Ministry of Awqaf (Endowment) and Religious Affairs (MARA) is a Governmental Entity in Oman that has been given the responsibility of overseeing procedures related to endowments and religious matters in the country. The vision of the organisation is aimed at the development of spiritual and religious values that have been acquired from the Qur’an and Sunnah (Sheline, 2018).
The objectives of MARA are to provide support to the charitable and folk endowments, schools and Mosques, as well as develop plans and projects aimed at maintaining and developing resources for the social structures that follow religious principles. Beyond that, MARA works in terms of disseminating knowledge of the Qur’an and the memorisation of its writings, which means that the organisation plays a significant role in sharing the religious wisdom and sharing it with as many people as possible.
Employee engagement is an important aspect of MARA’s organisational success because workers who are close to their work are more likely to help reach the set goals. Engagement is closely tied with the belief of employees at the setting in which they work, and thus will work effectively to make sure that both long- and short-term goals are met. In the context of the work of MARA, which is directly associated with working with people and communities, engagement can significantly change the way the Ministry operates and connects to the population of Oman.
Besides, the organisation continuously works on the development and advancement of its global programs, which calls for the special preparation of employees, their engagement in the goals and objectives is especially important. The Message of Islam project entails an intercultural exchange with other nations on the issues of religious tolerance, understanding, and coexistence. MARA’s agenda is to promote peace and understanding of Islam’s religious principles in more than thirty countries worldwide, thus establishing both cultural and spiritual connections.
Senior executives across Oman have recognised and appreciated the role of employee engagement as an important determinant for enhanced performance in the workplace. Due to limited research on this issue in the context of Oman and the work of governmental entities such as MARA, this study can play a significant role in defining the influence of employee engagement within a highly specified and isolated setting (Al-Saadi, 2017). Because employee engagement is a critical issue when it comes to conceptualisation, measurement, and implementation, significant attention to the problem is expected to make organisations more productive and effective.
However, it is essential to note that the process of engaging employees in meeting the goals of an organisation is not a simple task for managers. It is problematic because the scope and the indicators of engagement are different from one setting to another, for instance, private and public organisations. As found by Al Mamari et al. (2019, p. 41), there is no significant difference in the “behavioural level of employee engagement but on a cognitive and emotional level, there are some significant differences in employee engagement between public and private organisations.” Therefore, choosing MARA’s Message of Islam project as the context for this study may reveal important details as to how employee engagement may impact organisational success.
This research, conducted in regard to human resources, aims to explore the role of workers’ engagement on the success and development of a global project Message of Islam, initiated by the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in Oman. In the context of the social and educational work that MARA does in the religious sphere, having a clear set of spiritual values is imperative as they can strengthen the connections between the members of an organisation and enable commitment and understanding as to how to proceed with its short- and long-term goals. With the help of deep emotional commitment to the values and the goals of the Ministry, employees will show that they genuinely care about their work (Al Mamari et al., 2015). In this case, employees do not work to get paid or get promoted by the management but instead work on behalf of organisational goals.
It is crucial to study the topic of employee engagement as related to the accomplishment of MARA’s goals due to the lack of research in this area as applied to organisations that set the objectives of increasing the population’s spirituality and enhancing the role of religious institutions at promoting the interests of the Islamic faith. Thus, this study focuses on the influence of employee engagement on MARA’s global project, Message of Islam, success will depend on the contributions of talented staff to the significant roles of the organisation. In addition, it is essential to determine how to encourage and recommend the Ministry to seek and train other talent in order to work on promoting the message and the values of the organisation.
The work of the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs is highly varied and important, which means that employee engagement plays a significant role in guaranteeing organisational success. Previous scholarly studies have identified a strong correlation between employee engagement and the success of the organisational (Osborne and Hammoud, 2017). Employee engagement represents the extent to which a worker shows both physical and emotional dedication that enable a cognitive investment with one’s work at an organisation (Bailey et al., 2017).
An initial study by Kahn (1990) on the topic revealed that workers make informed choices whether they would invest themselves fully in the roles that they have in a work environment. Saks (2006, p. 603) defined engagement as a “distinct and unique construct consisting of cognitive emotional, and behavioural components that are associated with individual role performance.”
An engaged worker is expected to have an effective and energetic connection to work activities and sees himself or herself as capable of dealing with the demands of the job (Schaufeli et al., 2002). In addition, organisation engagement has the potential of mediating the relationship between job satisfaction, organisational commitment, turnover, and organisational citizenship behaviour, which points to the multi-dimensional influence of engagement on different aspects of organisational work (Saks, 2006). The emotional obligation that is embedded into the expectations of employee engagement indicates that a worker who is committed to their work will be concerned with the obligations and expectations of an organisation.
Thus, researchers studying the topic of employee engagement within the human resource management context aimed to underline the use of increased engagement to facilitate a level of keenness and devotion that worker can put into their extra efforts because they are made to believe that what they do matters to the goals and objectives of an organisation (Al-Maamari and Matriano, 2019).
According to the findings of Al-Maamari and Matriano (2019), who researched the part of employee engagement in the setting of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI)-Oman, most workers were shown not to be engaged at the Ministry, which is an important conclusion to consider in this study. The scholars recommended that MOCI implements an effective engagement framework to improve the culture at the Ministry and cater to the needs of its workers.
Researches have consistently been finding significant relationships between employee engagement and organisational success and productivity. According to Kumar and Pansari (2015), involved workers can enable successful structural efficiency compared to disengaged employees, which points to the fact that engagement can influence the business and productivity of companies in both private and public sectors. The success factors of employee engagement can also range depending on the nature of an organisation for which their work.
However, several determinants can be noted as they are associated with the emotional state of employees. According to Ruck, Welch, and Menara (2017), employees are engaged in the work of organisations when they feel that their work is meaningful and makes a difference, when they feel respected and treasured, as well as when they feel confident and secure. Therefore, for human resource managers at MARA, it is recommended to adopt such leadership styles that can inspire the mentioned determinants and sentiments for ensuring that they can be engaged.
Qualitative research is a suitable methodology approach for the proposed study because it presents opportunities to discuss the topic in-depth and reveal details that were not intended to be found initially (Aspers and Corte, 2019). Research participants, both employees and managers working on the Message of Islam project, will be collected through convenience sampling carried out at the organisation’s offices.
With the help of semi-structured interviews, the researcher can question the approach that MARA’s human resource managers implement when addressing employee engagement concerns within the project and discover strategies to be implemented in order to recruit talent to the organisation and increase its success in accomplishing the goals of the Message of Islam initiative. The experiences of real employees and their managers at MARA will reveal interesting details about the approach that the organisation has to workers engagement and help identify both best practices and areas for improvement.
Al Mamari, A. et al. (2019) ‘A comparative study of employee engagement in private and public companies in Oman oil and gas sector’, Journal of Research in Management, 2(4), pp. 41-48.
Al-Maamari, H. and Matriano, M. (2019) ‘A critical investigation on the impact of employee’s engagement on employee’s productivity at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry – Oman’. Journal of Student Research. Web.
Aspers, P. and Corte, U. (2019). ‘What is qualitative and quantitative research’, Qualitative Sociology, 42, pp. 139-160.
Bailey, C., et al. ‘The meaning, antecedents and outcomes of employee engagement: A narrative synthesis’, International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(1), pp. 31-53.
Kahn, W. (1990). ‘Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work’, Academy of Management Journal, 33, pp. 692-724.
Kumar, V. and Pansari, A. (2015). ‘Measuring the benefits of employee engagement’, MIT Sloan Management Review, 56(4), pp. 67-68.
Osborne, S. and Hammoud, M. (2017). ‘Effective employee engagement in the Workplace’, International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, 16(1), pp. 50-67.
Ruck, K., Welch, M. and Menara, B. (2017). ‘Employee voice: An antecedent to organisational engagement?’, Public Relations Review, 43(5), pp. 904-914.
Saks, A. (2006) ‘Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement’, Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21, pp. 600-619.
Schaufeli, W., et al. (2002) ‘The measurement of engagement and burnout: A two sample confirmatory factor analytic approach’, Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, pp. 71-92.
Sheline, A. (2018) Branding Islam: The strategic use of official religious discourse. Web.