Employee Motivation Practices in UAE Companies

Abstract

This paper attempts to examine the employee motivation practices of companies within the U.A.E to determine their overall level of effectiveness as well as how they compare to current employee motivation standards based on academic and corporate data on the subject. This study has accomplished this through the use of structured interviews. Employees were individually interviewed to determine their overall perception of the types of currently utilized motivational strategies. The interview also showed whether such strategies are effective. By performing this particular type of examination, this study can, in effect, help to improve the current practices within U.A.E companies by suggesting operational guidelines for employee motivation based on the research that was done. This should make local industries more competitive, thereby increasing the overall attractiveness of the U.A.E as a destination for more companies. It is expected that this paper will contribute significantly towards improving employee motivation practices for companies within the region, thereby enabling them to further improve within the upcoming years.

Introduction

As the U.A.E continues to expand its infrastructure and local industries, the issue of implementing proper employee motivation strategies has become increasingly prevalent as a result of increased attrition rates among many local companies. The study of Hamdan (2012) examined the local economy. It noted that the high rate of attrition within companies in the region was in part due to a lack of a definitive employee motivation strategy. That would not only increase productivity within the workplace but would also result in better employee retention rates (Hamdan 2012, pp. 1). It is based on this that this study will delve into motivational strategies currently being implemented within the U.A.E, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, to examine their effectiveness, determine whether improvements can be made and create suggestions to ensure that companies within the U.A.E can implement the correct kind of strategies to motivate their employees. This study assumes that the prevalent intrinsic employee motivation strategy within the U.A.E is insufficient in properly motivating employees in comparison to the benefits offered through extrinsic motivation strategies.

Background of the Study

Extrinsic motivation strategies in improving employee performance usually come in the form of a benefit or monetary reward for an employee when they accomplish a particular set of goals by the company. An examination of current practices by the company “Accenture” (www.accenture.com/ae-en/) in their U.A.E based offshore offices shows extensive use of performance-based methods of evaluation through metrics which the company uses to great effect in order retain employees as well as attract new ones. Such a method of motivation is primarily extrinsic. It utilizes “metrics” (i.e. a series of performance-based points) to evaluate employees work habit and set a standard series of rewards. It based on their performance within a given timeframe (i.e. within one to six months). The reward for meeting and exceeding the metrics of the company usually comes in the form of quick advancement or a percentage increase in that employee’s salary. This method of extrinsic motivation is advantageous for employees since it enables them to advance quickly within the company and become an operations manager within two years or even less. As such, it is a method of employee motivation that is incredibly appealing since it presents opportunities in line with quick promotions and monetary rewards. Fortune 100 companies within the U.S. seemingly focus more on performance-based initiatives rather than intrinsic strategies of motivation.

Individuals that have proven themselves to have a high degree of competence in meeting the metrics of the company are promoted to positions within a short period with training. Such individuals have been slated for placement into such positions with training periods usually lasting a month or less. Studies such as those by Sung Min & Word (2012) state that companies that employ extrinsic strategies in motivating employees often perform better on an operational level given that their employees constantly focus on the rewards they would obtain for their level of performance (Sung Min & Word 2012, pp. 705-734). Intrinsic motivation strategies, on the other hand, focus more on developing employee interest and job satisfaction wherein employees work not out of a sense of wanting to earn more, rather, they work because they enjoy their job. Studies such as those by Hayenga & Corpus (2010) explain that intrinsic motivation strategies often involve having an employee see their place in the “bigger picture”. There the company shows that they value this employee and that he/she is not merely a number on a balance sheet (Hayenga & Corpus 2010, pp. 371-383). Intrinsic strategies often involve a combination of management styles and talent management techniques wherein managers, and the company help employees develop what is known as a “career” within their respective departments (Hayenga & Corpus 2010, pp. 371-383). As a result, employees attempt to work harder at their respective jobs and develop more skills since they are motivated to advance and become better at what they do since they have begun to enjoy their job.

Statement of the Problem

With the expansion of numerous businesses into the U.A.E comes the potential for problems related to employee retention and motivation when it comes to the diverse range of nationalities within the region that an employer can hire. As such, it is necessary to evaluate current intrinsic and extrinsic strategies utilized by companies within the U.A.E. to determine what method would work best.

Research Question

Which motivational practice, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, results in better employee performance within companies in the U.A.E.?

Objectives

The main objective of this report is to investigate possible methods of improving employee performance through either intrinsic or extrinsic motivational strategies. To do so, it is necessary to: determine the current employee management practices currently in play within several U.A.E companies and propose specific methods that can be realistically implemented by such companies to further improve their performance. Other objectives of this report consist of showing that job satisfaction is inherently connected with the types of motivational strategies that have been implemented within a company which in turn affect an employee’s operational performance. The last objective of this report is to contribute to corporate best practices. They would enable employers to derive better levels of performance from their employees. They also enable them to reduce employee churn rates as well (referring to the number of employees that enter/leave a company).

Significance of the Study

As multinational corporations continue to expand into new markets, such as the U.A.E, it has become increasingly apparent that effectively integrating managerial practices found in one business culture to another often creates a mixed result which at times reduces the operational effectiveness of a pioneering branch within a new location. Since globalization and multiculturalism have become synonymous aspects of the global market place companies, need to respond to the diverse consumer and cultural demographics to which they sell their products and services to stay relevant. His report will attempt to investigate what type of employee motivation strategy (intrinsic or extrinsic) would work the best for employees within the U.A.E. This is to create a means in which management processes are improved. So it would result in the creation of better employees that would be retained for a longer time within the company.

Scope and Limitations

The independent variable in this study consists of the academic literature that will be gathered by the researcher for the literature review. In contrast, the dependent variable will consist of the responses gained from the passengers that will be recruited for this study. It is anticipated that through a correlation between the literature on the current state of the airline industry and the responses of the passengers, the researcher will in effect be able to make a logical connection regarding the current effectiveness motivation strategies.

Overall, the data collection process is expected to be uneventful; however, some challenges may be present in collecting data involving HR practices that are to be utilized in this study. Such issues though can be resolved through access to online academic resources such as EBSCO, J store, popular magazines (i.e. Time) as well as other such online databases which should have the necessary information. Relevant books were also included in the review. Furthermore, websites such as The Economist.com have several online articles which contain snippets of information that should be able to help steer the study towards acquiring the necessary sources needed to justify asserted arguments. It must be noted that the time constraint for this particular study only allows structured interviews with an unrepresentative number of people, and also a limited amount of flexibility when conducting the interviews.

The main weakness of this study is in its reliance on interview results as the primary source of data to determine the general opinion of employees and HR managers regarding the type of motivation strategies that are being implemented. There is always the possibility that the responses could be false or that employee/manager in question does not know anything at all about the nuances of motivation as indicated by the researcher. While this can be resolved by backing up the data with relevant literature, it still presents itself as a problem that cannot be easily remedied.

Literature Review

Introduction to Literature

This section reviews and evaluates literature and theories on the use of employee motivational practices in order to attain competitive advantage as well as increase their level of performance. This section thus discusses various aspects related to motivational practices and job satisfaction. As indicated by Cho & Perry (2012), the following are the primary characteristics that are demand in most companies at present:

  • high market responsiveness on the part of the company’s management department and employees (Cho & Perry 2012, pp. 382-406).
  • the capacity to develop as fast, if not faster, than current industry standards in production and service standards (Cho & Perry 2012, pp. 382-406).
  • the ability to provide services to clients at a relatively low-cost
  • possessing the capacity to be innovative and creative in order to take the company to the “next level” (Cho & Perry 2012, pp. 382-406).

What must be understood though is that such characteristics are dependent upon the type of technical teams that are the backbone of the company wherein through the utilization of a variety of management practices a seamless integration of vertical and horizontal means of collaboration need to be implemented in order to create a stable organizational structure for proper operations and product development (Cho & Perry 2012, pp. 382-406). This is where the concept of employee motivation enters the picture.

Motivation

Employees that lack sufficient motivation with their current position have been shown as being more likely to leave for “greener pastures” as compared to employees that have been sufficiently motivated by their company. This can come in the form of reward programs, company policies or varying degrees of empowerment that, in effect, encourage employees to work harder and stay longer at their jobs. Based on the work of Meiai & Xuequan (2012), it was determined that employee motivation played an important role in talent management practices due to its correlation in creating employees that are more motivated to work, more interested in their job and, as a result, stayed longer with their respective companies (Meiai & Xuequan 2012 pp. 1075-1081). Motivation, as stated by Meiai & Xuequan (2012), is a crucial aspect of performance within a company since no matter how well a company develops its employees through a plethora of training programs and seminars, if said employees find little willingness to actually apply what they were taught in a productive and enthusiastic manner, then the training itself would have been a useless venture (Meiai & Xuequan 2012 pp. 1075-1081). Businesses do not operate within a vacuum and have to deal with an intensely competitive environment on an almost daily basis. As such, in order to meet these challenges company often has to retain employees by offering certain benefits while at the same time institute costly training practices in order to improve performance, these factors result in added costs for the company. For example, if a company wishes to expand into a new field of business to stay competitive, it would need to train some of its current employees. This is an important factor to take into consideration for companies since such programs increase employee performance levels.

One example of this seen in modern-day firms is the employee bonus program which rewards hard workers and those who fulfil certain standards of attendance. Another interesting point brought up by Meiai & Xuequan (2012) is the assumptions on what drives an employee to perform better. Through the Meiai & Xuequan (2012) article, it can be seen that there are varying models which emphasize that most individuals are goal-directed, are driven towards intrinsic rewards and need such rewards in order to work better. Such models of behaviour are important facilitators in understanding employee behaviours and, as such, are important in the creation of new policies and strategies in boosting employee performance. For example, when using such models of behaviour, a company may employ a rewards program for efficiency and productivity in order to encourage all employees to work harder as a result. Within the Lei (2010) study, it was shown how motivation initiates, directs and sustains an employee’s performance to the job they are accomplishing (Lei 2010, pp. 153-160). When examining this particular aspect, it becomes obvious that all employees need some form of motivating factor in order to work harder; without this, there is no incentive to improve one’s performance. The study showed that if a company does not have any means of motivating its employees to work harder, it is unlikely that their performance will improve and thus is an ineffective method of talent management (Lei 2010, pp. 153-160).

Management Styles

Another factor that should be taken into consideration when it comes to employee motivation is the types of management styles that company managers apply when managing and training their respective employees. What you have to understand is that there are a variety of management styles currently in practice today ranging from the militaristic to the laid back and finally the open management style which focuses on developing an environment where the sharing of ideas is promoted. Each type of management style results in different levels of employee reciprocity such as their responsiveness to given situations, their ability to adapt to new problems and even their ability to improve themselves (Joosten, Bundy & Einfeld 2009, pp. 521-531). Companies need to take into consideration what management styles are currently in place, and how do they relate to what they want in terms of employee motivation. Do they want employees that are robotic and respond in a manner that is dictated step by step by the company? Or do they want employees that are creative and imaginative resulting in the development of possible solutions for current internal problems? It is questions such as these that bring up the issue of implementing proper management styles within a company in order to ensure that employee motivates practices are implemented in such a way that it is in accordance with what it wants its employees to become. It must also be noted that some management styles unfairly use the situations of employees in order to derive every single ounce of performance out of them while at the same time paying them a mere pittance (Joosten, Bundy & Einfeld 2009, pp. 521-531). The final points of interest in this section are instances where serious problems are overlooked in favour of having work continue as usual.

This can come in the form of environmentally damaging practices or employee abuse. The reason this is important is due to the fact overlooking such factors is highly unethical and would reflect badly on the company if discovered. What you have to understand is that all the negative factors indicated within this section are indicative of company management practices that actually result in adverse effects on a company’s talent pool (Joosten, Bundy & Einfeld 2009, pp. 521-531). The more unethical a company’s internal practices are, the more likely it is that performance levels would drop and the rate of employee churn would increase resulting in a considerable degree of talent loss for the company. For example, practices which involve making an employee work harder than they should employ ethically dubious methods of operation, as well as other similar factors, are actually detrimental to employee motivation practices since they either create a situation where employees are more likely to leave the company, or the company would develop employees that are distinctly unethical in their own method of working. It is based on this that any examination of a company regarding its employee motivation practices should involve how they treat their workers and the nature of the ethical codes of conduct of the company. As explained by Joosten, Bundy & Einfeld (2009), ethically sound companies are able to retain workers more effectively and develop better talent pools since such practices encourage employees to stay with the company due to the overall positive regard for the company’s practices.

Job Satisfaction

This section is comprised of possible solutions to the issue of increasing job satisfaction among employees which is an important component of employee motivation practices. Comprised of the concepts of mentoring and continuous development programs, this part of the paper delves into possible practices that could be implemented within a company to help employees transition into their respective roles and, as a result, develop in a fundamentally better manner as compared to simply leaving it to training and development initiatives. Mentoring in the case of job satisfaction involves guiding an employee either through a team leader or an adjunct employee that is willing to “take them under their wing” so to speak to help adjust to the various aspects of the job, teach them how to do it well and guide them as they advance (Wong-On-Wing et al. 2010, pp. 133-153). The advantage of this particular method is that it eliminates the dissatisfaction employees have with a job by enabling them to see “the bigger picture” and have them develop a development plan from which they can ascertain what they want out of their current job. It must be noted though that while this method is effective, it hinges on the fact that the mentor will actually have time to address and guide the concerns of the person that he/she is mentoring (Wong On Wing et al. 2010, pp. 133-153). In Edmans (2012), the author presents a process by which leaders can distinguish their qualities (with either a formal or a casual 360- degree evaluation), select suitable corresponding aptitudes (the article distinguishes up to twelve for every leader’s ability), and advance those aptitudes to drastically enhance their qualities- making themselves remarkably valuable to their associations (Edmans 2012, pp. 1-19).It was seen through this paper that in instances where there is sporadic mentorship what often occurs is that employees fall back into old habits and job dissatisfaction occurs as a direct result.

What must be understood is that mentorship is not as effective as a process/program instilled by a company that creates the necessary self-motivated interested within an employee and, as such, should not be considered 100% effective. (Edmans 2012, pp. 1-19) It must also be noted that due to the size of certain organizations mentoring is at times not feasible and is limited because of this. Another process that can be utilized to increase job satisfaction among employees is the use of continuous training and development programs. This particular practice involves the development of employees in such a way that they are able to understand their intended path and role within the company. Based on the work of Böckerman & Ilmakunnas (2012) it was noted that once an employee develops notions related to importance, acknowledgement and knowing that they will become an important aspect of the company, they become more interested in their respective positions and actually start to work harder and become more interested in their jobs (Böckerman & Ilmakunnas 2012, pp. 244-262). When it comes to continuous training development programs, it is interesting to note that researcher such as Böckerman & Ilmakunnas (2012) indicate that continuing to develop employees in order for them to accomplish multiple different tasks actually results in a greater degree of job satisfaction since it takes away factors related to repetitive actions that actually cause job dissatisfaction (Böckerman & Ilmakunnas 2012, pp. 244-262).

From the perspective of Böckerman & Ilmakunnas (2012), an employee actually loses satisfaction with their job over time unless some degree of variability is included in order to make the job more interesting. For example, various studies in psychology that have attempted to use economic theories as a means of explaining certain types of human behaviour state that a job can be construed as being similar to the concept of marginal utility wherein the more you consume a particular product, the more likely you will consume less of it at a later date (Böckerman & Ilmakunnas 2012, pp. 244-262). The same can be said for doing the same job over and over again wherein it will eventually reach a point where the marginal utility derived from doing it will be negative, thus resulting in job dissatisfaction. In order to avoid such an occurrence, it is recommended that continuous training development programs which allow employees to assume different job roles, as well as sufficient progress in their career, are an optimum method for increasing job satisfaction since this enables them to “reset’ their marginal utility so to speak as they are placed into new roles. This creates continued interest, the desire to learn and improve, which in the end results in high degrees of job satisfaction.

Overall, this section has highlighted the importance of incorporating job satisfaction, skills training, job interest, proper management and methods of employee motivation into employee motivation practices. Without these factors in place, even the best employee motivation programs in the world are at risk of employees simply leaving due to dissatisfaction with their current positions leading to increased costs related to having to hire, train and buildup their replacement.

Conceptual Framework

Introduction

This section elaborates on the use of attribution theory and grounded theory as the primary methods of examination utilized by the researcher in order to check the information gathered during the interviews. These theories were chosen due to their ability to examine the opinions of the interviewees in order to properly interpret the data and create viable solutions and recommendations. For example, through attribution theory, the research will be able to correlate the views of managers and employees with their current experiences within U.A.E companies in order to properly determine whether the current system of employee motivation utilized by their respective companies is appropriate or inappropriate. By following grounded theory while analyzing the data presented by the subjects examined, the research will be able to determine the current state of employee motivation within the UA.E., whether significant problems exist, what companies are doing to address such issues and if the possible alternative to current methods has been considered. It is expected that by following the two theoretical frameworks during the examination process of the paper, the researcher will be able to succinctly address the research objectives of the study.

The main difference between the two theories is that attribution theory concerns itself with the assumptions people have towards a particular product or process while grounded theory focuses more on developing succinct assumptions based on the data that has been presented. As such, by combining both methods, this enables the study to examine the opinions of a test subject under a particular investigative framework while at the same time utilizing another framework to determine the inherent problems within a given scenario and the appropriate method of addressing them. It is based on this that these two theories become an ideal method for the research topic “Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation in the United Arab Emirates”. The main benefit of utilizing both theories in the examination of the research topic is that they enable a better examination of the responses of the interviewees as well as the data from the literature review as compared to merely doing an examination of both aspects utilizing a single theory.

Attribution Theory

Attribution theory is an excellent method of analyzing talent management practices since it delves directly into opinions and inclinations regarding particular products or topics. As a result, researchers are better able to understand the opinions of the researcher subjects that are being examined and their overall responsiveness to current employee motivation practices. Attribution theory centres around the derived assumption of a particular individual/group of people regarding a particular process, product or service based on their experience with it. It is often used as a means of investigating consumer opinions regarding a particular product and to determine the level of satisfaction derived from its use. By utilizing this particular theory as the framework for this study, the researcher will be able to correlate the opinions of the interviewee regarding their assumptions over what practices lead to job satisfaction thus resulting in improved employee motivation practices.

This particular theoretical framework helps to address the research objective of determining current employee motivation practices within the company by creating a framework that will be utilized within the interview. Utilizing attribution theory, the research will design the research questions in such a way that they delve into the opinions of the managers/employees regarding current employee motivations practices within the company. The needed information will be extracted through a carefully designed set of questions whose aim is to determine how a particular manager’s/employee’s experience with their company’s employee motivation process affects the way they view the current state of employee motivation within the company and whether significant improvements need to be implemented or not. However, it should be noted that while attribution theory is an excellent means of examining the opinions of interviewees, it is an inadequate framework when it comes to determining the origin of problems in certain cases. Grounded theory, with its emphasis on utilizing a specific framework to guide a researcher during the examination process, can be considered an adequate method of performing the more “in-depth” aspects of the research.

Justification for Utilizing Attribution Theory

As a guideline for examination, attribution theory enables researchers to better understand how people react or will react based on the introduction of a new set of parameters. This can encompass a new product, process or organizational structure; however, its main intended purpose is to help researchers understand the justification behind the reactions of the research subjects. Based on this, it can be seen that attribution theory is an ideal method of examination for this paper since it would enable the researcher to better understand the factors (i.e. organizational culture, personal preference etc.) that influence employees and managers in their position regarding employee motivation practices within their respective companies. Not only that, but it would also enable the researcher to determine whether such influences positively/negatively affect the development of employee motivation practices within the company.

Grounded Theory

The advantage of utilizing ground theory over other theoretical concepts is that it does not start with an immediate assumption regarding a particular case. Instead, it focuses on the development of an assumption while the research is ongoing through the use of the following framework for examination:

  1. What actions are currently be done and how are they being accomplished
  2. What sort of problems has been identified in the operational process of the company?
  3. What sort of solutions has been attempted to resolve the issue?
  4. Have possible alternatives to the proposed solutions been attempted?

This particular technique is especially useful in instances where researchers need to follow a specific framework for examining a problem (as seen in the framework above) and, as such, is useful in analyzing the data and come to logical conclusions.

Through the use of grounded theory, the researcher will be able to determine how employee motivation practices in the U.A.E such as bonuses, employee benefits programs, employee training programs, work/life balance initiatives, mentoring or in-house education services are effective enough in retaining a company’s current talent base. This will be done by following the ground theory framework of examination (that was already mentioned) in order to help guide the research and interview process that will be conducted. According to Urquhart, Lehmann, & Myers (2010), the grounded theory provides systematic, yet flexible guidelines to collect and analyze data. That data then forms the foundation of the theory while the analysis of the data provides the concepts resulting in an effective examination and presentation of the results of the study (Urquhart, Lehmann, & Myers 2010, pp. 357-381).

Methodology

Introduction to Methodology

This section aims to provide information on how the study was conducted, what processes were utilized, how they were implemented, and the validity of the approach. Overall, this section will enable readers to know how the researcher went about in gathering the necessary information for the study and what sort of logical conclusions can be drawn from the study results.

Research Design

The study will employ an interview technique for the purpose of collecting participant data. The reason why this was particular process was chosen by the researcher was to enable participants to respond to the researcher’s questions more directly and thus provide additional information regarding the processes being examined that had initially escaped the attention of the researcher. An analysis of related literature will also be utilized in order to compare the study results with that results of interviews.

Data Collection

The primary method of data collection for this study will consist of a semi-structured interview technique where the research will interview the participants one by one. The reason behind this particular choice is due to the fact that interviews are the most fundamental of all qualitative methods and, as such, are an effective means of evaluating the views, perceptions and innate ideas individuals have over the techniques, processes or phenomenon that is being examined. In fact, it has been noted by studies such as those by Crowe & Sheppard (2012) that interviews still hold a distinct relevance as a primary method of data collection in numerous studies and, as such, is evidence of the importance of interviews as one of the most important methods of data collection (Crowe & Sheppard 2012, pp. 1493-1504). Of particular interest is the fact that through the use of interviews, researchers can better access the inherent views certain individuals have regarding particular events and actions that are taking place in order to create a comparison with other individuals from different groups in order to determine the similarity or differences in the responses given. Through a one-on-one meeting between the researcher and the candidate, a semi-structured interview technique gives the researcher the opportunity to obtain more data than they otherwise would have through techniques such as a survey or questionnaire. This helps in enabling them to secure a more accurate account regarding the perceptions of certain individuals based on their personal experiences (Crowe & Sheppard 2012, pp. 1493-1504). This confirms that the semi-structured method of interviewing candidates is the best method to be utilized in this particular study since it will be able to address the objectives of this research paper.

Selecting Organization and Candidates for Interviews

When choosing candidates for this report, what was used was a purposive sampling technique involving easily accessible places, organizations and individuals rather than a random sampling technique over a given population set. While it may be true that this does create a certain degree of bias regarding the proponents to be utilized in the research study, the fact is that the researcher deemed it necessary to limit the population type utilized as well as the place to be examined due to study and time constraints. As such, what was focused on were employee motivation strategies that specifically targeted citizens within the U.A.E as well as locations that could easily be reached by the researcher.

The corporate organizations that are to be examined were chosen based on a certain set of criteria.

  1. The first is that this agency must be providing a certain type of service to the general public within the U.A.E or to other regions.
  2. The second is that the organization in question must be of sufficient size in that it should have a direct impact on the general public by the nature of its very existence.
  3. The third is that it must provide a certain degree of benefit to its users and recipients (i.e. Social Security System, Health Insurance etc.)
  4. The last criterion to be met is that the organization must be easily accessible by the researcher in order to conduct sufficient interviews with the candidates for this particular study.

Data Processing

Prior to analysis, all raw data (accumulated recordings and field notes) will be processed in order to ensure a far more orderly and succinct examination of the information accumulated. The interview results will be written down and transcribed by the researcher to ensure data accuracy after which personal notes and comments will be included based on the researcher’s own opinions regarding the information presented during the interviews. It must be noted that since all the interviews will be conducted in Arabic, a transcribed translation of the recorded conversations will be utilized just in case the researcher will miss any data that comes up. Lastly, all raw field notes accumulated during the process of data recording will be subsequently converted into reports where they will be reviewed for their overall accuracy and succinctness. After all the reports have been appropriately edited the recordings will be organized within a database as recommended by the work of Devers & Frankel (2000) along with the accumulated primary data (this takes the form of gathered interview transcripts and field notes) (Devers & Frankel 2000, pp. 263-271).

Data Analysis

The primary method of data analysis in the case of this study involves a comparison between the data collected from the research participants and the data accumulated from the literature review. The individual review will primarily be the researcher examining the collected response data from the participants that were interviewed and comparing it to the data obtained from the literature review. The researcher will then review these main themes and use this information to assist in establishing the key findings of the study. This method of data analysis is appropriate for a qualitative design.

Study Concerns

One potential concern that should be taken into consideration is the potential that the responses given by the study participants are in fact, inaccurate or outright false. While the researcher is giving the participants the benefit of the doubt, the fact remains that there is still the potential that the information being given has been crafted in such a way that it was made to ensure that it is false (McGrath & O’Toole 2012, pp. 508-526). Unfortunately, there is no way for the researcher to verify the information. This methodology exposes the participants to an assortment of risks that need to be taken into consideration during the research process. The main risk the participants will encounter is if any of the answers that criticize or indicate dissatisfaction with the company they work for leaks. This may have consequences on the attitude and opinion of company officials towards them and can result in victimization (McGrath & O’Toole 2012, pp. 508-526). To eliminate this risk, the responses will be kept in an anonymous location. This way, the only way to access the information will be through a procedure that involves the researcher. The project thus observes proper research ethics in sampling as well as during the data collection process.

Consent Form

Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation in the United Arab Emirates

Dear Research Participant,

You are warmly invited to participate in this research study which involves an examination of “Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation in the United Arab Emirates”. As a current member of the U.A.E workforce, you were selected to participate based on your knowledge and experience in current motivation strategies within the U.A.E as well as your time in managing different types of employees. Before you participate in this study, I would like you to please read through this consent form in order to familiarize yourself with the responses expected of you. Should you have any questions or concerns, please voice them out to the researcher at any time. This study is being conducted by a prospective Masters degree candidate for the culmination of their academic education.

Background Information

The purpose of this study is to determine whether intrinsic or extrinsic strategies are better-motivating factors in increasing employee performance within a particular industry/company.

Procedures

If you agree to participate in this study; the following will be expected of you:

  1. Sign the consent form indicating that you are willing to participate in this study and that you are allowing the researcher to utilize the information you give as part of the data analysis.
  2. Give clear, concise and above all, honest answers to the individual interviewing you.
  3. Fill out all the segments of the consent form
  4. Indicate your demographic data
  5. Be interviewed by the researcher after finishing the consent form and give honest responses

Assurance of Anonymity

All information that will be obtained via this method of data gathering will be kept strictly confidential with all research participants being assured of the anonymity of their responses. None of the responses will be released with any indication that they were given by a particular individual. The results will be quantified into basic statistics to ensure that no personally identifiable information can be identified. Information gathered from respondents of the survey will be destroyed after a period of 10 years to further ensure that no personal information will be leaked in any way.

Voluntary Nature of the Study

By participating in the study “Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation in the United Arab Emirates,” you acknowledge that you do so under no duress and under no financial remunerations (i.e. being paid to participate). Should you feel uncomfortable at any time, please inform the researcher, and you will be allowed to leave.

The risk of Undertaking the Study

The study “Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation in the United Arab Emirates” has no outright risks. However, there are some long term risks that should be taken into consideration. There exists the possibility that participants in the study may face victimization or undue criticism due to the views they present which may or may not appeal to the “image” that various companies wish to portray themselves as. In order to prevent such problems from occurring, all the data will be sealed within a locked cabinet and will not be presented without ensuring that all possible methods of identification have been removed beforehand.

Contacts and Questions

Should you have any questions, you can direct your concerns to the research, and they will be happily answered.

The contact details of the researcher are indicated below.

By signing below this line, you acknowledge that you are participating voluntarily in this study.

Signature over Printed Name

Interview Questions

The following questions were created based on an assessment of the research question, the data that the researcher would need, and how pertinent they would be in terms of the participant actually being able to answer them. Also, the research questions will be divided into different sets based on the type of respondent that the researcher was able to get in contact with

Note*

The questions shown below may differ slightly from the one utilized during the interview

  • What methods of employee motivation do you currently employ within your company?
  • How have you addressed the issue of developing employee motivation within the workplace?
  • Would you say that your current motivation program is intrinsically or extrinsically oriented?
  • Would you prefer greater job satisfaction or a higher salary?
  • How has your company addressed the issue of employee “churn” rates (i.e. the number of people leaving the company compared to the amount entering) within the company?
  • In your opinion, what specific management practices are needed in order to ensure proper methods of employee motivation?
  • What is your opinion on the importance of implementing proper employee motivational strategies in order to improve the performance of the company?
  • In your opinion, what are the current limitations of your company’s employee motivation program?
  • If you had the opportunity, what changes would you implement in order to improve the current program?

Discussion and Results

Introduction

This section examines the results of the data collection process accomplished by the researcher. As such, a comparison will be created between the research data accumulated and the various facts and arguments presented within the literature review section in order to find any significant correlations between the practices explained by the studies examined and the types of processes implemented within companies in the U.A.E.

How Do Companies in the U.A.E Address the Issue of Employee Motivation?

The interview with the managers/employees revealed that various companies within the U.A.E acknowledge the fact that developing internal practices and policies is an important facet in employee motivation since, in the manager’s words, “motivation is a key success factor in any organization since it helps the employees to perform more and be more responsible and cooperative to serve the company and enables them to participate in achieving the company’s vision and mission”. The process by which the companies go about doing this is through increasing job motivation in the form of an employee excellence program, a wellness program, a performance dialogue with managers and employing methods of flexible scheduling for their employees. For example, when talking to an employee for Etisalat (the largest telecommunications company in the U.A.E), the Etisalat excellence program was started as an extrinsic strategy in the form of a reward-based incentive for employees that display a considerable level of performance in meeting the metrics established by the company. As a result, employees who are able to do so receive a cash incentive in the form of 1,000 AED being added to their salary. Various employee motivation studies note that cash-based incentives are nothing new when it comes to increasing job satisfaction since it encourages employees to work harder since their hard work is rewarded. The second method of increasing motivation that was noted is through an employee wellness program involving subsidized sporting activities by the companies in order to encourage physical activity.

Various studies on employee health and wellness clearly show that physically fit employees have a greater tendency to be more positive and perform well and, as such, the implementation of such a program is well in line with current corporate standards in increasing employee performance. The third positive reinforcement noted by the study came in the form of an intrinsic strategy which involved establishing performance dialogue training for managers. Such an intrinsic motivation strategy was shown by various studies as increasing employee motivation since it creates a nurturing environment that encourages people to share ideas and to be more relaxed at work. As a result, people become motivated to work hard since their efforts are obviously being recognized and acknowledged by those above them. This is in stark contrast to work environments where no positive reinforcement is present, and workers are treated as nothing more than numbers rather than people. In such environments, it is often the case that the motivation of workers is quite low, and employee churn rates are high. The last method of increasing employee motivation among U.A.E companies came in the form of implementing an extrinsic strategy where employees could have a more flexible schedule. Studies such as those by Böckerman & Ilmakunnas (2012) show that individuals from the present generation of employees are often interested in the following types of perks found with particular jobs:

  1. Scheduling flexibility (which allows setting the times that they work)
  2. Liberal time off policies (being able to schedule when they can get time off)
  3. The work-life balance that enables them to pursue an education and to take care of the family
  4. Emphasis on creativity rather than rigid corporate policy.

Should such aspects be present in a job, it is likely that employees would be motivated to perform better and stay longer with the company.

Comparison of U.A.E Employee Motivation Strategies with Literature Review

When comparing the methods of motivation outlined within the literature review with the practices implemented by U.A.E companies, it can be seen that the contents mirror each other in that the companies utilized all of the factors outlined within the literature review related to increasing employee motivation. Not only that, but the information from the managers/employees also affirmed the information indicated within the literature review regarding the importance of implementing facets related to motivation in talent management procedures.

Conclusion

The results of the study show that both extrinsic and intrinsic strategies are utilized in the case of companies within the U.A.E. However, based on the literature review and the interviews, it is the opinion of the researcher that extrinsic strategies would be the ideal method of employee motivation to utilize. The reason behind this is connected to the fact that reward-based strategies are simply easier to monitor, creates a set of achievable goals that employees can see and can be a good measure of individual performance within the company. Not only that, but it also creates a sense of internal competitiveness within the company that encourages people to work harder and perform better in order to become more successful.

Opportunities for further Examination

Other possible opportunities for further study along the same lines as this paper could possibly delve into a comparison of the various methods of employee motivation in different industries and how such variances could create a competitive advantage in regional markets.

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