The Influence of Non-Work-Related Factors on the Work Commitment

Abstract

Generational changes in society have considerable impacts on employees due to the evolution of values, attitudes, practices, and experiences. Some 45% of employees in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) labour market are Generation Y, making this dominant age group. Individuals born in the period between 1980 and 1999 belong to the Generation Y, which means that their ages in 2018 range from 19 to 38 years. The entry of Generation Y employees into the labour market with their unique attributes, such as tech-savvy, inquisitive, creative, team-oriented, and achievement-oriented, have significantly influenced their work commitment in the workplace. Human resources managers experience immense difficulties in managing Generation Y employees for conventional intrinsic and intrinsic factors no longer motivate them.

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In addition, there are other non-work-related factors influences the work commitment of UAE national generation Y employees in the UAE. Like most of the other countries in the Arab Gulf region, the UAE has had a national programme of labour localisation, known as ‘Emiratisation’ for over two decades. Despite the fact that most UAE nationals prefer to work in the public sector, where the rewards and working conditions are considered more attractive than in the private sector, many public sector organisations stills find it difficult to recruit and retain UAE national Generation Y employees, and often their work performance is inferior to that of expatriate employees. That is what makes this study more interesting and making it an area of concern since one of the government strategies is to pursue the implementation of Emiratisation more efficiently and effectively.

Thus, the purpose of the study is to establish the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of UAE national Generation Y employees in UAE. Specifically, the study aims to determine the influence of family background, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment, which are not exceptional to the UAE culture, on the work commitment among the Emirati employees who belong to Generation Y. In this view, the study hypothesizes that family background, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment are statistically significant predictors of employee commitment to work among Generation Y employees in the UAE.

The study will employ a quantitative approach and survey research design in the collection of data. The study will use a convenient sample of 400 participants who are Emirati employees belonging to Generation Y from the public sector in the UAE. The study will also administer surveys to the selected participants by administering questionnaires physically and record data in SPSS for data analysis. In data analysis, the study will utilise multiple regression analysis and determine the significance of each predictor.

The findings of the study will enable organisations in the UAE and their managers to understand the influence of family demographics, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment on the work commitment of Generation Y employees, and thus leverage them for optimal employee and organisational performance.

Introduction

Background

Generations of people emerge with differences in experience, values, attitudes, ambitions, and mindsets. Changing demographic attributes across the world have a marked effect on human resources. The current population of the UAE (Lim 2013) comprises five generations, namely, Traditionalists (1925 to 1945), the Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964), the Generation X individuals (1965 to 1979), the Generation Y individuals (1980 to1999), and the Generation Z individuals (since 2000). These generations contribute to the workforce differently for they vary not only in their proportion but also in their experiences, values, mindsets, ambitions, and attributes.

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As a generational change is a major factor that influences the changes in demographic attributes of the workforce, the proportion of a generation determines the magnitude of the influence. In the UAE, Generation Y is the latest generation in the workforce representing individuals born in the 1980s and 1990s (Lim 2012). Generation Y employees contribute significantly to the UAE workforce for they comprise about half of the population. According to Lim (2013), Generation Y employees constitute 45% of the workforce in the UAE with an increasing rate of 9% annually. In comparison, the older generation (Generation X) and the younger generation (Generation Z) constitute 26% and 22% of the workforce in the UAE respectively. In this view, it is apparent that Generation Y employees constitute the dominant segment of the workforce in the UAE, and thus, they contribute significantly to organisational activities.

The analysis of Generation Y employees shows that their unique attributes and their proportion in the UAE make them stand out in the workforce. In the workplace, Generation Y employees are aged between 19 and 38 years in 2018, and thus, they have a huge productive potential as employees being highly education with less need to be told what and how to do the tasks and more adjustable to change in the work environment and adoptive to the use of technological functions as compared to the older generation (Holt, Marques & Way 2012). Moreover, since Generation Y employees grew up in the era where education is advanced and accessible, they comprise highly-educated and skilled employees. According to Valentine and Powers (2013), career growth and development are among the key dreams and achievements of Generation Y employees. Having born in the era of the information technology, Valentine and Powers (2013) describe Generation Y as tech-savvy and highly connected individuals to the global world for they own computers, laptops, tablet, and smartphones.

Technological skills coupled with the advancement in technological applications in workplaces make Generation Y employees productive when compared to employees in previous generations. Consequently, Viswanathan and Jain (2013) note that Generation Y employees are adaptable to change and versatile since they have established innovative ways of doing work, which are more efficient and effective when compared to the conventional ways. Thus, based on their potential as highly skilled and tech-savvy employees, it implies that the work commitment of Generation Y in the modern organisations have a huge impact.

Since extrinsic and intrinsic factors motivate employees and enhance their commitment to work, Generation Y employees rely on intrinsic factors as the source of their motivation and commitment. Kong, Wang, and Fu (2015) established that intrinsic factors such as career growth, work-life balance, meaningful work, and freedom values promote the work commitment among Generation Y employees. According to Flanagan (2015), Generation Y employees are committed to working in an environment where there are collaboration and teamwork for they are the source of their motivation. In this view, it is apparent that intrinsic factors motivate Generation Y employees more than extrinsic factors. The relationship between intrinsic factors and the work commitment of employees define the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

In a study, Yundong (2015) established that intrinsic motivation predicts the work commitment of employees for it has strong positive relationships with continuance, affective, and normative aspects of commitment. In this perspective, it means that organisations ought to provide intrinsic motivation for Generation Y employees to improve their work commitment and consequently their performance. Additionally, Generation Y employees are unique in the aspect of demographic experiences. Queiri and Dwaikat (2016) argue that as Generation Y employees saw how their parents (Baby Boomers) endured hardships in their workplaces, and they are not willing to endure the same experience. Therefore, human resource managers ought to understand that Generation Y employees have unique demographic attributes, experiences, and expectations.

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The work commitment of employees in the workplace is subject to many factors, including work-related and non-work-related factors. According to Queiri and Dwaikat (2016), Generation Y employees tend to quit their jobs due to the absence of empowerment, training, and career development, which are intrinsic motivators. In contrast, Generation X and Baby Boomers tend to rely on extrinsic motivators such as money, status, and positions. Since there is a positive relationship between intrinsic motivation and the work commitment (Yundong 2015), it applies to Generation Y employees. Previous studies have established that non-work-related factors that influence the work commitment of employees are economic status, spiritual values, gender, age, academic level, and job status (Dehaghi, Goodarzi & Arazi 2012; Lee & Chen 2013; Nieuwenhuis et al. 2016).

According to Nieuwenhuis et al. (2016), economic status of a neighbourhood in which employees stayed during their adolescent period influences their job commitment in future. In the aspect of spirituality, Dehaghi, Goodarzi, and Arazi (2012) hold that it increases the work commitment of employees by enhancing loyalty, responsibility, and involvement. Regarding demographic attributes such as gender, age, job status, and academic level, numerous studies have established that they have statistically significant influence on the work commitment of employees (Affum-Osei, Acquaah & Acheampong 2015; Beloor, Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy 2017; Lee & Chen 2013). Therefore, as the previous findings demonstrated that non-work-related factors influence the work commitment of employees, this study seeks to demonstrate the extent to which demographic attributes, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment influence the work commitment of UAE national Generation Y employees in the UAE.

Statement of the Problem

Human resource managers experience challenges in the attraction, recruitment, and retention of Generation Y employees in various sectors and companies in the UAE. This study proposes that family background, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment are factors that affect the work commitment of Generation Y employees. In the aspect of family background, the research gap is that most studies have focused on demographic attributes of employees but neglected demographic attributes of family members. Owing to limited findings, the study hypothesises that attributes of family background such as academic qualification of parents, paternal job level, wealth status, and sibling position are familial factors that influence the work commitment of Generation Y employees. An earlier study by Lee and Chen (2013) established that demographical attributes, which form part of the family background, have marked influence on the work commitment of employees in their respective workplaces. In their literature review, Beloor, Nanjundeswaraswamy, and Swamy (2017) noted that gender, age, education level, and job status are some of the demographical attributes that influence the work commitment of employees in the workplace.

An empirical study demonstrated that there is a statistically significant positive association between demographic attributes, such as gender, marital status, age, and academic qualification, and organisational commitment (Affum-Osei, Acquaah & Acheampong 2015). Despite the understanding of the influence of demographic attributes of employees on their commitment, human resources managers continue to grapple with the challenge of the attraction, recruitment, and retention. Therefore, the rationale of the study has its basis on these findings for it seeks to find out if the family background of Generation Y employees in the UAE influences the work commitment in the workplace.

The study proposes that neighbourhood economic status is a non-work-related factor that influences the work commitment of Generation Y employees. The research gap is that current studies demonstrating the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of employees in the workplace are limited globally and lacking in the context of the UAE. In their study among Dutch youth, Nieuwenhuis et al. (2016) found out that neighbourhood economic status is a statistically significant predictor of the work commitment of employees. In this view, exposure to neighbourhood economic status at the adolescent stage determines the work commitment of employees to their work later in life. Beyhan Acar (2014) argues that experiences of Generation Y employees in their families, neighbourhood, and society have shaped their attitudes, mindsets, and values, which are critical factors that determine commitment to their respective organisations.

The study of the effects of the economic status of a neighbourhood in terms of richness and employment rates provides a parameter for the work commitment among employees. Nieuwenhuis et al. (2016) explain that socialisation mechanism elucidates how unemployment and low work commitment are common among poor neighbourhoods. The rationale for socialisation mechanism is that the youth share values, attitudes, and mindsets, which have a marked influence on their motivation and commitment to work or organisations. Brattbakk and Wessel (2013) assert that there is a strong correlation between neighbourhood economic status and the work commitment among employees. On this rationale, it is arguable to state that neighbourhood economic status is a considerable factor that contributes to the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

Religious commitment is another non-work-related factor that influences the work commitment of employees. In countries that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) such as the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, Islam is the dominant religion, and thus, it has a significant influence on work ethics of Generation Y employees. According to Dehaghi, Goodarzi, and Arazi (2012), adherence to spiritual values influences the work commitment of employees to their organisations by increasing responsibility, loyalty, and involvement in the workplace. In their study among Emiratis, Sarwar and Abugre (2013) add that devotion to religious beliefs, values, principles, and practices reflect the commitment of employees to their organisations.

In essence, religious behaviour of employees is directly proportional to their work commitment in the UAE. According to Choerudin (2015), cognitive, affective, and behavioural dimensions of individuals reflect their religious commitment. The cognitive dimension reflects the extent to which individuals understand their religious beliefs and doctrines whereas the affective dimension reflects the extent to which individuals attach their emotions to religious beliefs and doctrines. As individuals espouse their religious beliefs and doctrine, the behavioural dimension reflects the extent of adoption and promotion in the workplace. Evidently, Choerudin (2015) demonstrated that religious commitment accounts for 16.7% of the variation in organisational commitment among employees.

Given that religious involvement, religious loyalty, and responsibility stem from religious commitment, they are critical factors that determine the work commitment of employees in the workplace. Salahudin et al. (2016) assert that Islamic work ethics have marked influence the work commitment of employees for it influences the three dimensions of commitment, namely, normative, affective, and continuance. Since Islam is the dominant religion in the UAE and countries in the GCC, it has incorporated its values, principles, and beliefs in work ethics. In this view, the study avers that organisational commitment among Generation Y employees stems from their religious commitment to Islamic values, beliefs, and principles.

Additionally, numerous studies have established that work-related factors such as intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence the commitment, attraction, recruitment, and retention of employees (Franco & Lyapina 2016; Ismail & Ahmed 2015; Lim 2012; Mafini & Dlodlo 2014). Usually, the impacts on intrinsic factors are dependent on the satisfaction of extrinsic factors for they are the primary motivators in the workplace. Since the UAE is a developed country where extrinsic factors such as salary, status, and rewards no longer have a significant effect on the work commitment of employees, intrinsic factors play a central role in the work commitment of Generation Y employees (Lim 2013). In this view, the UAE has a challenge of meeting intrinsic needs of Generation Y employees given that they have matchless attributes and needs. Beyhan Acar (2014) notes that Generation Y employees are unique because they focus on their careers, comprehend technology, exhibit collaborative tendencies, and prefer prompt reward and recognition. As a result, managers experience immense challenges in trying to motivate employees with generational diversity. Yusoff and Kian (2013) recommend managers to understand different needs of employees and customise their procedures and operations to meet diverse needs. Maceda (2017) adds that managers in the UAE have not met the needs of Emirati employees because over 85% are disengaged from their organisations. Hence, the rationale of the study is that the understanding of needs and motivators of Generation Y employees is integral in promoting their commitment.

This section justifies the three non-work related factors, which are specified in details later in the sub section of literature review chapter.

Purpose of Research

The purpose of the study is to establish the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of UAE national Generation Y employees, as it is particularly important for these individuals to participate in the labour force, in order to achieve the government’s Emiratisation labour localisation initiative. All of the GCC countries have traditionally relied heavily on expatriate labour, but with dwindling oil and gas resources and rapidly growing populations with high proportions of Generation Y, it is essential that citizens of these countries participate effectively in the labour market.

The non-work-related factors are demographic attributes, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment for they apply not only the UAE but also other GCC countries. Ample studies have demonstrated that the demographic attributes of employees have marked influence on their commitment (Beloor, Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy 2017; Lee & Chen 2013; Saha 2016). In their empirical study, Affum-Osei, Acquaah, and Acheampong (2015) established that gender, age, marital status, and academic qualification are outstanding demographic attributes influencing the work commitment of employees in their organisations. According to Saha (2016), employees who are female, mature, married, and with high academic qualifications are more committed than employees who are male, young, single, and with low academic qualifications. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to assess the extent to which demographic attributes such as father’s academic qualification, job level, wealth status, and birth order of employees influence their commitment to the workplace.

As economic status of a neighbourhood has considerable influence on the work commitment of employees, the purpose of the study is to ascertain how neighbourhood economic status of Emiratis influences their commitment to their organisations, particularly Generation Y employees. Numerous studies support the assertion that youthful experiences of employees play a critical role in their lives when they grow up. A study conducted by Nieuwenhuis et al. (2016) confirmed that neighbourhood economic status is a statistically significant predictor of employee commitment to work. Beyhan Acar (2014) adds that attitudes, values, principles, and mindsets of Generation Y employees emanate from youthful experiences. The socialisation mechanism promotes sharing of values, attitudes, principles, and mindsets, which shape the perception of work, and eventually, commitment to organisations. Based on the premise of socialisation, the purpose of the study is to ascertain the extent to which neighbourhood economic status explain the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE and apply findings to other GCC countries.

The purpose of the study is also to ascertain the impact of religious commitment on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. Being a country with dominant Islamic religion, Generation Y employees have common religious beliefs, values, and principles that shape their work ethics. In an Islamic setup, organisations cherish and incorporate religious beliefs and doctrines into their organisational values and principles. In essence, the basis of organisational culture is Islamic beliefs and doctrines. Choerudin (2015) holds that cognitive, affective, and behavioural dimensions of religious commitment have marked impact on the work commitment of employees in the workplace. In the context of the UAE, Salahudin et al. (2016) observed note that Islamic work ethics predict normative, affective, and continuance aspects of organisational commitment. In this perspective, the study aims to assess how cognitive, affective, and behavioural dimensions of religious commitment influence the work commitment of employees.

Overall, the purpose of the study is to ascertain to which degree demographic attributes, neighbourhood economic index, and religious commitment contribute to the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE and other GCC countries. Since demographic attributes, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment are non-work-related factors, their assessment among Generation Y employees would reveal how they influence organisational commitment. The theoretical basis of the research purpose is that background experiences at family level, neighbourhood economic status, and commitment to Islamic religions are latent non-work-related factors, which collectively determine the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

As a theoretical contribution, the findings of the study will contribute to the body of knowledge related the management of UAE national Generation Y employees in the UAE. Particularly, the findings will contribute to the theoretical knowledge for they will elucidate the influence of non-work-related factors such as family demographic attributes, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment on the work commitment of UAE national Generation Y employees in the UAE. In addition the theoretical contribution of the study will be in developing and testing of a scale to measure neighbourhood economic status in privileged, high wealth societies since there is no measurement available relevant to HR field.

As a practical contribution, the findings of the study will be of significant benefit for they will enable managers in both the private and the public sectors to improve the work commitment of employees by leveraging their demographic attributes, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment. Moreover, since under employment of locals is a key factor in the GCC countries, the findings of the study will promote localisation for they elucidate factors that influence work commitment among Generation Y employees UAE citizens and by extension in the GCC region.

Research Objectives

  1. To determine the influence of demographic attributes of family background on the work commitment of Generation Y employees UAE national in the UAE
  2. To determine the influence of neighbourhood economic status on the work commitment of Generation Y employees UAE national in the UAE
  3. To determine the influence of religious commitment of Generation Y employees UAE national on the work commitment in the UAE

Main Research Question

  • What is the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y employees UAE national in the UAE?

The influences that the study is interested in are specified in the below section (Research Questions).

Research Questions

  • What are the influences of biographic attributes of family background on the work commitment of UAE national Generation Y employees UAE national in the UAE?
  • What is the influence of neighbourhood economic status on the work commitment of Generation Y employees UAE national in the UAE?
  • What is the influence of religious commitment of Generation Y employees UAE national on the work commitment in the UAE?

Further justification on the selection of the non-work related factor is detailed in the literature review chapter.

Hypotheses

  1. Family background has a statistically significant influence on the work commitment of Generation Y employees UAE national in the UAE.
  2. Neighbourhood economic status has statistically a significant influence on the work commitment of Generation Y employees UAE national in the UAE.
  3. Religious commitment has statistically a significant influence on the work commitment of Generation Y employees UAE national in the UAE.

Scope

The study focuses on examining the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y employees UAE national in the UAE. The study will examine how demographic attributes of the family background of employees, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment of employees impact their work commitment in their respective organisations. In the family background, the study will examine paternal academic qualification, paternal job level, wealth status, and sibling order. In neighbourhood economic status, religious commitment, and employee commitment, the study will use established scales with a high degree of reliability score. In this view, the study will not examine the influence of other non-work-related factors apart from demographic attributes of employees’ background, neighbourhood economic status, and spirituality of employees.

Regarding sample size, the study will sample 400 employees belonging to Generation Y. The sample size of 400 adequately represents Generation Y population and practically feasible to sample from the population. Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill (2009) recommend the use a margin of 5% and confidence interval of 95% in determination of a representative sample size. As the study targets Generation Y employees, the ages of employees targeted range from 19 to 38 years in 2018. In this view, the study will not examine employees older than 38 years. Moreover, the study will examine Generation Y employees who are citizens of the UAE, and thus, the study will exclude expatriates in its sample population.

The study will exclude expatriates because they come from different countries with different experiences of family demographic attributes, neighbourhood economic status, and religious persuasions and the focus is on the government labour localisation policy (Emiratisation). In essence, UAE nationals provide a homogenous population with similar attributes of family setup, neighbourhood economic status, and commitment to Islamic religion. Since Generation Y employees are in both the public and private organisations, the study will focus on the employees in the public organisations. Public sector is government owned and Semi- government sector is where it could be wholly or partially owned by Government operated by private entity. Semi-government sector organisations such as Etihad Airways and Emirates in the airline industry and the public sector organisations such as Dubai World and Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation compete for businesses in the UAE. See section (1.9.4 Industry Structure) for the explanation of these categories.

According to Thompson and Wissink (2016), despite efforts of Emiratisation, the proportion of Emiratis in the private sector is still very low. In this view, most of the Generation Y Emirati employees are in the public organisations following the Emiratisation policy. According to a national survey, Emiratis prefer working in the public sector because it provides good working conditions and favourable remuneration (John 2015). Hence, the study assumes that the preference of Emiratis to work in the public sector would not confound the work commitment of Generation Y employees. Moreover, since Emiratis are dominant in the public sector and share the same socioeconomic and religious experiences, they represent a homogenous population that is appropriate for the study to come up with valid and generalisable findings.

The findings of the research will have significant implications on organisations in the UAE for it would indicate how demographic attributes, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment of Generation Y employees impact their commitment to work. As managers in various organisations grapple with the challenge of retention of employees, the findings of this study will enable managers to understand the extent to which demographic factors, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment contribute to the work commitment of Generation Y employees. The study will promote the understanding of demographic factors relating to family background, such as father’s economic status and academic level, which shape experiences of Generation Y employees, and thus, determine their commitment.

Moreover, the study will elucidate how neighbourhood economic status shapes attitudes, ambitions, and values of employees, hence, leveraging them in promoting the work commitment of Generation Y employees. Given that Islam is the dominant religion in the UAE and the GCC region, the analysis of the religious commitment and its effects on the work commitment of employees will provide empirical findings to managers. In general, the study will enable organisations in the UAE to improve the work commitment of Generation Y employees by leveraging and considering demographic attributes, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment of Generation Y Emirati employees in their management strategies.

The findings from the study will promote management of Generation Y employees for managers will utilise them in making evidence-based decisions aimed at improving the work commitment of employees in the UAE. The study will generate valid findings and add to the body of knowledge relating to the management of Generation Y employees in various organisations in the UAE and the GCC region. Since the work commitment of employees is a management issue across the world, the study will shed more light on non-work-related factors that have a marked influence on it. In this view, the study will elucidate how demographic factors such as father’s academic level, job level, economic status, and birth order influence the work commitment level of Generation Y employees. In the aspect of neighbourhood economic status, the study aims to contribute to the body of knowledge that socioeconomic forces play a central role in the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

The current studies have illustrated that age, gender, marital status, and academic qualification predict the level of the work commitment among employees. Thus, this study seeks to illustrate further that neighbourhood economic status is a predictor of the work commitment among Generation Y employees in the UAE. As religion is an integral part of the organisational culture, the study aims to elucidate how religious commitment mediates diverse dimensions of employee commitment to work. Thus, the study will contribute immensely to the management of Generation Y employees and improve their work commitment in the UAE and across the world.

Theoretical Contribution

This study will make a significant theoretical contribution since it will indicate how social systems influence the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. In this view, the findings of the study will elucidate the mechanism of the ecological systems theory. In essence, the study will elucidate how religious commitment, neighbourhood economic status, and demographic attributes of a family are social factors in the ecological systems theory that determine commitment of Generation Y employees. Moreover, the findings will contribute to theoretical development in human resources management for it will indicate that non-work-related factors also play a significant role in the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

As the study will provide empirical findings, it will contribute to the body of knowledge for students, researchers, and human resources managers to apply in their respective fields of interest. Given that the UAE is grappling with the challenge of unemployment, the findings will strengthen Emiratisation. Overall, the study will come up with a model that elucidate the influence on non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y in developed and emerging economies such as the UAE and other GCC countries.

Practical Implications

The study will have significant implications to the realm of human resource management because the study seeks to venture into a novel field and reveal subtle factors that influence commitment of Generation Y employees. Essentially, religious commitment, demographic attributes of family, and neighbourhood economic status are factors that studies of human resource management have neglected, and thus, little or no information is available regarding their influence on Generation Y employees. If the study confirms the hypotheses that family demographics, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment are statistically significant predictors of the work commitment of employees, the practical implications of the findings is that human resources managers need to consider them in the recruitment of employees.

In essence, by assessing family demographics, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment, human resources managers can predict the work commitment of Generation Y employees. However, if the study finds out that family demographics, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment are not statistically significant predictors of the work commitment of Generation employees, the implication is that the findings form the basis for further studies in other populations to establish the role of these factors in human resource management.

At this stage, this is still early to provide more details in this section until the result of the study is obtained. However, the study will be providing useful information for HR managers.

Research Context

The UAE Background

The UAE is a developed country situated in the Arabian Peninsula bordering the Arabian Gulf (also known as the Persian Gulf) on the north-western region and the Gulf of Oman Gulf on the south-eastern region. It emanated from the Trucial States that the British established in the early 19th century as sheikhdoms for their colonies. In 1971, the UAE gained its independence and became a federation consisting of seven emirates, namely, Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah (Sutton 2014). The discovery of oil in the early part of the 19th Century and continual exploitation significantly boosted economic growth and development the UAE as an oil economy as well as improved the quality of life among the Emiratis. The oil economy attracted expatriates from different countries, mostly from the United States and the Europe, who contributed considerably to the economic growth and development of the UAE making it a developed country in the modern global economy (Sutton 2014). Currently, the economy of the UAE ranks second after Saudi Arabia in the GCC region with a gross domestic product of over $400 billion dollars. Comparative economic growth indicates that the UAE has grown by roughly 231 times since its independence in 1971 (Sutton 2014). The exponential growth of the UAE economy is due to oil exportation, diversified economy, and favourable political environment that promote the establishment of businesses.

Demographic analysis by the United Arab Emirates National Bureau of Statistics shows that the UAE has an extremely diverse population. The current population of the UAE is about 9.2 million with expatriates comprising 85% (7.8 million) and the Emiratis constituting the remaining 15% (1.4 million). In the early 21st Century, the population of the UAE was barely 3 million, but it has tripled in the last 16 years to about 9.2 million. The population of the UAE is very diverse for 19% are the Emiratis, 50% are South Asians, 23% are Arabs, and the remaining 8% are East Asians and Westerners (United Arab Emirates National Bureau of Statistics 2016). Across the GCC region, Indians and Pakistanis are the dominant expatriates for they comprise 37% of the population in three emirates, namely, Ajman, Dubai, and Sharjah. Indian, Pakistani, Bangladesh, and Filipino represent 25%, 12%, 9%, 7%, and 5% of the expatriates in major Emirates (United Arab Emirates National Bureau of Statistics 2016). Owing to improved economy and lifestyles, the UAE has a life expectancy of about 75 years, which is higher than the global average of 71 years. The dominant religion in the UAE is Islam (76%) followed by Christianity (12.6%), Hinduism (6.6%), and Buddhism (2%). Therefore, religion has an overwhelming impact on principles, values, and norms of Emiratis.

GCC Countries

The UAE is one the countries in the GCC, which is a political and economic block of the Arab states in the Middle East. The GCC countries comprise of the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. The GCC countries are similar politically as they are monarchical states that came into existence in 1981 following the signing of the Charter in Riyadh (Ganguli 2016). The aim of establishing the GCC was to promote cooperation among member states and their citizens in politics and economics. To administer their operations, the GCC countries created a secretariat charged with the responsibility of formulating and implementing policies on behalf of the member states. Ganguli (2016) reports that the GCC countries are in progress to become an economic block because they established a customs union in 2003 and formed a common market in 2007, and in 2009, initiated progress towards a single regional currency in 2009. The GCC has achieved the objective of a common market for organisations are able to move their goods and services easily without undue restrictions. In 2014, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain made progressive steps towards achievement of a single currency in the GCC (Ganguli 2016). In this view, GCC countries have a similar economic environment for they have the same customs union, share the common market, and are about to operate using a single currency.

With the population of about 47 million and diversity, the GCC countries have a very rich culture. Owing to the common market, the GCC citizens can move freely among member states with their passports as identification documents without the necessity to acquire visas from different states (Ganguli 2016). As the dominant religion is Islam, the culture of the GCC citizens emanates from Islamic teachings for its shapes their way of life and business ethics. The existence of freedom of worship allows other religions to establish their churches and temples. Islamic culture is evident in legal and political arenas the criminal justice system has incorporated Sharia into their laws while political systems follow Islamic monarchical rules where governments and parliaments are not subject to democratic elections except in Yemen. The Islamic teachings also dictate the dress code for women and men except for expatriates who have the freedom to dress differently. As the power lies in the monarchical systems, the GCC citizens prefer hierarchical order in their society. Over 95% of companies in the GCC are family businesses for connections play a key role in the operations and successfulness of businesses. Individuals and families have moral and divine duty to help the poor by donating to charity organisations. Thus, the culture of the GCC countries emanates from Islamic religion and plays a significant role in the lives, business, politics, and economics of the GCC citizens.

Despite its advancements in economic growth and development, culture, politics, and social institutions, the GCC countries experience local challenges. The existence of monarchical governments in different states implies that the GCC countries have limited space for democracy (Bank, Richter & Sunik 2014). In this view, GCC citizens do not have equal rights in governance for the noble families dominate both political and economic arenas. Women belong to the marginalised groups in some of the GCC countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Oman, for they are religious traditions and norms restricting them from working and participating in politics as their men counterparts (Sjoberg 2015). The overreliance on oil production as the main economic activity makes economies of the GCC countries unstable for they are subject to global oil prices and economic recessions. Moreover, Aissaoui (2013) adds that the production of oil is levelling off because it is unsustainable and non-renewable form of energy. Currently, the GCC countries have formulated regulations and policies aimed at promoting economic diversification to reduce overreliance on oil production. Almutairi (2016) recommends diversification into renewable sources of energy, and other industries would strengthen economic stability of the GCC countries. The labour sector has experienced saturation because both the expatriates and the Emiratis compete for limited job opportunities (Alhemoud 2013; Marzovilla 2014). Therefore, the GCC countries promote employment of the Emiratis through the Emiratisation policy, which requires the public and private organisations to use quota system in employing the Emiratis.

Oil and Gas Wealth

The economy of the GCC countries is dependent on oil and gas production. According to Alhemoud (2013), the GCC countries are major producers of oil and gas because the production accounts for 40% of the global production owing to huge deposits recoverable fossil fuel. The gross domestic product accrued from oil and gas is about 50% in most states but reduced to 24% and 32% in Bahrain and the UAE due to increased diversification. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the leading producers of oil and gas in the GCC region. Across the world, GCC countries have the highest consumption rate for they consume about 32% of their production (Sakhrieh 2016). Wealth accrued from oil and gas industries has transformed GCC region from a developing region to a developed region in the Middle East, which attracts a lot of labour across the world.

Industry Structure

The industry of the GCC countries comprises the private sector, the public sector, and the semi-governmental sector for they play a significant contribution to economic growth and development. The private industry is an industry that individuals own and undertake their business activities without the support of the government. In comparison, the public industry entails organisations and institutions funded by governments to provided services to the GCC citizens. The semi-governmental sector has industries and organisations that the private and the government co-own and manage it collectively. According to Elborno (2016), the public sector and the semi-governmental sector employ more than 90% of the GCC citizens.

The percentage shows that the private sector employs the minority proportion of employees. However, due to the declining gross domestic product from oil and gas industry, the government is encouraging private sector participation in the economic growth and development for it has the potential to boost shrinking labour market. According to Gulf Labour Markets and Migration (2017), the percentages of the Emiratis in the public sector and semi-governmental sector are about 60% while the percentage of the Emiratis in the private sector is less than 10%. These statistics show that expatriates dominate the private sector while the Emiratis dominate the public sector and the semi-governmental sector. Before the promulgation of the Emiratisation policy, the proportion of the Emiratis in the public sector was less than 40%.

The UAE Labour Market

The labour market of the UAE has a similar structure to that of the GCC region for expatriates dominates the private sector while the Emiratis dominate the public sector. Lim (2012) highlights that the labour market of the UAE is dependent on expatriates for they are the majority comprising 85% of the total workforce, leaving the remaining 15% to represent the Emiratis. Out of the UAE population of about 9.2 million, expatriates are nearly 7.8 million while the Emiratis are approximately 1.4 million. The small population of the Emiratis implies that they lack adequate labour to revolutionise the UAE. The booming economic growth in the late part of the 20th Century attracted immigrants to the UAE who exploited job opportunities and contributed to the economic growth and development, resulting in their dominance in the private and the public sectors of the economy.

Movement to Emiratisation

The low proportion of the Emiratis in the labour market compelled the UAE government to formulate the policy of Emiratisation. In the public sector, the policy of the Emiratisation has significantly increased the proportion of the Emirati employees from less than 2% to the current proportion of 13% (Gulf Labour Markets and Migration 2017). However, the Emiratisation has not made a significant impact on the private sector because less than 1% of the employees are the Emiratis. Thus, given the saturated labour market and shrinking economy, the Emiratisation offers a feasible solution to increasing unemployment rates among the Emiratis. Although the Emiratisation is a noble idea, its implementation has some challenges.

In the public sector, the Emiratisation has made a considerable impact, but the challenge is that few Emiratis have the required skills to replace a large number of expatriates. In the private sector, skills, as well as terms and conditions are not favourable to the Emiratis. Forstenlechner et al. (2012) explain that lack of motivation, ambiguities in rights, and low wages are some of the major factors that hinder implementation of the Emiratisation in the private sector. Hence, to improve hiring and retention of Emirati employees, the UAE government ought to come up with enabling legislations to encourage private sector hiring and equip the Emiratis with appropriate skills to be competitive in the public sector.

Workforce in the UAE

Analysis of the workforce in the UAE shows the existence of a higher proportion of expatriates (87%) than the proportion of Emiratis. The low proportion of the Emiratis has compelled the UAE government to promote employment of the locals through the Emiratisation policy. In the private sector, the percentage of the expatriates is 96% while the percentage of the Emiratis is 4% (Rasheed 2016). Comparatively, the proportion of expatriates in the public sector is 85% while the proportion of the Emiratis is 15%. Gendered comparison of the proportion of the UAE workforce shows that women represent 17% while men represent 83%.

Emiratisation has increased the percentage of women from the previous percentage of 6% in 2006 to the current percentage of 17% (Randeree 2012). According to Lim (2013), Generation Y employees are the majority for they constitute about half of the workforce in the UAE. Thus, the study will examine Generation Y employees in the public sector for they are not only dominant in the UAE but also in the public sector.

Literature Review

Generation Y Individuals in the Gcc Countries

In the Arab World, Generation Y comprises individuals with different age brackets when compared to the conventional definition. Whereas the definition that Generation Y constitute individuals born between 1980 and 1999 is conventional, the Arab World regards individuals born between 1982 and 2002 as Arab Digital Generation (Shediac et al. 2013). The differences in the definition emanate from the experiences that Generation Y individuals encounter in the modern society. Born in the era where GCC countries united for social, economic, and political progress, Generation Y experienced modernisation and globalisation.

Peters (2012) describes Generation Y as a pampered generation for they grew up in a period when economic booming occurred and technological advancement coupled with globalisation have enabled them to adopt international culture. In this perspective, globalisation and technological forces have shaped the emergence of Generation Y employees in the GCC countries. Nevertheless, Shediac et al. (2013) note that governments and organisations in the GCC countries have not realised the need to incorporate and consider generation differences in formulating their policies and regulations for equitable economic and social development. For instance, the Emiratisation policy provides a consistent strategy of curbing disproportionate employment of the GCC citizens without considering different generational needs.

The proportions of Generation Y employees in different GCC countries are relatively similar owing to the current trends in demographics across the world. The increasing proportion of Generation Y employees in the workforce across the GCC region and other Arabian countries signal massive changes in the demographics of the labour market. The exit of Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and the entrance the Generation Y (1980-1999) are the two main factors that explain the increasing proportion of Generation Y in the labour market across the GCC countries (Alkindi, Teoh & Naji 2017). Moreover, the Emiratisation policy has also contributed to the dominance of the Generation Y employees in the labour market in the GCC region.

Lim, Tayeb, and Othman (2012) tabulate that Generation Y forms 50% of the population in Saudi Arabia followed by Generation X at 20% and Generation Z at 18%. The challenge in the labour market of Saudi Arabia is that the proportion of Saudi Arabians is about 79% of the total population, but they comprise 20% of the workforce. In other states such as the Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE experience similar disproportionate distribution of Generation Y in the population and the labour market due to the prevailing labour conditions that favour expatriates (Tong & Al-Awad 2014). Thus, the analysis of the non-work-related factors that influence the work commitment of Generation Y employees would shed additional light on the existence of the current disproportionate distribution of employees.

Generational Comparisons in the Gcc

Comparison of Generation Y locals in the GCC reveals consistent pattern and trends of marked differences from one generation to another. A study conducted in GCC countries revealed that Generation Y employees have unique attributes because they speak their mind, share information, make instant decisions, and always interactive with people (Schofield & Honore 2015). When compared to Generation X and Baby Boomers, Generation Y individuals tend to be more open for they speak their minds in the workplace. Gerenpayeh (2015) argues that interviews performed among Generation Y Emiratis demonstrate that they speak their minds because they do not have any reservations about issues they talk about.

Since Generation Y individuals appreciate the use of technology, they acquire information and share with their friends and colleagues in the workplace. The shared information has a considerable impact on the lives of employees because it empowers them and enables them to boost their expertise (Lim 2015). In organisations, decision-making follows a bureaucratic process, which takes long to make and implement decisions. As previous generations find it normal for delays in decision-making to occur, Generation Y contrast them as they prefer instant decisions. The interactive attribute of Generation Y employees enable them to learn from their older and experienced generations as well as communicate effectively with customers. Thus, generational differences between Generation Y and previous generations bring to fore unique attributes of Generation Y employees.

Characteristics of Generation Y in Gcc

The entry of Generation Y employees into the labour market coupled with their increasing dominance have significant importance to GCC countries given demographic youth bulge and Emiratisation trend. Born between 1980 and 1999, Generation Y employees have experienced the growth and development of the GCC countries, which was formed in 1981 following the need to have a common market, customs union, and single currency. Schofield and Honore (2015) state that GCC countries were formed on the principles of a common religion, a single cultured, shared language, same socioeconomic conditions, and free labour market. These principles have significantly shaped Generation Y employees.

Rapid changes in cultural norms, communication methods, use of technology, and human resource management have transformed the labour market in GCC region and influenced Generation Y employees. Since Generation Y employees are completing their entry into the labour market as a small proportion is barely 18 years, labour market analysis reveals that they learn in advanced society, gain new skills, experience motivation by exceptional motivators, value learning and development, and deal with work relationships uniquely (Luscombe et al. 2013; Schofield & Honore 2015). In essence, these attributes of Generation Y employees based on their experiences presents a challenge to managers for it implies that their commitment to work is different.

In the UAE, Generation Y espouses characteristics that are unique and differentiate them from characteristics of individuals in other GCC countries and across the world (Lim 2013; Lim 2012; Schofield & Honore 2015). Lim (2013) expounds that that Generation Y individuals are highly-skilled individuals since they grew up in the era of information technology where they have unlimited access to information and experience modernisation and globalisation in various aspects of life. For example, in their schools and workplaces, Generation Y employees virtually employ technology in performing numerous tasks and activities (Khera & Malik 2016). However, the private sector holds onto stereotype that Generation Y Emirati employees are unskilled and unqualified to perform tasks that require advanced skills and knowledge (Tong & Al-Awad 2014).

In their study to determine factors that influence the recruitment of employees in the UAE, Forstenlechner et al. (2012) found out that Generation Y are have digital skills, espouses strong national identity, love their career, commit to education, and cherish financial stability. The analysis of these attributes shows that Generation Y employees keep abreast with technology, education, and globalisation forces that modernise society. An extensive study by Scholfield and Honore (2015) revealed similar attributes because it demonstrated that individual, family, and society drive Generation Y to succeed in their careers as determined by high salary, knowledge, expertise, and work-life balance. Thus, characteristics of Generation Y employees show that their interests revolve around career development, acquisition of knowledge, and keeping abreast with technological and globalisation forces.

Generation Y Career Growth and Development in Gcc

Modernisation and globalisation are drivers of Generation Y employees in the workplace because they strive for higher academic qualifications and skills. Previous studies have noted that peer orientation, career development, and a strong work-life balance are key attributes that differentiate Generation Y employees from the rest. An extensive analysis of Generation Y employees in the GCC countries reveals further attributes, which explain the drivers of success, development, and social interactions. According to Schofield and Honore (2015), the pressure to succeed is one of the drivers that make Generation Y grow and develop their careers. Since the prevailing social, economic, and cultural conditions value success, Generation Y employees strive to be successful and keep abreast with the modernisation trends.

GCC countries offer a competitive environment for expatriates and citizens compete for limited opportunities based on their skills and knowledge. A study performed in the GCC countries showed that the pressure to succeed is strong among Generation Y employees because 76% of them agree that they want to succeed in their careers. The pressure to succeed varies according to state and gender in the GCC region. An elaborate study by Schofield and Honore (2015) exposed that the pressure to succeed is strong in the UAE (80%), Qatar (80%), Kuwait (76%), Oman (76%), Saudi Arabia (76%), and Bahrain (66%), while the pressure to succeed among male and female employees is 79% and 70% respectively. These figures suggest that the strong urge to succeed among Generation Y employees is a motivating force that determines their performance.

The pressure to succeed among Generation Y employees stems from extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. Non-work-related factors such as the status of personal drive, family, parents, religion, society, friends, politics, and government, and work-related factors such as manager and organisation are some factors that define pressure to succeed among Generation Y employees. In their study across GCC region, Schofield and Honore (2015) found out that personal drive is the leading cause for pressure to succeed at 59% followed by religion (8%), society (5%), friends (3%), manager (2%), organisation (2%), and politics (1%).

These findings reveal that non-work-related factors significantly influence the drive among Generation Y employees to succeed in their careers. Although the personal drive is leading among all GCC countries, society and family have a strong impact in the UAE whereas religion has a strong impact in Saudi Arabia and Oman. Gender comparison shows that females have stronger personal drive than males. In this view, managers ought to understand that Generation Y employees derive drive to succeed from themselves.

Perception of career success varies from one generation to another because it is a factor of salary, work-life balance, knowledge, expertise, reputation, job status, connections, independence, and opportunity. A survey performed across GCC countries revealed that high salary (54%), knowledge and expertise (46%), and good work-life balance (37%) are the leading factors that Generation Y employees consider important for career success (Schofield & Honore 2015). The perception of career success is consistent across the GCC countries for Generation Y employees in Bahrain and Qatar consider work-life balance as a key factor to career success while Generation Y employees in Saudi Arabia and the UAE consider knowledge and expertise an important factor to career success. While males prefer knowledge and expertise as a measure of career success, females prefer reputation, job status, and independence as a measure of career success.

Given that family and society are major drivers of success, it implies that high salary, expertise, knowledge, and work-life balance are familial and societal attributes. According to Ismail and Lu (2014), Generation Y individuals in the GCC countries do value education, development, experience, knowledge, and respect. The existence of such themes shows that Generation Y employees in the GCC countries have specific preferences in their lives, which point to their unique interests in the labour market.

Generation Y Participation in the in the Uae Workforce

Generation Y comprises a significant proportion of population across the world. Essentially, Generation Y comprises individuals who were born between 1980 and 1999 who have similar values, experience, attitudes, and inspirations. Generation Y employees in the UAE comprises 45% of the population with unique attributes that make them stand out in their workplaces (Lim 2013). The entry of Generation Y employees into the labour market of the UAE has significant implications because they represent a considerable proportion and possess unique attributes and needs. Born in the era of information technology, Generation Y individuals understand technology and have the best technological knowledge for they can easily access information on the Internet through smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers.

With the experience gained from their industrious parents who are baby boomers, Generation Y individuals have understood the dynamics of labour and have created innovative ways of performing their tasks (Ozcelik 2015). For instance, Generation Y individuals are inquisitive, creative, prefer teamwork, value career growth, and desire empowering environment in their workplaces (Flanagan 2015). According to Guillot-Soulez and Soulez (2014), Generation employees prefer organisations that provide opportunities for training, career growth, and talent exploitation. The preferences of Generation Y employees put a lot of pressure on human resources managers to adjust their conventional management strategies and adopt progressive and responsive ones in line with the dynamic needs of employees. In this perspective, human resources managers have a challenge of meeting the unique attributes of Generation Y employees in the UAE.

The analysis of labour market of the UAE shows that Emiratisation and retirement of Generation X have boosted the entry of Generation Y into the labour market. Demographics show that Emiratis and expatriates constitute 15% and 85% respectively of the workforce in the UAE (Lim 2012). Forstenlechner et al. (2012) assert that Emiratisation has increased the proportion of Emiratis in the labour market, and thus, contributing to a significant increase in the proportion of Generation Y employees (Forstenlechner et al. 2012; Kitana & Vhebi 2015). Thus, Emiratisation and the emergence of Generation Y employees have changed the attributes of employees in the labour market. Moreover, the retirement of Generation X employees in the past five years has led to their rapid decline from 35% in 2010 to 26% in 2015 (Lim 2012; Lim 2013). Although statistics show that Generation Y employees are increasingly becoming the dominant segment of the UAE labour market, studies regarding the impact of non-work-related factors on their performance is lacking (Lim 2012). Thus, a study to determine the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of these employees is essential to improve their performance.

Work Commitment as a Challenge in the Uae

The work commitment of employees is one of the attributes that determine productivity of employees and performance of organisations. Essentially, the work commitment is the amount of passion that employees have towards their tasks, duties, and responsibilities in an organisation (Nahm, Lauver & Keyes 2012). Human resources managers usually aim to promote the work commitment of employees to improve their productivity and overall performance of an organisation. Changing dynamics of employees in the UAE has a significant impact on the work commitment of employees. Despite efforts of campaigning for Emiratisation, public and private sectors continue to grapple with the diminishing job opportunities among the nationals due to low work commitment resulting in a massive decline of available jobs (Askary & Kukunuru 2014; Saha 2016).

The emergence of Generation Y employees with unique needs, which require updated management strategies, the work commitment of employees is hard to achieve. Human resource managers often experience low work commitment levels characterised by absenteeism, low interest, poor productivity, and lack of motivation (Nahm, Lauver & Keyes 2012). Askary and Kukunuru (2014) hold that the work commitment indicates the extent of creativity, innovativeness, profitability, satisfaction, and productivity of employees, and thus, reflecting their retention. In this view, the work commitment is an important parameter that reflects the utility of Generation Y employees in the workplaces.

As a critical parameter in human resources management, the work commitment enables determination of not only retention of employees but also their productivity and performance. As experts have come up with numerous models of assessing the work commitment among employees, which have evolved and become complex to enhance validity and reliability of assessment (Baba & Sliong 2012). In 1991, John Meyer and Natalie Allen came up with a three-component model comprising affective commitment, normative commitment, and continuance commitment (Bouckenooghe, Schwarz & Minbashian 2015). Affective commitment measures the extent to which an employee is emotionally attached to an organisation and identifies with its vision, mission, and goals. Normative commitment measures the degree to which employees feel obliged and indebted to an organisation for receiving certain benefits and privileges. The aspect of continuance commitment measures the propensity of employees to remain in their positions owing to unfavourable loss associated with leaving.

To enhance validity and reliability of the commitment model, a five-component model was developed with passive continuance, active continuance, and value as additional aspects of measurements (Wong & Tong 2014). Active continuance measures the propensity of an employee to remain in an organisation because it offers opportunities for training and promotion while passive continuance is the tendency of an employee to stay in an organisation owing to lack of better opportunities in other organisations. Value measures how employees perceive their value to their organisations and are willing to exert considerable effort.

Non-work-Related Factors

Numerous factors do influence the work commitment of employees in their workplaces and organisations. The emergence of Generation Y employees with unique demographic attributes present challenges to human resources for they have complex needs related to non-work-related factors. According to Saha (2016), gender, age, academic qualification, marital status, and attitudes of employees are non-work-related factors that impact the work commitment of employees to their organisation. In this view, female, mature, educated, and married employees are more committed to their organisations than male, young, uneducated, and single employees.

Human resources managers employ these non-work-related attributes when recruiting employees that exhibit a commendable commitment to their work. Numerous studies have confirmed that gender, age, academic level, and marital status affect the commitment of employees (Affum-Osei, Acquaah & Acheampong 2015; Beloor, Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy 2017; Lee & Chen 2013). As these factors have been extensively studied and confirmed that they have marked influence on the work commitment of employees, the study seeks to examine additional non-work-related factors that influence Generation Y employees in the UAE.

Operationalisation of Work-Related Factors

The theory that the study applies to the study of the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of employees in the UAE is the ecological systems theory. Urie Bronfenbrenner developed the ecological systems theory, which elucidates the nature of social systems that individuals operate and interact with resulting in behavioural changes (Bone 2015). The ecological systems theory holds that individuals live in a social environment comprising successive layers of social systems (Boon et al. 2012). At the inner circle, there is an individual under the direct impact of family, peers, and church at the microsystem layer.

At the next layer, there is mesosystem, which depicts the interaction of individuals and different social factors of the microsystem. Exosystem is the third layer of the social system comprising neighbours, politics, and social media. At the fourth layer, there is macrosystem, which represents attitudes, norms, ideals, and values of a culture that shape individuals in the society (Musgrave & Woodward 2016). As the study seeks to examine the influence of family background, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment on the work commitment of Generation Y employees, the ecological systems theory is the appropriate theoretical framework. The theoretical framework below shows adapted model illustrating religious commitment and family background as microsystem factors and economic status of neighbourhood as exosystem factor influencing the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

Demographic factors influencing Generation Y
Figure 1: Demographic factors influencing Generation Y

Demographic Factors

Demographic factors related to family background have considerable impact on commitment of employees to their organisations. In the UAE where there is a significant increase in the proportion of employees in Generation Y, human resources are grappling to understand complex needs of employees. Lim (2012) avers that demographic factors mediate the impact of extrinsic and intrinsic factors on the commitment of Generation Y employees. Since employees have family backgrounds, examination of the demographic attributes of their families depicts their experiences, values, and aspirations. Affum-Osei, Acquaah and Acheampong (2015) identify demographic attributes surrounding the background of employees as products of experiences, which shape their commitment to respective workplaces or organisations. The study holds that additional demographic factors, namely, academic qualification of parents, paternal job level, wealth status, and sibling order influence the commitment of employees (Kultalahti & Viitala 2014). In this view, consideration of the impact of demographic attributes on commitment of Generation Y employees is critical.

An elaborate study performed in the GCC countries proved that indeed demographic factors influence Generation Y individuals. In this elaborate study, Schofield and Honore (2015) established that parents, family, and society influence commitment of Generation Y individuals to their careers and organisations in the UAE. The review of the sources of the drive to success and commitment in the GCC countries gave similar trends regarding the influence of non-work-related factors such as personal drive, parents, family, society, friends, and business leaders. The analysis of the UAE labour market showed that personal drive has a leading influence on demographic factors at 37% followed by parents and family at 30% and society at 14% (Schofield & Honore 2015).

To establish the effect of family on commitment among employees, Khan (2014) conducted a study among women and revealed that family conflict is a negative predictor of the commitment to work and employee performance. However, since no study has examined the influence of demographic variables such as family and society on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE, this study aims to determine their effects.

Economic Status of Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood economic status influences economic activities and status of individuals in the society. A study demonstrated that a significant relationship exists between unemployment rates and neighbourhood economic status (Brattbakk & Wessel 2013). Socialisation mechanism of learning through conditioning and imitation explains why the youth in the poor neighbourhoods are unemployed due to a lower job commitment than the youth in the affluent neighbourhoods (Manley 2013). In essence, exposure to poor neighbourhoods creates negative attitudes among the youth, resulting is low job commitment and unemployment. In a study performed among 429 Dutch youth to establish the influence of neighbourhood on the work commitment of employees, the findings demonstrated that exposure to poor neighbourhoods between the ages of 16 and 21 years results in diminished job commitment at the age of 25 years (Nieuwenhuis et al. 2016). Internationally in those countries deprivation and poverty cause problems in the labour market. Although it was similar situation in the GCC and UAE 20 years ago especially in rural areas where people did not have access to education, now it is not the case as literacy rate in the UAE and GCC is higher than what it used to be before.

Such findings are novel for they reveal that neighbourhoods influence behaviours of individuals and determine their job commitment. The analysis of lifestyles demonstrates that modernisation and globalisation has greatly influenced social structures and the emergence of Generation Y in the UAE (Maitner & Stewart-Ingersoll 2016). Religion, nationality, and culture are other factors that aid in the creation and sustenance of stable social structures, which stratify Emiratis in the UAE.

The assessment of the social structure in the UAE shows that there is stratification based on economic status of individuals, families, and estates. Stratification in the UAE has its basis on economic classes that individuals belong as the rich dominate the high classes while the poor remain in the low classes as indicated by human activities and neighbourhoods in which individuals live. Ahmed (2017) argues that social stratification is a problem of urban planning in the UAE for there are divisions between Emiratis and expatriates and the rich and the poor. Family wealth is a factor that determines the economic status of individuals and neighbourhoods that they live (Hanieh 2013).

As Generation Y employees come from diverse families in different neighbourhoods based on their social stratification, this study seeks to determine the influence of neighbourhood economic status on the work commitment of Generation Y in the UAE. A study compared the behaviour of household consumption and established that Emiratis consume more than expatriates in the UAE in the aspects of housing, food, and education (Katsaiti et al. 2017). These findings show that Emiratis either earn more than expatriates or spend a higher proportion of their income. According to Daleure (2016), Emiratis earn more income than expatriates despite having low professional qualification due to the Emiratisation policy. In this perspective, consumption behaviour, citizenship, and skills determine the income of employees and consequently their neighbourhood economic index.

Religious Commitment

Religion is a personal matter that influences commitment of employees because it determines values, principles, morals, and norms that individuals espouse. Essentially, religious commitment measures the extent to which individuals comply with religious beliefs, values, and practices. Choerudin (2015) asserts that religious commitment comprises affective, cognitive, and behavioural dimensions that drive people to espouse certain values, principles, morals, and norms. The affective dimension of spirituality is the emotional status, which shows feeling towards certain aspects of their work.

The cognitive dimension refers to the knowledge and understanding of religious tenets that form the basis of spirituality in an individual while the behavioural dimension represents how individuals espouse their religious beliefs in the workplace. In a study, religious belief, commitment, and behaviour explain 8.2%, 16.7%, and 20.2% of the variation in organisational commitment (Choerudin 2015). The extent of the effect shows that religion has a considerable influence on the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

In the UAE, the existence of dominant Islamic religion reinforces the influence of religious commitment among the Emiratis. Salahudin et al. (2016) argue that Islamic teachings permeate workplaces and organisations for they define and work ethics by influencing the normative, the affective, and the continuance dimensions of work commitment. Consequently, employee behaviours reflect Islamic values, beliefs, and principles that employees espouse in the UAE. In a similar study, the findings demonstrated that spirituality promotes the work commitment of employees to their work and organisation for it enhances responsibility, loyalty, and involvement (Marri et al. 2013). For Muslims are dominant in the UAE and Islamic religion has mega influence on their way of life, the study hypothesises that religious commitment to Islam has an immense impact on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE.

Three-Component Model of Commitment

Commitment is an important psychological attribute among employees for it predicts employee variables such as job performance, turnover rate, innovativeness, and collaboration. The three-component model (TCM) is an elaborate theory that elucidates employee commitment to work based on three psychological components, namely, affective commitment (AC), normative commitment (NC), and continuance commitment (CC) (Bouckenooghe, Schwarz & Minbashian 2015; Meyer & Allen 1999). AC is the component that measures emotional attachment and the desire to commit to an organisation. According to Meyer and Allen (1999), demographic attributes such as age, gender, education, and family background are established factors that influence AC among individuals. According to Lim (2013), intrinsic motivators such as independence, freedom, supportive social networks, and opportunities for career growth boost commitment of Generation Y employees to their workplace. In this view, it implies that managers should motivate Generation Y employees by focusing on intrinsic motivators for they have marked influence on AC.

As the component assesses a moral obligation or a sense of obligation, NC drives employees to remain in an organisation because of loyalty gained through training, incentives, and rewards among other motivators. Given that Generation Y employees value career growth and development, Naim and Lenka (2017) established that mentoring and training improve their intention to stay in their respective organisations. CC is the component that determines the extent of gains and losses that employees could make should they decide to leave an organisation. A study performed in the UAE showed that organisational justice, human relations, and job performance have a positive relationship with CC (Sawada 2013; Suliman & Al-Kathairi 2012). These findings show that employers can improve the performance of their employees by ensuring that there is organisational justice.

As a theoretical framework, ample evidence shows that employee commitment to work varies from one person to another depending on generational attributes. Across the world, numerous studies have demonstrated that employee commitment to work has statistically significant relationship with employee involvement, job performance, innovativeness, and career development (Mathew 2016; Mohsen 2015; Schofield & Honore 2015; Yigit & Aksay 2015). Essentially, employee commitment to work is a management parameter that defines relationships between organisations and their employees. Demographic changes over time have led to generational differences among employees in various countries and labour markets. The first empirical study in the Arab World applied TCM in studying generational trends and found out that AC and NC are significant components of employee commitment to work among Generation Y while CC is a significant component among Generation X (Mohsen 2016). Based on these findings, it is apparent that TCM is an appropriate model that elucidates commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE.

In a recent survey among Emiratis, Maceda (2017) reports that 85% of employees are not engaged in their workplaces because of rapidly changing work conditions and competition in the labour market. The figure implies that organisations in the UAE do not optimise the performance of their employees, resulting in unnecessary losses. Mohsen (2016) argues that the extent of engagement among employees is a pointer to the management strategies, cultural values, and demographic attributes. Thus, in line with TCM, the management ought to improve commitment of the Emirati employees by motivating them and empowering them to engage effectively in their workplaces.

Conceptual Framework

Figure 1 below is the conceptual framework depicting the seven variables and six hypotheses of the proposed study. The first, second, and third hypotheses hold that family background, religious commitment, and neighbourhood economic status respectively predict work commitment among Generation Y employees. The third, fourth, and fifth hypotheses indicate that work commitment predicts in-role behaviour, extra-role behaviour, and loyalty respectively among Generation Y employees.

Family Background and Work Commitment

In the first hypothesis, the study predicts that family background has a statistically significant influence on the work commitment of the UAE national Generation Y employees. Since employees in various organisations are not individuals but social beings, their commitment to work is dependent on non-work-related factors in their family background. On a daily basis, employees oscillate between work and family for they are two major social domains. In essence, what happens in the workplace and family influences quality of life of employees, and consequently their commitment to work. In their study, Mukanzi and Senaji (2017) explain that family has a weighty impact on the commitment of employees to their workplaces or organisations, as family and work roles often conflict. Family-to-work conflict occurs when employees shift their family-related issues to their workplaces, whereas work-to-family conflict ensues when employees transfer work-related complications to their families. For instance, mothers with children and a lot of work at home experience great challenges in balancing family and work responsibilities. In one of their hypotheses, Khan (2015) established that family work and organisational commitment of employees have a statistically significant inverse relationship due to role conflict. Recent findings of Bae and Yang (2017) suggest that family-friendly policies such as maternity leave, childcare leave, and childcare subsidy boost commitment of employees. Thus, the hypothesis shows that the form and extent of duties that employees perform at their homes coupled with the help from organisations determine their level of commitment in the workplace.

Illustration of the proposed conceptual framework
Figure 2: Illustration of the proposed conceptual framework

In addition to family responsibilities, marital status influences organisational commitment of employees. Tikare (2015) performed a survey and employed ACN scale developed by Allan and Meyer to determine the impact of the marital status of nurses on their commitment to work. The findings have a high internal validity and external validity because the survey used an established scale and sampled 376 nurses from 32 hospitals across India. According to Tikare (2015), married individuals exhibited a higher level of commitment than unmarried individuals did. The increasing turnover rates of employees in the oil and gas industry have puzzled human resource managers in the UAE. A study performed in the UAE among employees who work in the oil and gas industry revealed that individual attributes and family background are some of the factors that influence employee commitment and turnover. The growth and dominance of millennials in the labour market of the UEA pose considerable changes to human resource managers for they have unique family backgrounds. Kultalahti and Viitala (2014) found out motivational drivers, such as work-life balance, flexibility, and social relationships, are factors that emanate from family background, which have a significant impact on the commitment of employees. In this view, the study holds that family background plays a considerable role in influencing the commitment of employees.

Religious and Work Commitment

As the second hypothesis, the study envisages that family religious commitment has a statistically significant effect on the work commitment of the UAE national Generation Y employees. Across the world, religion has a marked influence on individuals, families, organisations, and societies. Being a source of values, principles, norms, and ideals that guide humans in various communities across the world, ample evidence indicates that religion has a substantial effect on the commitment of employees to their respective organisations. To determine if religiosity matters to organisations, Farrukh, Ying, and Ahmed (2016) collected data from 306 employees and investigated the relationship between religiosity and the three dimensions of organisational commitment. The findings indicated that religiosity significantly predicts normative and affective dimensions of employee commitment to their organisations. The implication of the findings is that religiosity and commitment of employees are inseparable elements, which requires consideration in the management of employees. A study conducted among 241 nurses confirmed that religious beliefs of employees reflect their organisational commitment (Bahrami et al. 2016). The implication of the findings is that human resources managers need to provide spiritual nourishment and favourable environment for employees to deepen their religious beliefs. In a bid to elucidate the relationship between religiosity and organisational commitment, Imran (2017) designed a conceptual framework. In the conceptual framework, individuals with intrinsic religiosity have a higher level of affective commitment than those with extrinsic religiosity (Imran 2017). Therefore, religious commitment is an outstanding non-work-related factor that has a marked impact on the commitment of employees.

In the UAE setting, religion forms an integral part of life since ideals, norms, principles, and values emanate from Islam, which is the dominant religion. As Islam has an elaborate work ethics, Muslims have incorporated them into organisations and businesses. In a comprehensive study, Salahudina et al. (2015) surveyed 156 individuals from small- and medium-sized enterprises and found out that Islamic work ethics influences organisational commitment. Individuals with a higher level of Islamic work ethics have a greater level of commitment to their work or organisation. The study utilised the Islamic Work Ethics scale established by Ali and Al-Kazemi and Organisational Commitment Questionnaire by Darja Sersic (Saahudina et al. 2015). These scales have high validity and reliability, and thus appropriate in measuring religious and work commitment among employees. Bouarif (2015) undertook a further study to determine the link between religiosity and the three modules of employee commitment. Religiosity is the extent to which an individual commit to religion by espousing divine values, principles, and teachings. Salahudina et al. (2015) argue that affective commitment is high among Muslims because religion requires them to develop the emotional attachment to people, society, organisations, and Allah. Bouarif (2015) revealed that there is a strong positive relationship between religiosity and affective commitment. Thus, religious and organisational commitments have an intricate link, which explains their positive relationships among employees.

Neighbourhood Economic Status and Work Commitment

The third hypothesis of the study seeks to determine if neighbourhood economic status is a significant predictor of work commitment among the UAE national employees belonging to the Generation Y. Neighbourhood economic status is a non-work-related variable that explains the socioeconomic status of individuals, as well as their work commitment. In their study, McCunn and Gifford (2014) proved that neighbourhood attributes correlate significantly with organisational commitment. In essence, individuals in rich neighbourhoods tend to have a high level of organisational commitment. Hence, the proof shows that the nature of neighbourhoods influences organizational commitment of residents. Consequently, wealthy neighbourhoods affect materialism stance of individuals in the society. According to the findings of Zhang, Howell, and Howell (2014), neighbourhoods with high socioeconomic status augment materialism because it predisposes individuals to increased consumption of products. As materialistic values emanate from neighbourhoods, residents tend to keep abreast with prevailing socioeconomic conditions. According to data collected by Eslamdost et al. (2014) from 503 teachers using Organisational Commitment Questionnaire and Socio-Economic Scale, improvement of socioeconomic conditions of teachers enhances their work commitment and reduces their burnout. In this view, socioeconomic conditions include neighbourhood economic status for it reflects the status of individuals in the society.

The social dynamics in the UAE explain why neighbourhood economic status has a significant influence on individuals. The analysis of cultural dimensions of the UAE shows that it has a high power distance index, which indicates that it is a hierarchical society. Nationality, profession, religion, and culture are some of the factors create social structures that place Emiratis in various hierarchies. Kumari & Afroz (2013) collected data from 200 employees and found out that place of residence is one of the factors that enhance satisfaction and increase affective commitment. Employees residing in favourable neighbourhoods have a high-quality work life, experience satisfaction in their jobs, and commit to their organisations. Kumari and Afroz (2013) utilized Affective Commitment Scale by Allen and Meyer and Life Satisfaction Scale by George Joseph and Promila Singh. In different neighbourhoods, Emiratis have varied behaviours of consumption. Katsaiti et al. (2017) established that expatriates consume less than the Emirates in aspects of life such as food, housing, and education. The difference in consumption patterns and levels shows stratification structure of the UAE nationals. Since there is no approtiate scale to measure neighbourhood economic status, the study will create one by following the process of creation and validation of constructs, according to previous studies (Hinkin 1995; Hensley 1999). Thus, the scale will comprise socioeconomic conditions, materialistic predisposition, stratification, and consumption behaviours for they are factors that exhibit neighbourhood economic status of employees in the UAE.

Work Commitment and In-Role Behaviour

In the fourth hypothesis, the study predicts that work commitment affects in-role behaviour in Generation Y employees in the UAE. Previous studies have focused on the effect of organisational citizenship behaviour and demonstrated various effects and relationships with organisational commitment. Usually, in their workplaces, employees exhibit organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB), which predicts their commitment, as well as their performance. According to Zhu (2013), in-role behaviour comprises manners and activities that employees exhibit while performing their professional duties. In essence, they are behaviours that depict how employees perform their professional tasks in the workplace. The nature of in-role behaviour is dependent on positions, duties, and obligations that organisations have given to employees. An across-sectional study performed in China among 428 employees demonstrated that affective commitment has a mediating effect on the relationship between in-role performance and perceived organisation support (Casimir et al. 2014). The mediating effecting occurs because affective commitment increases attachment of employees to an organisation and enhances their willingness to perform assigned duties and responsibilities. Additionally, Casimir et al. (2014) argue that affective commitment stimulates social exchanges and interactions leading to enhanced in-role behaviour among employees. Critical analysis of findings indicates that they are valid and reliable for the study used Affective Commitment Scale by Allan and Meyer and In-Role Performance Scale by Williams and Anderson (Casimir et al. 2014). Thus, the level of work commitment, particularly the affective commitment, determines the degree of in-role behaviour that employees exhibit in their organisations.

Organisational commitment influences OCB in various organisations because it has a motivational effect on employees. Abid and Farooqi (2015) established that organisational commitment is a statistically significant predictor of in-role performance among employees. Various drivers that motivate employees exhibit generational differences in different work settings. Factor analysis of 15 factors, which motivate Generation Y employees, reveals that they load as innovative, learning, opportunity, compensation, and prospective drivers (Prathiba & Balakrishnan 2017). These factors, which are motivators of Generation Y employees, mediate the relationship between organisational commitment and OCB. Optimal engagement of Generation Y employees requires human resources managers to exploit organisational commitment and create constructive OCB. Prathiba and Balakrishnan (2017) assert that organisational commitment is a strategic tool for the management of employees, especially Generation Y employees, who rely on engagement and OCB in their performance at work. Evidently, organisational commitment stimulates the performance of employees by motivating them to perform their duties exemplarily. Although Generations X and Y comprise the core of the workforce, human resource managers experience challenges in managing them because they have different aspects of commitment to their work and organisations. In a comprehensive study done in Saudi hotels, data collected from 528 employees indicated that normative and affective commitment explains the performance of Generation Y employees, whereas are all types of organisational commitment account for the performance of Generation Y employees (Adel 2016). Thus, affective commitment is dominant among Generation Y employees and is responsible for in-role performance.

Extra-Role Behaviour and Work Commitment

Regarding the fifth hypothesis, the study hypothesizes that affective commitment has a positive influence on extra-role behaviour among employees. Extra-role behaviour is an important aspect of OCB because it enables employees to perform additional duties in the course of their work. Zhu (2013) explains that extra-role behaviour exhibits altruistic spirit in the workplace as employees have the willingness to perform voluntary tasks and help others in their duties. Organisations do not reward or force employees because they perform them out of their willingness and altruism. When employees have a strong attachment to their organisation, they display extra-role behaviour. According to a study by Gelderen and Bik (2016), affective commitment stimulates the use of available social resources, and thus promotes extra-role behaviour among police officers. Social resources such as social support, feedback, coaching, and teamwork are dominant in organisations with a high level of affective commitment. In their study to analyse aspects of organisational commitment and OCB, Zayas-Ortiz et al. (2015) found out that there is an intricate link between affective commitment and extra-role performance among employees. Employees with a high affective commitment have a strong attachment to their organisations, which motivate them to perform extra-role duties. Specifically, Zayas-Ortiz et al. (2015) observed that affective commitment correlates with dimensions of extra-role behaviour such as altruism, civic virtue, and courtesy. Hence, organisational commitment, particularly affective commitment, shapes extra-role activities that employees perform in the course of their duties and responsibilities.

Work-life balance is an important factor that employees and human resources strive to achieve and overcome challenges associated with the common imbalance. Normally, the organisational commitment of employees is dependent on the balance of work and life. An effective balancing of work and life improves commitment of employees because it creates and assigns ample time to conflicting roles. Gulbahar et al. (2014) assert that modern organisations employ work-life balance in motivating employees and improving their satisfaction with work, and consequently, enhancing organisational commitment. Given that positive relationship exists between organisational commitment and extra-role performance, affective commitment increases employee performance. Based on their research, Pradhan, Jena, and Kumari (2016) report that work-life balance mediates the relationship between organisational commitment and in-role performance among employees. In this view, human resource managers ought to leverage organisational commitment through work-life balance to achieve desired in-role behaviour in the workplace. Felfe, Schyns, and Tymon (2014) surveyed 530 university students and confirmed that affective commitment has a strong correlation with extra-role performance. The confirmation implies that affective commitment predicts extra-role performance among Generation Y employees. The survey adopted Organisational Commitment Scale from Meyer et al. and Organisational Citizenship Behaviour Questionnaire from Podsakoff et al. (Felfe, Schyns, & Tymon 2014). Therefore, the literature demonstrates that there is an undisputable relationship between affective commitment and extra-role performance of employees.

Work Commitment and Loyalty

In the sixth hypothesis, the study hypothesises that affective commitment influences loyalty in Generation Y employees in the UAE. Loyalty is an important attribute of employees because it has beneficial effects on organisations. In the modern era where markets have become competitive, human resource managers leverage employment parameters to maximise loyalty and performance of employees. To attract and retain employees with advanced knowledge and skills in the competitive labour markets, organisations focus on improving employee loyalty. Evidently, employees with a higher level of loyalty tend to be more industrious and productive than employees with a low level of loyalty (Nasiri, Najafbagy, & Nasiripour 2015). A comprehensive study performed in the context of the public sector of Omani demonstrated that affective commitment predicts work performance due to the increased employee loyalty (Al-Zeifeti & Mohamad 2017). In this view, there is triad relationship between commitment, loyalty, and performance of employees in their organisations. Nasiri, Najafbagy, and Nasiripour (2015) designed a scale of employee loyalty comprising the degree of dutifulness, tendency to remain in the job, sense of belonging, and tendency to perform extra work. Data collected from 200 employees in various Pakistani organisations demonstrated that organisational commitment has a positive effect on employee loyalty (Iqbal, Tifail & Lodhi 2015). In the measurement of loyalty, the study will use a scale designed by Iqbal, Tifail, and Lodhi (2015) comprising four items with a reliability of 0.791.

Work commitment and employee loyalty correlate because committed employees are loyal to their organisations. Employees demonstrate their dedication to organisations exhibiting admirable performance in their work. In the context of the UAE, the influence of organisational commitment on employee loyalty is significant. According to a recent study carried out among 50 managers in the government sector by Ibrahim and Al-Falasi (2014), affective commitment and employee loyalty have statistically significant positive relationships. The study utilized self-designed employee loyalty scale and organisational commitment scales by Allen and Meyer. This finding implies that the management ought to improve organisational commitment to gain the loyalty of employees, and thus, attract and retain employees in the competitive labour market. Rajput, Singhal, and Tiwari (2016) collected data from 100 employees in northern India, and they established that job engagement and organisational commitment are two significant predictors of job satisfaction and loyalty among employees. Therefore, human resource managers need to improve engagement and commitment of employees to enhance satisfaction, and subsequently employee loyalty.

Theoretical Contribution

This study will make a significant theoretical contribution since it will indicate how social systems influence the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. In this view, the findings of the study will elucidate the mechanism of the ecological systems theory. In essence, the study will elucidate how religious commitment, neighbourhood economic status, and demographic attributes of a family are social factors in the ecological systems theory that determine commitment of Generation Y employees. Moreover, the findings will contribute to theoretical development in human resources management for it will indicate that non-work-related factors also play a significant role in the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

As the study will provide empirical findings, it will contribute to the body of knowledge for students, researchers, and human resources managers to apply in their respective fields of interest. Given that the UAE is grappling with the challenge of unemployment, the findings will strengthen Emiratisation. Overall, the study will come up with a model that elucidate the influence on non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y in developed and emerging economies such as the UAE and other GCC countries. The study will also develop and test measurement scale related to neighbourhood economic status in wealthy region, as there has been no such existence of scale in relation to HR field.

Practical Implications

The study will have significant implications to the realm of human resource management because the study seeks to venture into a novel field and reveal subtle factors that influence commitment of Generation Y employees. Essentially, religious commitment, demographic attributes of family, and neighbourhood economic status are factors that studies of human resource management have neglected, and thus, little or no information is available regarding their influence on Generation Y employees. If the study confirms the hypotheses that family demographics, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment are statistically significant predictors of the work commitment of employees, the practical implications of the findings is that human resources managers need to consider them in the recruitment of employees.

In essence, by assessing family demographics, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment, human resources managers can predict the work commitment of Generation Y employees. However, if the study finds out that family demographics, neighbourhood economic status, and religious commitment are not statistically significant predictors of the work commitment of Generation employees, the implication is that the findings form the basis for further studies in other populations to establish the role of these factors in human resource management.

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