Employee’s Satisfactions in Saudi Arabian Companies

This research proposal is presented for acceptance by the project instructor. The topic of the proposed research is Employee’s satisfaction in Saudi Arabia companies: analysis of the impact of HR policies & environments to identify the major factors that affect employee’s satisfaction. This research will be based on both primary and secondary data sources. The primary research technique proposed is the survey questionnaire which is designed to get the most out of employees about their job satisfaction and factors affecting them while working for companies based in Saudi Arabia. Human Resource is considered as the most valuable strategic asset for any company which contributes most significant input to the success of any business and in this research different attributes of the working environment and other factors affecting employees’ satisfaction levels are being assessed to draw upon a set of factors which companies need to focus on and offer the most suitable solution for their employees to increase their morale and hence improve their profitability.

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Introduction

Background of the Study

Human Resources is considered the most valuable strategic asset for any company which contributes the most significant input to the success of any business. Companies recruit, train, and assign responsibilities to individuals which are allocated to different business tasks. It is essential for staff to remain motivated and sincere in their positions and job responsibilities. Employees gain their motivation from different factors incorporated in the working environment. These factors do not just cover work-related aspects but also behavioral and social issues pertaining to the relationship between employees and management. These factors also shape up the HR policies which in fact determine the working conditions and provide employees with challenges and opportunities to seek confidence and commitment to their job positions. Keeping this point of view companies invest in different programs and devise their HR policies and procedures to ensure that to retain their valued staff and provide them ample opportunities to grow with the company. Companies also conduct periodic reviews of employee satisfaction levels which allow them to identify problems and improve their working policies for the betterment of employees and productivity of the business. However, there are different factors and processes where the problems become unmanageable. These situations are typically driven by a lack of top management backing for any such plans for meeting the demands of employees and no timely actions are taken as management may consider these surveys to reflect weakness on their side (PMcrunch, 2009).

Thus, the importance of keeping employees satisfied and retain them within the company is very crucial for all businesses, and for this study as the proposed research will attempt to implement a survey in Saudi companies to determine different facets affecting employee satisfaction level.

Problem Statement

The background provided above forms the basis for discussion in this report. Companies often invest heavily to motivate and retain their employees as with globalization workers movement has increased tremendously and desire for earlier career growth provokes job switching and poor performance in current jobs. Saudi Arabia has attracted large foreign investments and companies that employ a huge population of expatriates and even respectful numbers of local residents. However, employee satisfaction remains a concern where factors like low salaries, declining enthusiasm, proprietary setups, and cultural differences lead to lower esteem and motivation. The proposed research will assist in understanding the corporate culture that exists within Saudi companies and their HR policies which determine the levels of employee satisfaction.

Defining the research problem involves several interrelated steps which could be listed as follows:

  1. Determine the objective of the decision-maker.
  2. Highlight the background to the context.
  3. Identify and investigate the problem rather than its effects.
  4. Set the determining unit of analysis.
  5. Ascertain both dependent and independent variables.
  6. Establish the research hypothesis and state the relevant research questions.

Research Objectives

The objective of the proposed study is:

  • To evaluate the working environment in companies operating in Saudi Arabia.
  • To undertake a qualitative analysis of HR policies and procedures adopted by the management of companies in Saudi Arabia using selection criteria based on the strength of their staff.
  • To determine the major factors affecting the levels of employees’ satisfaction working in these companies.

Significance of the Research

The proposed research would investigate the policies and procedures adopted by Saudi companies for managing their human resource. Human resource management has remained an important topic of several types of research carried out previously. Results to be achieved from the proposed research will surely contribute to the study of HRM and how companies could get more out of their employees by focusing on the satisfaction they derive from their employee engagement with them. This research is comparatively different from previous researches as it will focus on companies in Saudi Arabia and will derive its conclusions by gathering responses from a wide sample population constituting of staff from different size companies. This will provide conclusive research regarding factors affecting the levels of employees’ satisfaction in companies operating in one of the conseconomiese and yet vibrant economy in the Middle East. This proposed study regarding employee satisfaction will help to identify industry standthatand suggest factors which motivate employees for higher productivity. The proposed research is of significance for the researcher as he wishes to continue his career in the human resource field and research that will be made through this research will surely help him to achieve a thorough understanding of different issues pertaining to employees’ retention and motivation and those related to their overall career satisfaction levels. Finally, users of the research will be able to extract important literature and learn from the findings and observations presented as part of the report.

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We have to keep an eye that which category of business research we are performing.

  1. Exploratory Research (Ambiguous Problem)
  2. Descriptive Research (Aware of the partially defined problem)
  3. Casual research (clearly defined problem)

Definition of Terms

The proposed research is dependent upon the following variables Independent (I) & Dependent (D).which would ascertain the achievability of the desired results.

Categorical Variables: Any variable that has a limited number of distinct values.

Researchers’ own ability and knowledge to interpret information that would be gathered for the proposed research (Agarwal, 1983). Selection of companies based on criteria suggested in the research methodology and respondents randomly picked from the email list of lower and middle-level workers (D). Time and cost of carrying out the research (Key, 1997) of the proposed research (I).

Continuous Variables: Any variable that has an infinite number of possible values.

The number of responses from different companies (D). Responses from respondents according to their own motives and intentions (Key, 1997) (I).

These variables will have an impact on the quality of research which affects the reliability and validity of the research to some extent. However, the focus of this research is to provide real and in-depth data to be collected using the most appropriate research approach and data collection technique.

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Employee’s Satisfactions in Saudi Arabian Companies
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Research Limitations

The outcome from the proposed research is aimed at determining the employees’ satisfaction level and the analysis is dependent on various variables which could be considered as limitations for the research to be carried out:

  1. A different approach and technique selected for collecting useful information from primary sources may lead to different outcomes e.g. conducting the interview can be more appropriate as it allows first-hand information.
  2. The cost of conducting the survey questionnaire could be substantial which affects the scope of the proposed study therefore all attempts are made to keep the cost of the current study to its minimum.
  3. A sample of respondents would be selected from different organizations operating in different cities in Saudi Arabia. The sample is randomly selected therefore the outcome is could be biased or misleading due to respondents’ own intentions, misunderstanding, and delays in reply which could affect the outcome of the primary research. Other factors including respondents’ job position, salary, and residence status could affect the results from primary research.
  4. Organizations selected for the research are based in three major cities of Saudi Arabia however selection of respondents from smaller economic regions of the country could have different results which could be considered as a research limitation.
  5. Secondary sources which would form an important part of the proposed research should be considered for their existing limitations. These limitations would have an impact on the outcome of the current research.
  6. Limitations regarding the researcher’s own ability to collect information and interpret it to draw conclusions are part of the ethical statement.

Research Hypothesis

The proposed research would examine the working environment offered by companies in Saudi Arabia based on the following two research hypotheses:

  • Less satisfaction leads to a high turnover ratio of employees in companies in Saudi Arabia.
  • Saudi Arabia companies provide effective and efficient training to their staff to assist them in their careers and ensure other factors related to employee satisfaction.

Research Questions

The research will attempt to answer the following questions to find supporting evidence for the research hypothesis:

  1. What attributes constitute high levels of employees’ satisfaction working in different organizations?
  2. What are the major factors that contribute to high levels of employees’ satisfaction?
  3. What are the various elements of the working environment adopted by Saudi companies that contributes towards employee satisfaction?
  4. Do Saudi companies deploy HR policies to ensure that working conditions are supportive of employee satisfaction levels?
  5. Are there any differences in HR policies and working conditions employed by different companies varying in size of staff working for them?
  6. What are the regulations laid out by the Saudi government for companies to provide employees with working conditions that eventually lead to high morale and satisfaction?
  7. Does a high level of employee satisfaction lead to better performance and achievability of high growths for Saudi companies and what further improvements can be made to increase employees’ morale and satisfaction levels?

Literature Review

Employee satisfaction is referred to as the degree to which the working conditions and environment meet the expectations of employees (Voordt, 2003). Spector (1997) identified one of the most important factors which affect employee performance that is job satisfaction which is defined as a wide spectrum of both positive and negative emotions that individuals establish and maintain about their job or job experience. Mount & Barlett (2002) and Bai et al. (2006) carried out a research report which referred to job satisfaction in a similar way. They used an approach that aimed at developing a generalizable factor model by identifying a set of facets of satisfaction to compare the overall satisfaction level. Spector (1997) laid out the most common facets of job satisfaction which include “appreciation, communication, co-workers, fringe benefits, job conditions, nature of the work itself, the organization itself, organization’s policies and procedures, pay, personal growth, promotion opportunities, recognition, security, and supervision”. In addition to these Bai et al. (2006) suggested that the focus of job satisfaction is centered on internal service quality and organizational commitment. Furthermore, Wu & Wang (2008) examined organizational justice related to pay, promotion, job assignment, and resolution of work-related issues on employees’ pay satisfaction and work attitudes. Adsit, London, Crom & Jones (1996) carried out research which established a relationship between employees attitude, companies productivity, and customer satisfaction through a survey conducted targeting employees from different companies and identified 48 employee attitude items affecting employee satisfaction levels and productivity of companies. In particular relationships with immediate and top managers, employee development programs and organizational objectives, and strategic directions.

Another important factor associated with high levels of employee satisfaction is motivation which is the key to improve work performance. Hackman & Oldham (1980) developed a psychological model of motivation and were of the opinion that job characteristics are determining factors of motivation and different aspects of the working environment contribute to overall employee satisfaction levels. They are also of the opinion that the complexity of the job should not be increased without getting employees on board and providing them sufficient training and assistance to cope with the job pressures. Bjerke et al. (2007) found that aesthetics on employee satisfaction is an extremely important motivating factor when working in the interpersonal industry. The main employee motivation factors identified are the quality of work colleagues, position, responsibility, and pleasant working environment that will eventually lead to better work performance.

Voordt (2003) identified five methods of measuring employee satisfaction levels in case of change in working conditions. These include assessing satisfaction to a particular aspect of work, associated importance employees give to these aspects, overall assessment, identifying positive and negative points, and gathering responses on whether to revert back to the original setup. The change in working conditions is therefore as crucial as any other factor which affects the level of employee satisfaction.

Relevance to Proposed Study

The above literature has great relevance to the proposed study in many ways. It provides information regarding previously completed research on similar topics. These researches not only provided a definite explanation for employee satisfaction but also identified various behavioral attributes and factors affecting employees. The role of HRM and its policies are crucial relating to the pay, job evaluation methods, promotion, job responsibility allocation, and profiling, and overall working conditions. These eventually assist employees to decide about work and the company they wish to work for. Retention and positive contribution to the company which is an outcome of high employee satisfaction level could be assessed using different evaluation techniques. The proposed research will draw from previously conducted researches to formulate a survey questionnaire with an aim to conclude upon the best possible combination of factors and policies which companies can incorporate in their working environment.

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Research Methodology

Initiating research requires planning and deciding upon the research methodology which would best suit the objectives of the research and its scope will depend on the techniques decided in the research approach. Defining the scope of research implies that the research plan sets out the sources of data that would be used to collect vital information which would eventually form the basis for the desired outcome of the research. The selected research methodology varies according to the requirements of the subject matter and various factors affect its application and outcome. There are several research methodologies that have been prescribed in previous researches carried out in the last few decades which are typically based on two paradigms namely Positivistic and Phenomenological Paradigms (Saunders et al., 2007). These paradigms have been developed to meet the specific objectives pertaining to different research fields. The positivistic paradigm involves quantitative research whereas the phenomenological paradigm relies on qualitative research. These research methodologies are continuously adopted by other researchers to achieve their desired research project aims and undertake informed decisions depending on the subject of the research work.

Research Design

For the current study, the researcher will use the phenomenological paradigm using the qualitative research approach. This approach would aim at establishing the research hypothesis and testing it through a collection of relevant data via appropriate primary and secondary sources. This approach will be based on the systematic research design where the primary source will contribute majorly to the outcome of the research. The questions used in the survey questionnaire will not only help to identify the attributes of human behavior and factors in the working environment which lead to higher employee satisfaction but also the constituents of companies’ HR policies and working conditions which they have in their set up. Results from the survey questionnaire will be collected on the basis of the size of companies that will be prescribed for this research. The secondary data will provide the theoretical aspect of the research by providing information regarding previous relevant researches and regulations by the Saudi government to ensure that employees are provided satisfactory working conditions and their basic job requirements are satisfied. Thus, the overall research design is aimed to get the most out of the research based on both primary and secondary research.

Study Population

For the proposed research the study population constitutes of Saudi companies based in the capital city Riyadh that are classified into three categories depending upon their staff size as follows:

Category 1: Three different companies will be selected having a staff of fewer than 100 employees.

Category 2: Three different companies will be selected having staff between 100-500 employees.

Category 3: Three different companies will be selected having staff above 500 employees.

Sampling Procedure

Samples will be randomly selected from the chosen companies however this has a limitation of statistical fluctuations due to variations in responses. The email list of employees will be obtained from selected companies upon written approval. The target sample population consists of lower and middle-level workers working in different departments and office locations. The email list will be bifurcated according to the job positions of respondents. This will reduce the variation risk in responses to be gathered as comparable responses will be collected from those holding the same or equal positions in different departments or different organizations. The aim of sample selection remains to provide a comprehensive view of employees’ satisfaction working in different organizations. From the prescribed study population samples will be randomly selected from the Saudi companies classified into three categories as follows:

Category 1: Fifty (50) employees will be randomly selected from this category of companies to gather primary data. All efforts will be made to target selected hierarchal levels and the distribution of employees within different business units and offices of selected companies.

Category 2: Two Hundred (200) employees will be randomly selected from this category of companies to gather primary data. All efforts will be made to target selected levels and the distribution of employees within different business units and offices of selected companies.

Category 3: Four Hundred (400) will be randomly selected from this category of companies to gather primary data. All efforts will be made to target selected levels and the distribution of employees within different business units and offices of selected companies.

Instrumentation

The primary source selected for this research will be a survey questionnaire (Bradburn et al., 2004) which will be designed using different questionnaire development techniques so that maximum responses are gained and allow testing out the research hypothesis in addition to the supportive literature and data collected from the secondary sources. The survey questionnaire will be drafted and tested on a smaller group before sending it to the larger population. The researcher must decide how much structure or standardization is needed. The researcher must also decide whether undisguised or disguised questions will be utilized. Research questions are mentioned above in chapter 1 under “Structure of report”

Scale Validity and Reliability

The survey questionnaire will be sent to employees of different companies and will provide the opportunity to reply to different questions aimed at collecting first-hand and reliable information regarding employees’ motivation and satisfaction levels and factors affecting them. This will be tested at the test phase by confirming the questionnaire response to the employee whose name is on the form.

Data Collection Procedures

Primary research as previously mentioned would be carried out by a survey questionnaire comprising of different questions. However, secondary sources will be extensively used for the literature review and secondary findings regarding HRM policies and regulations that companies are required to or already have implemented in their setup. Data can be collected by different means like e-mails, phone calls, fax, and meetings, etc.

Data Analysis

The data that will be collected through primary research will be analyzed and presented in the report to determine the factors affecting employee satisfaction and elements of HR policies that eventually shape up the working environment in Saudi companies. After collecting all data one has to analyze that data is accurate and filling our needs for the project. For example, if we are collecting it for some specific projects then we have to analyze that it is fulfilling the requirements of that specific job.

Ethics Statement

It is hereby declared that the current research would be carried out only after the approval and acceptance of the instructor. All information that would be part of this study would be used to ensure that issues of copyright and plagiarism are fully covered and avoided. The participants for this research would only be approached only after written permission from the instructor is obtained and all attempts will be made to ensure that no personal information is disclosed without participants’ consent. It is also clear from the outset that the current research study is not intended to be exhaustive. While the researcher shall take utmost care to prepare this report, it should not be in any way relied upon as a basis for formulating any type of decision. This research report would be distributed subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated on a commercial basis without the consent of both researcher and the instructor.

References

  1. Adsit, D. J., London, M., Crom, S. & Jones, D. (1996). Relationships between employee attitudes, customer satisfaction and departmental performance. Journal of Management Development , 62-75.
  2. Agarwal, R. D. (1983). Organization and Management. New Dehli: Tata Mc-Graw Hill.
  3. Bai, B., Brewer, P. K., Sammons, G. & Swerdlow, S. (2006). Job satisfaction,. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism , 37-54.
  4. Becker, B. E. & Ulrich, D. (2001). Making HR a strategic asset. New Jersey: Rutgers.
  5. Bjerke, R., Ind, N. & Paoli, D. (2007). The impact of aesthetics on employee satisfaction and motivation. Euro Med Journal of Business , 57-73.
  6. Bradburn, N., Sudman, S. & Wansink, B. (2004) Asking Questions: The Definitive Guide to Questionnaire Design — For Market Research, Political Polls, and Social and Health Questionnaires. Jossey-Bass
  7. Hackman, J. R. & Oldham, G. R. (2003). Why Work? In D. C. Staff, & C. Doyle, Work and Organizational Psychology (p. 96). New York: Psychology Press.
  8. Key, J. P. (1997). Qualitative Research.
  9. Mount, D. J. & Bartlett, B. A. (2002). Development of job satisfaction factor model for the lodging industry. Journal of Human Resouces in Hospitality & Tourism , 17-39.
  10. PMcrunch. (2009). Monitoring Employee Satisfaction – The Advantages, Considerations and Risks.
  11. Saunders et. al, M. (2007). Research methods for business students. Essex: Pearson Education.
  12. Spector, P. E. (1997). Job satisfaction application, assessment, causes and consequences. California: Sage Publication, Inc.
  13. Voordt, T. J. (2003). Productivity and employee satisfaction in flexible workplaces. Journal of Corporate Real Estate , 133-148.
  14. Wu, X. & Wang, C. (2008). The impact of organizational justice on employees’ pay satisfaction, work attitudes and performance in Chinese hotels. Journal of Human Resouces in Hospitality & Tourism , 181-195.

Participation Information Sheet

Dear Respondents,

You are hereby invited to complete a survey questionnaire which is being carried out as a part of my Masters dissertation. Please find important information related to the survey questionnaire.

Objective

The objective of the current research is to determine factors which affect employee satisfaction levels in organizations operating in Saudi Arabia.

In relation to the research objective the purpose of the survey questionnaire is to gather responses from the participants regarding their work experiences and HR policies of their organizations in order to ascertain levels of work satisfaction and attributes of working environment which influence employees behaviour.

Sponsor

The research is sponsored by the researcher himself.

Responses

The questions are divided into three groups 1) Demographic 2) Questions based Likert Scale & 3) Descriptive. All participants are required to answer all questions.

Time Required

Completion of a survey questionnaire is approximated to take 15 minutes of your precious time.

Participation

The purpose of the research is purely academic and your participation is highly appreciated. However, it is to be clear here that this is only voluntary participation without any obligation whatsoever.

Confidentiality

It is hereby undertaken by the researcher that no information whatsoever collected by means of the survey questionnaire will not be used in anyway by the researcher for any other purpose. At all times confidentiality will be maintained and no information will be shared with any third party.

Right to Withdraw

If the participant wishes to withdraw her response to the survey questionnaire at any time she could do so by informing the researcher. Therefore, the researcher hereby agrees unconditionally to remove the respondent’s data from the database and will not use any information thereafter.

Ethics Statement

It is hereby declared that the current research would be carried out only after the approval and acceptance of the instructor. All information that would be part of this study would be used to ensure that issues of copyright and plagiarism are fully covered and avoided. The participants for this research would only be approached only after written permission from the instructor is obtained and all attempts will be made to ensure that no personal information is disclosed without participants’ consent. It is also clear from the outset that the current research study is not intended to be exhaustive. While the researcher shall take utmost care to prepare this report, it should not be in anyway relied upon as a basis for formulating any type of decision. This research report would be distributed subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated on a commercial basis without the consent of both researcher and the instructor.

Survey Questionnaire

Name of Employee (if you do wish to disclose please leave it empty)

____________________________________

Age

Under 21……………………………………………..

21 to 34……………………………………………….

35 to 44……………………………………………….

45 to 54……………………………………………….

54 and older…………………………………………

Sex

Male 

Female 

Marital Status

Unmarried 

Married 

Name of Company (if you do wish to disclose please leave it empty)

____________________________________

Number of years with your current employer

Less than one year………………………………..

One year to less than two years………………

Two years to less than five years…………….

Five years to less than ten years……………..

Ten years or more…………………………………

Job Status

Permanent / Full Time 

Part Time / Contractual 

Size of Firm

Less than 100 Employees 

Between 100-500 Employees 

More than 500 Employees 

Annual Salary

Less than SR 20,000 

SR 20,000 to SR 50,000 

SR 50,000 to SR 150,000 

SR 150,000 to less than SR 400,000 

SR 400,000 or more 

Job Location

Head Office 

Branch Office 

Department

Accounting 

Finance 

Engineering 

Consulting 

Human Resource 

Marketing 

Overall, how satisfied are you with your employer?

Very Dissatisfied  – Very Satisfied

1 2 3 4 5

The following questions are aimed at gathering your feeling about each of the following matters

Your company’s communication and planning (Please circle one number for each statement)

Disagree Agree – Strongly Strongly

You understand objectives and target markets of your company 1 2 3 4 5

You understand the long-term strategy of your company 1 2 3 4 5

You contribute to the planning 1 2 3 4 5

You are fully aware of your job responsibilities 1 2 3 4 5

You have confidence in the leadership of your company 1 2 3 4 5

Your role at your company (Please circle one number for each statement)

Disagree Agree – Strongly Strongly

You are given enough authority to make decisions you need to make 1 2 3 4 5

You like the type of work that I do 1 2 3 4 5

You believe my job is secure 1 2 3 4 5

You receive appreciation for your work 1 2 3 4 5

You have the opportunity to more responsible positions 1 2 3 4 5

You have good relations with peers 1 2 3 4 5

You have good relations with your immediate supervisor 1 2 3 4 5

You see yourself having long term relation with your employer 1 2 3 4 5

Corporate culture (Please circle one number for each statement)

Disagree Agree – Strongly Strongly

Your company’s corporate communications are frequent enough 1 2 3 4 5

Your company promotes corporate culture 1 2 3 4 5

Your company’s culture is open for new ideas 1 2 3 4 5

You contribute to building a corporate culture in your your company 1 2 3 4 5

Your feel as a part of a corporate team 1 2 3 4 5

You believe there is a spirit of cooperation at your company 1 2 3 4 5

Your relations with your immediate supervisor (Please circle one number for each statement)

Disagree Agree – Strongly Strongly

My supervisor treats me fairly 1 2 3 4 5

My supervisors assist me in difficult situations 1 2 3 4 5

My supervisor communicates clearly my responsibilities 1 2 3 4 5

My supervisor carries out performance appraisal fairly 1 2 3 4 5

My supervisor encourages high achievement by reducing 1 2 3 4 5 the fear of failure

My supervisor takes responsibility of shaping up the 1 2 3 4 5

Attitude and behaviour within the department

My supervisor asks me for my input to help make decisions 1 2 3 4 5

Your employer’s training program (Please circle one number for each statement)

Disagree Agree – Strongly Strongly

Your employer provided as much initial training as I needed 1 2 3 4 5

Your employer regularly conducts training session 1 2 3 4 5

Training opportunities are unfairly allocated across employees or business units 1 2 3 4 5

Pay and Benefits (Please circle one number for each statement)

Disagree Agree – Strongly Strongly

Your salary is fair for your responsibilities 1 2 3 4 5

Your bonus is fair for your responsibilities 1 2 3 4 5

Specifically, I’m satisfied with the: Strongly Strongly

Overseas opportunities your employer offers 1 2 3 4 5

Annual Leave 1 2 3 4 5

Maternity Leave 1 2 3 4 5

Pension Plans 1 2 3 4 5

Medical Coverage your employer offers 1 2 3 4 5

Family Support Programs your employer offers 1 2 3 4 5

Are there any benefits you would like added to benefits package?

Yes 

No 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What can your employer to increase your satisfaction as an employee?

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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