed a model linking business performance measures and employee opinion with the exclusion of customer satisfaction measures. The study found that organizations’ employee satisfaction results affect business financial results, which subsequently affects organizations’ financial results. However, the study also found that organizations’ financial metrics can also affect employees’ satisfaction results. This allowed the model to show a correlation between the different areas that were being considered.
Morrison, Jones and Fuller (1997) did a study on the relationship between job satisfaction, empowerment, and leadership styles. Their study found that employees’ empowerment and leadership styles can be used strategically to increase employees’ job satisfaction. Employees’ satisfaction would subsequently lead to customers’ satisfaction. They further analyzed the effects of empowering employees on customers’ satisfaction and service quality and found that there is a correlation.
It has been found that employees of companies with strong financial performances often report high employee satisfaction while companies performing poorly in their financial performance often reported a high level of employees’ dissatisfaction. Firms should therefore come up with their own models since firms differ in the way they define customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction cannot contribute to productivity directly. Other than employee satisfaction, other proactive measures of productivity include brand engagement and motivational levels (Heskett et al., 1997).
A research method refers to the procedure of collecting and analyzing data in a manner that combines the research purpose with the economy (Babbie, 2002). Further, Kothari (2004) argues that research design refers to the blueprint of the research project which comprises of research operations that make the research efficient to yield maximum information while reducing the expenditure of money, effort and time.
A survey research method will be used in this study. This involves interviewing the participants on their feelings, views, and experience in relation to the research objectives and hypotheses (Babbie, 2002). This method is useful when a researcher is collecting data on a subject that is not directly observable.
The target population of this study will be all the employees working in all levels of management of SAMBA female and male branches located in the Riyadh region. There are three levels of management in every female or male branch of SAMBA located in Riyadh. The top management level of each SAMBA branch has 5 staff, 12 staff in the middle-level management, and 18 staff in the low-level management. There are 27 branches of SAMBA bank located in the Riyadh region. The population of this study will therefore be 945.
Data sources rights of the participants
This study will use primary data in answering the research questions. As noted by Creswell (1994), data collection methods used in collecting primary data comprise: questionnaires, observations, focus group discussions and interviews. This study will use both questionnaires and interview guides in the collection of data. According to Mugenda and Mugenda (2003), a questionnaire can be close-ended, open-ended or both. Close-ended questions specify the types of responses expected while open-ended questions give the respondents a chance of expressing what they wish or feel about the subject. The researcher will use questionnaires since they are the most economical in terms of energy, finances, and time as compared to other data collection methods. Questionnaires also majorly concentrate on quantitative data which can be easily collected and analyzed.
In interviews, the researcher collects data from the respondents by talking to them and recording their responses (Creswell, 1994). Creswell (1994) further observed that in face-to-face interviews, a rigid procedure seeking to answer pre-conceived questions is followed. This study will also use face-to-face interviews to collect primary data.
In analyzing the collected data, the researcher will use statistical data analysis tools such as descriptive and inferential statistics in analyzing quantitative data and content analysis in analyzing qualitative data. Miller (1991) argued that the most commonly used sets of statistics include meaning, frequencies, standard deviation, median and percentages. The researcher will guide the research assistants through the data coding, entry, and editing process. The final analysis will be done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 17).
The researcher will seek permission to collect data from the management of SAMBA. Kerridge, Lowe and McPhee (2005) define ethics as making a judgment on right or wrong behaviors. Further, Minja (2009) argued that ethics is a norm that governs human conduct and has a significant impact in relation to human welfare. In this research study, confidentiality will be of concern since the relevant information is of strategic importance. In this regard, the names of the respondents in this study will not be disclosed. In addition, where a response will be attributed to specific individuals or bank branches, the said information will be maintained in strict confidence.
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