The State of Qatar: Effectiveness and Efficiency of Human Resource Policy

Abstract

Human Resource Policy is ostensibly among the most important concepts that have revolutionalized the employment sector. In these modern times, there is greater need drawing the most from personnel than there is need for asset and material capacity of corporations when it comes to productivity. This has ostensibly been shown by the fact that the success of corporations and profit-making organizations has not necessarily been considered regarding their asset acquisition and material possession per se, but rather has been considered when personnel satisfaction and their individual and corporate productivity is maximized which are central to the concept of Human Resource Management (Paauwe 2009). This has resulted to greater initiative and input in creation of Human Resource Policies that are responsive to employees’ needs and concerns as well as their employers’ interests. Qatar, as a country in a highly cosmopolitan region that is experiencing greater economic and organizational development therefore forms an ideal region to carry out such as study justifying its choice for this proposal.

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Introduction

There is a new breed of business management that is relatively a recent entrant in business expanse due to the globalization of business that allows multi-nationals and corporations to conduct business worldwide. This is advanced business management strategized in congruence with strategic human resource management policies (Adnett 1996). It is a harmonized blend between strategic management and international business and aims at developing world wide strategies mindful of international laws and global market trends for global corporations. This requirement for a global approach to business management is necessitated by ground breaking shifts that continue to shape global business to which management strategies must resonate in tandem with to remain relevant and competitive in the market (Torrington, Hall & Taylor 2005). Such shifts that include information revolution and arrival of environmental ethic are revolutionary and cannot be ignored. This proposal is written for a PhD of Business Management which will contain strategic details that will be contained in the proposal for approval.

Subject Background

State of Qatar government had HR policy for all their employees in government sector for over the last three decades. The booming of the country’s economy especially beginning of year 2000 and onward resulted in creation of many semi private, private and NGO establishments (Aube & Rousseau 2005). The government sector has been faced with the challenge of rapid migration of employees to other sectors like the semi private, private and NGO sectors, especially in the high skill categories due to better benefits and much higher pay (Goffman 2006). This has compelled the Qatar government to increase the quality and the efficiency of the services it provides to its personnel through revamping its HR policy. As a solution for the matter cabinet ministers represented by the Prime Minister in middle of 2009 introduced new HR Policy for the government sector and reviewed the other sectors’ HR Policies especially relating to pay/rewards (Aube & Rousseau 2005). The corollary of this was that the new HR policy did create sort of equilibrium in pay/reward in government sector versus other sectors.

According to Furler (2006), Qatar among the Gulf Countries is one of the countries with a very robust human resource capacity and considering the recent in activities directly related to its economic growth, it has been imperative for the government to formulate HR policies and strategies that are specifically coined towards fairly addressing concerns and needs of employees to prevent en-mass migration of workers to other parts of the world for jobs (Furler 2006). This decision has seen the government diversify other core sectors of its economy to accommodate more people in their management and work capacities among which are such sectors as the Gas and Oil Industry, the Information and Technology Industry, the Health Industry and the Motor Industry (Damanpour 1991). These changes in the HR policy have had observable results most of which are greatly appreciated as they concern workers salaries, living and working standards and incentives. This in turn has staged Qatar as among the country in the Gulf region that has the largest number of expatriates which currently stands at about ninety percent of its total work force (Damanpour 1991). In addition, Qatar has been among the few countries in the region that has the largest immigrants from abroad who are lured into the country for employment (Adnett 1996).

To maintain this enviable trend, the State of Qatar made considerable adjustments to its HR policy in a number of areas that were deemed most crucial for addressing personnel concerns and on-job issues. These areas are as follows:

Working Conditions

The state has ensured in its revamped HR policies that all companies within the country pay salaries that cater for all workers’ expenses such as home, medical and car allowances to ensure workers’ satisfaction. To aid in this, the government has made the salaries to be tax free which is a great strategic incentive for foreign employees and investors who consider such an arrangement a profitable convenient. In addition to this, the stipulated working hours for workers per week is recommended to be between 40 and 48 hours although this is usually left to specific companies to prepare their work schedule although it has to conform closely to this regulation. Friday is considered the off day of the week and Thursday and Saturday cover it up to make the traditional five-day working hours (Kirton & Greene 2000).

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Employment Contracts

There are initiatives that the government has instituted regarding employment contracts. For instance, it has adjusted the usual Employment Contract so as to incorporate issues that reflect mutual agreement that should be there between the employer and employee. To ensure this, the government requires that such a contract receives certification of the Department of Labour which is currently under the Ministry of Civil Affairs and Housing. Inasmuch as the government has recommended the expatriates to also be allowed to work with open-ended contract forms, it is required that such employees should in possession of a work permit first to enjoy that unique privilege which requires them to undergo a mandatory health check first before the permit’s issuance (Kirton & Greene 2000). This notwithstanding however, the government has reserved to a large extend most of the work opportunities in the service industry to Qatar nationals as a way of ensuring national participation in national building (Thornley 2003).

Social Security System

The government of Qatar is the main entity that runs the social security system and has only leased a small percentage to the private sector, precisely less than 7 percent as Imhoff (2006) indicates (Imhoff 2006). This is for the obvious reason that with the state in control of the system, it is easier for it to control it so that there are no insubordination challenges and that national security can be made the main objective for all policies formulated (Imhoff 2006). The government has in recent times decided to pay social security to its employees without obliging them to make extra payments in return and this has been mainly because of the country’s high GDP rate and its relatively smaller population as compared to other countries in the region (Imhoff 2006). This has ensured that most the Qatar nationals are conveniently covered under social security scheme that includes such areas as disability benefits, pensions, medical insurance and education benefits especially for persons from the lower class (Legge 2004). As regards the expatriates, they are not unilaterally covered under this government scheme but there are specific corporate pension schemes that are used to cover some of them depending on the nature of their contracts with their employees (Thornley 2003).

Objectives and Aims

With the new HR policy introduced by the government, there are a number of objectives and aims that this paper will seek to attain in its analysis of effectiveness and efficiency of Human Resource Policy in productivity of employees as result of job satisfaction. These objectives are:

  • To investigate the effect of this new HR Policy formulation in employee’s job satisfaction
  • To determine whether or not the productivity of employees has changed or effected by these new HR policies.
  • To investigate the main HRM elements to which ever elements have more effect than others if any.
  • To determine whether managers think that new HR policy is able to stop migration of high skill employees.
  • To compare between government sector and other sectors in job satisfaction according HR policies implemented.
  • To investigate whether the government has taken the right decision in the new HR policy as regards employee satisfaction and productivity (Paauwe 2009).

Reasons for Selection of the Subject

The main reason that informs the choice of this subject is the importance of Human resources in development and national economic stability. According to Kirton & Greene (2000), human resources are the modern elements of corporations and companies that singly determine how productive the organization will be in its market or whether it will meet its objectives it sets out to do. In fact, it is surmised that assets and financial muscles are increasingly becoming non-crucial factors as there have been many organizations and companies which have entered in different markets without necessarily large financial advantage and due to their properly instituted human resource management have turned to be great economic movers in the market (Kirton & Greene 2000). For this, probably the best example is how Microsoft Incorporation began its operations in the US market from nowhere to the economic powerhouse it has currently began.

In this regard therefore, it is clear that HR policies have great effect in job satisfaction resulting in productivity and development of any country which forms the greatest reason for the choice of this subject. It is the intention and desire of the researcher to contribute to his country in measuring job satisfaction in regard to the new HR policy (2009). In addition to this, it is desired to suggest effective professional solutions in accordance to academic theories and applicable best practice in real business. The subject is of great interest to the researcher because his pathway in MBA (final term) was Human Resources Management (HRM); therefore he would like to expand his knowledge in the same field. Also, the outcome of the study and generating final thesis will open a new venue for his future profession in consulting sector specializing in HRM (Paauwe 2009).

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Methodology

There will be two types of data to be collected and analyzed: secondary and primary data. Secondary data will be collected from the New HR Policy Manual (2009). As for Primary data, it will be collected through questionnaires which will be filled by different levels/types of employees in different sectors. There will be at least three organizations from government sectors that will be surveyed and at least three semi private, private and NGOs sectors will be surveyed. Another means of primary data will be collected by means of structured and and/or unstructured interviews with managers and top officials to find out the satisfaction of productivity and employee migration. These interviews will also be conducted with different employees for more support.

The main research approaches within social science, according to Campbell, et al. (1996), are qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative research aims at gathering, analyzing and measuring data from a large sample to see if there is any relation between different variables. Qualitative research focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of a problem, by collecting and analyzing data on ideas, feelings and attitudes. According to Sarantakos (2002), qualitative research methods are mainly phenomenological, and that the purpose of qualitative research is to understand the current situation from the participants’ perspective. Conversely, quantitative research is more concerned with quantifying data collected through research methodology. According to Babbie (2001) it examines and interprets data that is quantifiable, measurable and finite. Data in quantitative research is acquired by testing, experimentation and calculation and the results are often displayed statistically (Bouma 2000).

The available two common research approaches are the inductive approach and the deductive approach. In the inductive approach, the researcher makes specific observations from the collected data and arrives at a new theory by observation and hypothesis (Bouma 2000). Conversely, the deductive approach begins the research process by reviewing and gathering theory, and then collecting data and drawing conclusions. However, these two research approaches are not mutually exclusive; hence a research study may have elements of both (Babbie 2001).

Taking the above into consideration, the current study adopted a quantitative approach, as economic and human resource parameters can be assessed using empirical data. In addition, a deductive research approach was preferred, as there is plenty of literature on the study topic, which was examined before data collection and analysis.

Description of Primary Research

The primary research in this study will be directly related to the study purpose. Primary data will be collected from respondents for the specific purpose of a research study (Bouma 2000). Descriptive surveys will allow for collection of data in the form of questionnaires, interviews and observation. Interviews and questionnaires will be the main sources of primary data in this study. The interview questions will both be structured (with set responses) and open ended (in which the respondents gave their own answers). Questionnaires will also be constructed in the same way (Gibbon 1992).

The primary data will include information on the new HR policy and its effects to employees regarding job satisfaction and motivation. Questionnaires will include sets of structured and unstructured questions. The structured questions will be fixed and identical to all respondents, which will make it possible to compare between sets of data. Some primary data will also be collected from the respondents by the use of interviews. An interview schedule will be developed to obtain face-to-face responses from the sample (Campbell, et al. 1996). The unstructured questions in the interview schedule will supplement the structured questions. Interviews are among the most overt and qualitative method of collecting data which usually is insightful when it comes to collection of data that is relevant to the research topic under study. Interviews with relevant proprietors and financial service providers will be conducted with the same sampling procedure as the questionnaires (Prahalad & Hamel 2007). The interviews will be semi-structured to allow respondents to elucidate on the responses previously given in the questionnaires.

Description of Secondary Research

Secondary data will be collected through a review of published and unpublished materials such as articles, seminar papers, conference proceedings, business journals, newspapers and periodicals. The data in these secondary sources will be used to support the research objectives and the primary data (Sproul 1995). Personal observation will also be used during the process of data collection to confirm some of the responses in the questionnaires. The entire survey and interview process will be kept strictly anonymous and confidential, for respondents to answer subjectively without being influenced by the interviewer’s own perspectives. The main source however that will be used to research and avail support information will be the New HR Policy Manual 2009 and the other sources were used only to corroborate its surmises (Gibbon 1992).

Sampling Procedure

The sampling methods used in this research will be stratified random sampling and simple random sampling. In stratified random sampling, the sample will be selected in such a way that identified subgroups in the population will be represented in the same proportion as they exist in the population (Sproul 1995). The subgroup for the current study will be personnel of companies in Qatar and government officials responsible for the Policy under study. In simple random sampling, each item will be selected entirely on the basis of chance. Every element within the study population will have an equal opportunity of being either included in or excluded from the sample. This approach will be considered suitable because it gives all respondents within a subgroup an equal probability of being selected irrespective of their status. According to Campbell, et al. (1996) a minimum sample size of 30 is a useful guide for the smallest sample size. They state that:

Actual sample size

Sproul (1995) estimates that a response rate of approximately 30 per cent is reasonable when used for postal survey questionnaires. Therefore, according to the above formula, the sample size for this study would have been given by:

Actual sample size

This notwithstanding, the sample size that will be taken for this study will be 250 respondents most of which will be taken from companies production companies, business organizations and manufacturing firms in Qatar to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of Human Resource Policy in Productivity of employees as results of job satisfaction.

Expectation

The expectation for this paper is to produce a high quality professional academic thesis which can benefit topic ranging officials in State of Qatar, beside the scholars in Qatar and the surrounding countries (Pfeffer 2005). For the effectiveness that is anticipated to impact both professional and academic field through the findings and writing of this thesis, critical theoretical and practical areas of the research topic will extensively discussed and explained the Qatar context. These crucial features according to (Armstrong 1998) will include:

  • Organizational Management
  • Personnel Administration
  • Manpower Management
  • Industrial Management

As clearly indicated in the introductory remarks, HR policies have become increasingly important in the current global community as there is a frenzy to maximize on personnel capacities and this has to involve capacity building and motivating such personnel in a way that there is value for money invested in them (Baron, et al. 2006). This is a trend that is not anticipated to waiver even in the least sense from its strict sense over a long period of time since it is acceptable all over according to Armstrong (1998) that even with the highest amount of financial wealth, if one does not have hardworking workers and ones who know their responsibilities well, economic productivity may be a luxury that such a person or corporation may never enjoy (Armstrong 1998).

In the eyes of many practitioners like Beardwell and Claydon (2010), Human Resource Management is considered as an entirely innovative perception of workplace management which is aimed at ensuring that there is productivity in what personnel are engaged in. This means that managers and persons in responsibility of workers have compelled to work with goals and clearly stated objectives and policies to enable them realize these stated objectives (Baron, et al. 2006). As part of these clear-cut policies, there is need for the companies to ensure that workers rights, privileges and concerns come first in their list of policies captured in the HR policies. It is these changes that have been so well captured in the Qatar’s HR Policies that have been under implementation in recent times and ones that are considered to be centrally responsible for the great economic productivity that companies in Qatar have been experiencing in the recent past (Beardwell and Claydon 2010). Torrington, Taylor and Hall (2005) definition of Human Resource Management as captured by Adnett (1996) probably captures the gist of what is intended to be studied in this thesis. He defines Human Resource Management as:

A series of activities which: first enable working people and their employing organizations to agree about the objectives and nature of their working relationship and, secondly, ensures that the agreement is fulfilled (Adnett 1996, p. 9).

On the other hand, While Miller as captured by Furler (2006) surmises that HRM usually relates to:

Those decisions and actions which concern the management of employees at all levels in the business and which are related to the implementation of strategies directed towards creating and sustaining competitive advantage. (Furler 2006, p. 12)

These two definitions correctly puts into proper perspective what is centrally expected from this paper as its studies Human Resource Management and its effects to persons in the workplace as regards their productivity and general contribution to the success of the company (Torrington, Hall & Taylor 2005). For the thesis to be properly and appropriately written to meet its expectations and objectives, it will incorporate the core elements of HR policy as given the New Qatar HR Policy Manual 2009. These will include insights and mentions of the following areas of the policy:

  • Introduction
  • Hiring and Employment
  • Employee Relations
  • Professional Conduct
  • Employee Development
  • Time Away From Work
  • Compensation
  • Work Hours and Pay Practices
  • Health and Safety

In conclusion, it is expected that this thesis being taken from a case study in Qatar will have great importance in the Gulf Region and Qatar being among the countries with the fastest growing economies, there is more to the conclusions that will be arrived at when it comes to study of developing countries’ human resource management strategies and policies which is very central and core to their success economically (Adnett 1996). The topic of study no doubt is specifically and creatively chosen to meet this expectation in its entirely: The Analysis of Effectiveness and Efficiency of Human Resource Policy in Productivity of Employees as Result of Job Satisfaction: A Case Study in the State of Qatar.

Reference List

Adnett, N., 1996. European Labour Market. Harlow: Addison Wesley Longman, pp.60- 62.

Aube, C. and Rousseau, V., 2005. Team Goal Commitment and Team Effectiveness: The Role of Task Interdependence and Supportive Behaviors. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 9(3), pp. 189-204.

Babbie, E., 2001. Research Methodology: A way of Examining Your Practice. 9th ed. Belmont, California, USA: Wadsworth Thomson Learning

Baron, et al., 2006. The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Performance. In: V. U. Druskat, F. Sala, and G. Mount, eds. Linking emotional intelligence and performance at work: Current research evidence with individuals and groups. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp.3-19.

Beardwell, J. and Claydon, T., 2010. Human Resource Management Policy and Practices for AUSI, London: FT Prentice Hall.

Bouma, G., 2000. Designing your Research Methodology: Choosing Your Methodology. 4th ed. Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Campbell, et al., 1996. The Substantive Nature of Job Performance Variability. In: K.R. Murphy, ed. Individual Differences and Behavior in Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 258–299.

Damanpour, F., 1991. Organizational Innovation: A Meta-Analysis of Effects of Determinants and Moderators. Academy of Management Journal, 34(4), pp. 555-590.

Furler, J 2006, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners: Annual Report, Melbourne: RACGP Printers. Web.

Gibbon, P., 1992. Equal Opportunities Policy and Race Equality. In: P. Braham, A. Rattansi, R. & Skellington, eds. Racism and Anti-Racism: Inequalities, Opportunities and Policies. London: Sage, pp. 235-251.

Goffman, E., 2006. The Presentation of Self. In: D. Brissett, C. Edgley, D. Brissett and C. Edgley, eds. Life as Theater: A Dramaturgical Sourcebook. 2nd ed. New Brunswick: AldineTransaction, pp.129-139.

Imhoff, C 2006, Three Trends in Business Intelligence Technology. Web.

Kirton, G. & Greene, A-M., 2000. The Dynamics of Managing Diversity-A Critical Approach. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 13-42; pp. 99-120.

Legge, K., 2004. Human Resource Management: Rhetorics and Realities (Anniversary ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Paauwe, J., 2009. HRM and Performance: Achievement, Methodological Issues and Prospects. Journal of Management Studies, 46(1), pp. 121– 134.

Pfeffer, J., 2005. Competitive Advantage Through People. Harvard: Harvard Business School Press.

Prahalad, C. and Hamel, G., 2007. The Core Competences of the Organization. Harvard Business Review, 3(4), pp. 222-235.

Sarantakos, S., 2002. Social Research. 2nd ed. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave.

Sproul, N., 1995. Handbook of Research Methods: A Guide for Practitioners and Students in Social Sciences. 2nd ed. London: Methuen Scarecrow.

Thornley, C., 2003. Labour Market Policy and Inequality in the UK. In: D. Coffey and C. Thornley, eds. Industrial and Labour Market Policy and Performance: Issues and Perspectives. London: Routledge, pp.83-108.

Torrington, D., Hall, L. and Taylor, S., 2005. Human Resource Management. London: FT Prentice Hall, pp.120-138.

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