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Workforce nationalization in the UAE: image versus integration

Workforce nationalization in the UAE: image versus integration Purpose – This exploratory study aims to analyse the conditions under which Emiratisation – the process of nationalizing the workforce in the UAE – can enable organizations to capitalize on local human capital. Design/methodology/approach – Relying on an initial literature review, this study is based on a series of interviews with UAE national as well as expatriate managers, both from the public and private sector. Questions for the semi‐structured interviews were based on a review of practice and policy‐oriented literature in order to further the understanding of the topic. Findings – With limited literature available on the topic, the initial aim of this study was to identify HR processes relevant to Emiratisation, however, it soon became evident that success could be attributed to very basic decisions taken long before HR processes became relevant. This paper concludes that there are mainly two ways of approaching Emiratisation: one is an effort geared at producing statistics for PR or avoidance of negative consequences, the other is a serious commitment to the integration of UAE nationals into the workforce. Evidence from interviews suggests the choice between these two ways determines the chances for successful Emiratisation. Research limitations/implications – The literature review proved difficult due to the relative absence of the topic in scholarly journals, therefore the author had to rely on commercial publications as much as on official statistics. Another limitation is the author's use of interviews leading to theoretical saturation earlier than expected. Practical implications – The lack of honesty regarding the motivation to invest in Emiratisation is a significant hindrance for the overall success of such programs. The waste of time, effort and ultimately the waste of human resources resulting from Emiratisation programs meant to produce only statistics or avoid negative consequences mandate a reorientation of the approach towards Emiratisation. Originality/value – This study aimed to be the first into Emiratisation related HR processes but was – due to preliminary analysis of interviews – refocused towards the commitment to Emiratisation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues Emerald Publishing

Workforce nationalization in the UAE: image versus integration

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1753-7983
DOI
10.1108/17537980810890275
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This exploratory study aims to analyse the conditions under which Emiratisation – the process of nationalizing the workforce in the UAE – can enable organizations to capitalize on local human capital. Design/methodology/approach – Relying on an initial literature review, this study is based on a series of interviews with UAE national as well as expatriate managers, both from the public and private sector. Questions for the semi‐structured interviews were based on a review of practice and policy‐oriented literature in order to further the understanding of the topic. Findings – With limited literature available on the topic, the initial aim of this study was to identify HR processes relevant to Emiratisation, however, it soon became evident that success could be attributed to very basic decisions taken long before HR processes became relevant. This paper concludes that there are mainly two ways of approaching Emiratisation: one is an effort geared at producing statistics for PR or avoidance of negative consequences, the other is a serious commitment to the integration of UAE nationals into the workforce. Evidence from interviews suggests the choice between these two ways determines the chances for successful Emiratisation. Research limitations/implications – The literature review proved difficult due to the relative absence of the topic in scholarly journals, therefore the author had to rely on commercial publications as much as on official statistics. Another limitation is the author's use of interviews leading to theoretical saturation earlier than expected. Practical implications – The lack of honesty regarding the motivation to invest in Emiratisation is a significant hindrance for the overall success of such programs. The waste of time, effort and ultimately the waste of human resources resulting from Emiratisation programs meant to produce only statistics or avoid negative consequences mandate a reorientation of the approach towards Emiratisation. Originality/value – This study aimed to be the first into Emiratisation related HR processes but was – due to preliminary analysis of interviews – refocused towards the commitment to Emiratisation.

Journal

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern IssuesEmerald Publishing

Published: May 30, 2008

Keywords: Nationalization; Human resource management; Human capital; United Arab Emirates

References