Employee Engagement in Decision-Making

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The current social and economic paradigms feature vast innovations stemming from the technological advancements around the globe. Local and international firms are quickly advancing their business approaches to raise their competitive edges and remain relevant in the market. Technological advancements have spurred innovations leading to increased effectiveness in the market. In the bid to remain relevant in the current market, businesses have implemented various strategies within and without the organization, leading to increased performance. One of the major areas of target for internal organizational improvements is the workforce. Khandekar and Sharma (2005) considered human resource capabilities as strategic and sustainable means of gaining competitive advantages. The research outcome emphasized the need for focus on employee abilities for organizational growth. Chen and Huang (2009) considered human resource as effective means of spurring innovations within the organizational context. In a different study, Catteeuw et al. (2007) lauded employee engagement as a means of boosting performance. Engaging employees in organizational activities emerged as an ideal approach for augmenting performance.

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Dubai constitutes one of the fast-growing economic zones around the globe. The organizations are, however facing the challenge of scarce innovations, leading to stagnated economic growth. Assalama (2009) observed that innovation among employees remained a key factor for the stagnated growth. The middle eastern region has faced marginalization stemming from the low development of western education and the prevalent traditional Islamic education. Trade revenues from petroleum and gas products have precipitated Dubai’s growth, causing small, medium, and large-scale business enterprises to spring up. The scarce professional competencies among the citizens predispose the organizations to poor performance. The majority of employees lack a sense of innovation, leading to decreased productivity.

The lack of innovation in the region pegs on the minimal professionalism among Dubai citizens. Ryan and Daly (2019) postulate that most countries in the middle eastern region opened up for the westernized education later in the century. In the early 1900s, traditional Islamic education prevailed, locking out exposure to western education. Western education emerged in the 1950s, but its spread was curtailed by the prevailing Islamic education system, translating to minimal growth in the region (Bradshaw et al., 2004). The result is the slowed academic achievements and minimal competencies among the citizens. Currently, a large portion of the workforce comprises itinerant expatriates due to the minimal expertise skills in the region (Ryan, 2016). The majority of professional tasks are accomplished by expatriates rather than the locals due to the scarcity of professional competencies.

Innovation remains a salient factor in the growth of an organization. It enables employees to formulate customized solutions to the inherent challenges. The majority of the Dubai workforce faces the challenge of innovation due to the minimal exposure and permeation of western education in the region. The traditional Islamic syllabus focuses on religious growth rather than professional development. Raising the innovation potential of the employees remains a viable approach towards the growth of the organization. In response to the above organizational issue, the current research aims at investigating how the human resource department in Dubai medium scale businesses can raise employee innovations by engaging them in organizational decision-making.

Problem Statement

Innovation remains a crucial competitive edge element in the contemporary organizational setting. The volatility of the existing business environment requires the implementation of strategies and techniques that would elevate the organization’s competitive advantage. The low proliferation of professional skills in Dubai predisposes the firms to hire employees with basic knowledge about organizational performance (Maceda, 2018). The stunted innovation among Dubai employees limits productivity over the short and long-term periods. Al Nuaimi (2020) revealed that low employee engagement in the workplace is attributed to lack of training and development, low job satisfaction, poor remuneration, and minimal challenging tasks. Despite the government of Dubai establishing a raft of measures such as providing scholarships for students to attend foreign learning institutions, integrating technology in learning, and formulating policies permitting expatriates to work in the region, the challenge of innovation remains inherent. Equipping employees with relevant skills through engagement in organizational activities could enable the firms to develop a competitive advantage and offer excellent products and services. This study seeks to address the knowledge gap by incorporating innovation through employee engagement in decision-making to raise their performance.

Research Objective

The solution to the above challenge pegs on the development of proper skills among the employees. The challenge of professional competencies in Dubai is inherent and requires a quick redress. Maceda’s (2018) report in the Gulf News article points at the need for professionals in the social scene. In addressing the research problem, the main objectives that will guide the study include:

Determination of the importance of engaging employees in organizational decision-making as a means of raising their innovations in Dubai.

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Research Question

What is the importance of engaging employees in organizational decision-making as a means of raising their innovations?

This study will offer insights to stakeholders such as the government, public and private companies, and other investors on the effective ways of improving business performance in the region. The stakeholders will use the findings to establish effective solutions to the scarcity of competence skills and the lack of innovation in Dubai.

Preliminary Literature Review

Past literature on the levels of employee innovations in businesses in Dubai reveals a significant gap that requires redress. The perennial lack of innovation among employees has led to decreased business performance, despite the region’s rapid growth and infrastructural developments (Al-Ansari, Pervan et al., 2013). The studies by Ryan and Daly (2019) and Bradshaw et al. (2004) attributed the lack of innovation among employees to the low proliferation of western education in the region. Traditional Islamic education only focused on the religious edification of the citizens rather than academic or professional developments. In a different study, Al-Ansari, Altalib et al., 2013) observed that despite the rapid technological growth in the region, lack of innovation remains a critical challenge directly impacting organizational performance. The lack of innovation among employees is therefore a major challenge facing vast organizations in Dubai.

Employee engagement in decision-making has been lauded in many studies, indicating its relative effectiveness in elevating organizational performance. Osborne and Hammoud (2017) considered employee engagement in corporate decision-making to bear intrinsic effect, due to the bond created with leaders and other groups. The engagement further equips employees with the sense of necessity to find solutions to the workplace’s challenges. The intrinsic nature of the employee engagement process in the company decision-making has led to its effectiveness in developing practical solutions to organizational challenges.

Various approaches for engaging employees in decision-making have been examined, and their relative effectiveness analyzed. Some of the common approaches include forming workplace committees and making provision for the representation, providing a suggestion box to enable free and fair communication, and establishing a culture of horizontal communications, where the employees can freely engage with leaders within the organizational setting. The above literature reveals the existence of a gap for employee innovations in Dubai. The literature review in the final research will attempt to offer an in-depth perspective of the impacts of employee engagement in decision-making on their levels of innovation. The outcome will offer a valid basis for addressing the research objectives and questions.

Theoretical Perspective

Theories form a basis and blueprint upon which certain behaviors or concepts can be understood. The current study seeks to establish the relationship between employee engagement in corporate decision-making and innovation. Two theoretical frameworks will guide the study and offer a basis for understanding the concepts. The theories include Maslow’s theory of needs and the architectural innovation theory. Maslow’s theory of human motivation postulates that an individual’s behavior can be dictated by fulfilling five major needs spanning physiological, safety, love, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization needs (Guo et al., 2019). The fulfillment of needs in one level triggers the desire to fulfill the subsequent ones. On the other hand, the architectural innovation theory entails utilizing knowledge, skills, and the existing technological developments to come up with practical solutions to organizational challenges (Park et al., 2018). Employees’ ability to engage in architectural innovation pegs on their levels of motivation within the organizational system.

Methodology

Research methodology remains integral in the collection and analysis of data. It provides the blueprint of the procedures followed when selecting the research participants, data analysis approaches, and the overall outcomes. In the current study, the qualitative research technique will be applied. Two research philosophies spanning interpretivist epistemology and constructionist ontology will underpin the current study. The interpretivist epistemology is premised on the notion that access to reality is attainable through examination and interaction of key social constructions spanning consciousness, language, instruments, and shared meanings (Moyo, 2017). This implies that the researcher will integrate with the study population, interact, and gather information within that context. The constructionist perspective on the other hand hinge on the assertion that social phenomenon and their relative meanings are often accomplished by induvial that act within the social setting (Avazovna, 2021). The implication herein is that the individuals immerse themselves into the study environment, understand their practices, and perform the research study.

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The two philosophies form a blueprint for collecting and analyzing data within the culture of the population under study. During the research, immersion into the study environment, practicing and understanding their culture, interviewing the people, performing case studies, and running histories offer a firm basis for conducting a successful study. In the context of the current study, the researcher will interact with the study participants in their natural environment, understand their culture and history, study their artifacts, and engage them in discourse through focus groups and interviews. The participants will be randomly selected to minimize any bias in the responses (Salloum et al., 2017). The responses will be taped and then listened to at a different time to identify the themes emerging from responses in the focus groups and interviews (Elliott, 2018). The history, artifacts, and case studies will also be examined for any common themes. The common themes will then be used to make deductions about the conduct of the population groups vis a vis the research question.

References

Al Nuaimi, A. (2020). Low employee engagement in the UAE: Causes and solutions to overcome the issue. Human Capital in the Middle East, 1(2), 51–72. Web.

Al-Ansari, Y., Altalib, M., & Sardoh, M. (2013). Technology orientation, innovation and business performance: A study of Dubai SMEs. The International Technology Management Review, 3(1), 1-11. Web.

Al-Ansari, Y., Pervan, S., & Xu, J. (2013). Innovation and business performance of SMEs: the case of Dubai. Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues. Web.

Aspers, P., & Corte, U. (2019). What is qualitative in qualitative research. Qualitative Sociology, 42(2), 139-160. Web.

Assalama, I. (2009). Triggers and Conditions for Innovations in Dubai (Doctoral dissertation, British University in Dubai). Web.

Avazovna, D. N. (2021). Ontological and epistemological principles in the system of the paradigm of civilizations and their nature of interrelation. Academicia: An International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 11(2), 572-579. Web.

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Bradshaw, K., Tennant, L., & Lydiatt, S. (2004). Special education in the United Arab Emirates: anxieties, attitudes and aspirations. International journal of special education, 19(1), 49-55. Web.

Catteeuw, F., Flynn, E., & Vonderhorst, J. (2007). Employee engagement: Boosting productivity in turbulent times. Organization Development Journal, 25(2), P151. Web.

Chen, C. J., & Huang, J. W. (2009). Strategic human resource practices and innovation performance—The mediating role of knowledge management capacity. Journal of business research, 62(1), 104-114. Web.

Elliott, V. (2018). Thinking about the coding process in qualitative data analysis. The Qualitative Report, 23(11), 2850-2861. Web.

Galdas, P. (2017). Revisiting bias in qualitative research: Reflections on its relationship with funding and impact. Journal of Research, 37(1), 36-41. Web.

Guo, J., Weng, D., Zhang, Z., Liu, Y., & Wang, Y. (2019). Evaluation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on long-term use of HMDs – A case study of office environment. 2019 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (VR), 1(1), 948–949. Web.

Khandekar, A., & Sharma, A. (2005). Managing human resource capabilities for sustainable competitive advantage: An empirical analysis from Indian global organisations. Education+ Training, 47(8-9), 628-639. Web.

Kryscynski, D., Coff, R., & Campbell, B. (2020). Charting a path between firm‐specific incentives and human capital‐based competitive advantage. Strategic Management Journal, 42(2), 386–412. Web.

Maceda, S. (2018). Talent shortage: UAE firms have trouble hiring skilled professionals. Web.

Moyo, T. (2017). Data collection instruments in research: An ontological and epistemological reflection. Journal of Public Administration, 52, 285-295. Web.

Osborne, S., & Hammoud, M. S. (2017). Effective Employee Engagement in the Workplace. International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, 16(1), 50–67. Web.

Park, W.-Y., Ro, Y. K., & Kim, N. (2018). Architectural innovation and the emergence of a dominant design: The effects of strategic sourcing on performance. Research Policy, 47(1), 326–341. Web.

Ryan, J. C. (2016). Old knowledge for new impacts: Equity theory and workforce nationalization. Journal of Business Research ,69(5), 1587–1592. Web.

Ryan, J. C., & Daly, T. M. (2019). Barriers to innovation and knowledge generation: The challenges of conducting business and social research in an emerging country context. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 4(1), 47–54. Web.

Salloum, S. A., Al-Emran, M., Monem, A. A., & Shaalan, K. (2017). A Survey of Text Mining in Social Media: Facebook and Twitter Perspectives. Advances in Science, Technology and Engineering Systems Journal, 2(1), 127–133. Web.

Tuli, F. (2011). The basis of distinction between qualitative and quantitative research in social science: Reflection on Ontological, Epistemological and Methodological Perspectives. Ethiopian Journal of Education and Sciences, 6(1). Web.

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