Motivation and Job Satisfaction: ADNOC Company’s Case

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Although the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has been known for its outstanding performance, recent job cuts suggest that the current talent management approach adopted by the company’s HR managers needs reconsideration.


A review of the past and present-day motivation theories along with the frameworks for promoting change in the workplace has been carried out to identify the tools for managing the problem.


The paper is aimed at locating the talent management approaches that can be applied in the environment that lacks sustainability.

Introduction: The UAE Economic Environment and the Emergent Issues


The economic environment of the UAE has been getting increasingly competitive recently. With the oil industry being the leading economic domain that has been explored extensively and serving as the main source of the state’s GDP, the target market can be considered as rather well developed and evolving at a very fast pace. Nevertheless, the companies operating in the designated area may need a change in the HRM strategies adopted, particularly, the talent management approach.

Although there technically is no monopoly on oil and gas production in the Abu Dhabi oil industry, the latter is headed by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). ADNOC has been operating in the environment of the Abu Dhabi state economy since 1971, only suffering a minor restructuring in 1988 (ADNOC par. 2).

Casting a single look at some of the competitive advantages of the organization is enough to understand how it managed to gain the position of leader in the oil industry. As the SWOT analysis provided below shows, the entrepreneurship has a variety of advantages that make it quite compatible in the context of the UAE oil market.

Table 1. ADNOC SWOT Analysis.

  • The company is extensively supported by the UAE government.
  • The organization operates on a global scale.
  • The firm accounts for 50% of the production processes in the UAE oil industry.
  • ADNOC owns 36% of the state’s refining capacity.
  • Lack of sustainability in the approach toward resources management
  • Lack of consistency in defining the company’s waste management approach
  • Expansion into the global market and attracting an increasingly large number of customers
  • Building important ties with the global organizations so that quality could be promoted across the company
  • Creation of premises for consistent improvement of quality standards and, therefore, gaining an impressive competitive advantage
  • Possible lack of competitive staff due to the recent job cuts
  • Possible reduction in the product’s quality and performance rates due to recent job cuts
  • Drop in the staff’s motivation level and the following reduction in their efficacy

As the SWOT analysis and the subsequent evaluation of the tools used by the company to support its staff members have shown, the organization is likely to experience a rather drastic change in the staff’s motivation rates in the near future. Furthermore, the foundation for the oncoming challenges has been set in a very evident manner. Therefore, the current HR strategies, in general, and the talent management approach, in particular, will have to be reconsidered.


There is no need to stress that the job cuts made by the entrepreneurship should be viewed as a necessary evil for ADNOC at present since the company has been suffering rather drastic changes and therefore needs to consider the necessary tools for reducing its expenses. Nevertheless, the threat of facing a job cut is highly likely to leave a negative impact on the staff members. Feeling insecure and undervalued because of the threat of being dismissed, the employees will most certainly demonstrate desperately low levels of engagement and motivation.

While seemingly small in light of the challenges ahead of ADNOC, the identified problem is likely to leave a tangible impact on the number of customers and the current position of the entrepreneurship in the UAE market as well as the global economy. In other words, there is a strong need for the firm to introduce a set of measures aimed at increasing job motivation rates among the members and promoting enthusiasm and initiative as the essential qualities. A strategy for enhancing employees’ motivation must be provided so that the company can experience growth even in conditions that can be described as far from favorable. As a result, ADNOC will be able to secure its position as the leader in the UAE oil industry and as the unsurpassed, superior company.


  1. What talent management techniques can be adopted in the organization to improve the current motivation rates among the employees?
  2. How can be the issue regarding the staff panicking about job cuts be addressed so that the participants can deliver positive performance results and stop being overly concerned about the dismissal issues?


It is assumed that a closer focus on the needs of the staff members will create prerequisites for the organization to survive in the future. Particularly, the creation of a benefits package that will create a more favorable environment for the employee to work in as well as guarantee that the staff members are valued by the company must be viewed as a necessity. While the company offers a large variety of benefits, including those for parents, such as options for sick leave, health insurance, employee training courses, etc., the options are rather standard and therefore do not allow for singling the company out as something extraordinary.

The firm needs to suggest the tools for helping the staff members develop lifelong learning skills and make sure that the staff will have access to necessary resources, not only throughout their career at ADNOC but also during their entire life.

In addition, a reconsideration of the current approach toward the allocation of the firm’s resources must be considered a necessary step to take. In light of the fact that the company needs to cut its current expenses, it may be suggested that the entrepreneurship might use some of its resources and assets in a manner that needs improvement. Particularly, it is assumed that the lack of sustainability as the foundation for the company’s HRM framework can be viewed as the primary source of the recent problems.

Therefore, the promotion of the principles of waste reduction can be suggested. In particular, the principles of sustainability must be advocated for with the help of the Six Sigma tools, especially the DMAIC framework as the foundation for reducing the amount of waste produced and increasing the profitability of the organization.

Last but definitely not least, a redesign of the firm’s current values and a shift toward the recognition of the needs of all stakeholders must be interpreted as the primary step to make. Additionally, ADNOC should consider building the principles of networking as the foundation for the improvement of their current motivation rates and therefore their performance level.

Literature Review: Motivation as the Means of Improving the Company’s Operations

Motivation Techniques and Models: Effects of Employees’ Enthusiasm Levels

Past Theories

Maslow’s Theory

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is perhaps one of the most famous theories addressing the issue of motivation. According to Maslow, there are five primary needs that every individual experience. These include physiological needs (i.e., the basic ones), the need for safety, the need for love and belonging, the need for retaining high self-esteem, and the need for self-actualization (i.e., excelling in a specific domain and attaining public acclaim).

Theory X – Theory Y

Suggested by D. McGregor, the framework in question implies that an employee has pessimistic (Theory X) and optimistic (Theory Y) expectations about a particular type of work. Therefore, an employer must navigate between the soft and a more rigid motivation strategy so that the staff members can maintain a high enthusiasm level.

Hygiene Theory

The Hygiene Theory suggests that the workplace environment can be identified as a set of factors that either encourage or inhibit motivation among the staff members. In addition, there are factors that do not contribute to an increase in motivation, yet their removal will inevitably cause dissatisfaction of the staff members (e.g., certain benefits such as a sick leave option) (Napolitano 27).

Recent Theories

Equity Theory

Based on the principles of equality as the basis for creating a viable workplace environment, the theory under analysis implies that incentives should be distributed among employees based on their performance in the workplace, yet a benefits package with the corresponding options should be provided to every single staff member. In other words, the theory promotes fairness in benefits and incentives distribution among the employees.

Expectancy Theory

According to the theoretical framework mentioned above, to make the staff members act in a specific way, the company managers should make it clear that the identified behavioral patterns are going to be rewarded.

Goal Setting Theory

The philosophy suggests that the clearer the goals are detailed, the more efficiently the staff members work. While seemingly sensible, this can be viewed as self-explanatory and maybe insufficient when used on its own.

Three Needs Theory

According to the tenets of the theory, people working in a company are typically motivated by three types of needs: the needs for achievement, affiliation, and power. In other words, people have to develop personally, communicate, and gain influence in the environment that they work in.

Reinforcement Theory

According to the principal foundations of the theory, the staff members can be encouraged by being provided with either positive or negative reinforcement. Though the former is typically preferred, the latter is also used quite often as the means of creating a set of more rigid quality standards (Mosley, Mosley, and Pietri 201).

Group and Team Behavior: Applying the Tools That Enhance Networking

Seeing that the success of data transfer defines the performance of entrepreneurship in the context of the global economy, it is essential to make sure that a team is capable of cooperating and networking in the target environment. At this point, two essential aspects of the subject matter should be mentioned. First, the extent to which the staff members are ready to cooperate needs to be brought up. Next, the use of the tools that facilitate a faster and more efficient process of data transfer must be mentioned. The combination of the two factors determines the outcomes of a company’s operations.

In other words, it is essential that an internal networking system should be designed for the needs of the staff members and a more efficient transfer of the information. As soon as the employees have access to the environment, in which data flows uninterruptedly and is not distorted in the process, the participants are likely to be eager to excel in their performance. Moreover, the network will serve as the basis for the staff to develop their communication and negotiation skills, not to mention the opportunity for practicing data transfer in the virtual environment.

Strategies: Corporate Philosophy

In order to design the system that will encourage efficient networking processes among the staff members, one will need to adopt not only a new framework but also an entirely new philosophy for the HR managers and the company to follow. Particularly, ADNOC will have to build the concept of cooperation as the basis for successful performance and the decision-making process in the context of the company. At this point, the significance of the transformational leadership model as the means of encouraging the employees to accept new standards of operations should be brought up.

Similarly, the Six Sigma framework is known as DMAIC (Design, Measure, Analyze, Implement, Control) (Pyzdek and Keller 112) should be accepted as the tool for promoting the change in the corporate environment. As soon as the employees realize the significance and the weight of the newly adopted framework, they will be able to accept the concept of cooperation and will be ready to acquire the skills related to the principal networking processes. Put differently, it will be crucial to redesign ADNOC’s corporate philosophy so that the idea of cooperation and information sharing should be at the top of the priorities list along with customer satisfaction and honesty in decision making.

Strategies: Training Courses

There is no need to stress the fact that hiring new staff members and dismissing others for no other reason but the lack of the corresponding skill might seem somewhat drastic in the context of the present-day environment. Indeed, as it has been stressed above, ADNOC has already been suspected of dirty HRM approaches, and the last thing that the company needs now is another accusation on its commercial record. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on teaching the current staff about the principal concepts of networking in the oil industry environment.

It is recommended that the training courses should focus on two primary aspects of the subject matter. First and most obviously, the communication skills must be developed among the participants; as a result, the employees will be able to focus on the fast acquisition, efficient analysis, and accurate transfer of the data. Another essential aspect of networking concerns informational security. Cybercrimes remain an infamously big part of the specifics of online interactions, and increasing awareness levels on the subject matter is a crucial step toward securing both the company’s and the employees’ private data.

In addition, it is especially important to make sure that the process of networking should extend to the area of communicating with competitors. Despite the presumable enmity between the companies operating in the environment of the oil industry, creating prerequisites for successful communication and the design of the negotiation strategies that will serve to avoid future conflicts is a necessity. After all, a recent interview with one of the representatives of the industry, Matt Gelotti, Senior VP, Aon Client Development Group & Director, YPE, has shown that networking allows for building stronger relationships with the companies operating in the same environment, therefore reducing the risks of being ousted from the market:

This industry is a people business and you have to have a strong network. While it’s great to have a network within your specific field, having a healthy network outside of your sector is equally important. It’s good to network with your competition and forge relationships with them as well. (Jones par. 6)

Therefore, the adoption of a training course that will help the employees acquire the necessary communication skills is imperative. Unless the employees recognize the company’s attempts at creating an environment that is favorable for their further professional and personal growth, a rapid drop in motivation and the following negative performance results can be expected. Therefore, ADNOC must make sure that the participants feel valued in the company. Thus, the staff members will be able to focus on delivering good performance.

Analysis and Discussion: Effects of Motivation Improvement Strategies at ADNOC

A recent analysis of the company’s performance has shown that entrepreneurship has been experiencing significant changes (Suliman and Al-Hosani 27). Particularly, the transfer to a different leadership strategy, and the focus on talent management as the primary means of enhancing the quality of the company’s performance need to be mentioned.

Indeed, a closer look at the options that the employees of ADNOC have cannot be deemed as lacking in thought or consideration; on the contrary, the benefits package seems rather sensible. It could be argued that the current set of options for the staff members to enjoy could be extended to a certain degree; however, the number of opportunities that the entrepreneurship suggests is rather big and therefore should not be viewed as the primary source of concern.

The communication issue, on the contrary, clearly is one of the problems. Despite the fact that the recent cuts in the number of jobs seemingly have little to do with the information transfer within the company, the two factors are linked closely to each other. By failing to create decent premises for the employees to converse efficiently with each other and transfer information about the products, the key processes, etc., ADNOC has designed the prerequisites for its gradual demise.

In other words, the drop in the communication efficacy leads to two essential problems: a drop in quality due to data misrepresentation and the failure of the staff members to create a communication channel to transfer crucial information to each other. The latter triggers a more global concern regarding the possible loss of communication skills among the staff members.

Consequently, the introduction of an efficient networking framework must be deemed as the first step toward improving the motivation rates among the employees. In fact, the application of new tools that will create the environment for the staff and managers to converse in will also trigger a rapid improvement in motivation because of the enhancement of staff’s feedback processing. As stressed above, the current benefits package could use a significant improvement; more importantly, the employees may have unique needs that have snuck under the radar of the company’s HR department. As a result, the design of the network, in which the further acquisition, analysis, and usage of data will become part and parcel of the daily routine, must be provided.

Equity Theory

The focus on giving each staff member an opportunity to receive a benefits package that will meet their needs, including the options for sick leave, opportunities for married couples, etc., can be viewed as a significant improvement in the design of the company’s HRM strategy from the perspective of the Equity Theory discussed above. Indeed, by focusing on the needs of every stakeholder involved, ADNOC managers will create an environment in which one of the employees will bear a grudge against the company due to the infringement of their rights. On the contrary, the prerequisites for an increase in employee satisfaction rates can be expected within a relatively short amount of time.

Expectancy Theory

In addition, the promotion of networking and the subsequent enhancement of the communication process should also be analyzed from the tenets of the Expectancy Theory identified above. Indeed, by detailing the expected behavioral patterns to the employees and specifying that they will receive a reward, including both public praise and financial incentives, in case of following the model, the ADNOC managers are very likely to see a rapid and significant increase in the enthusiasm rates among the staff members. As soon as the employees realize that there is a direct link between their focus on the networking process and the retrieval of the corresponding awards and incentives, the networking processes will definitely be enhanced.

Three Needs Theory

From the perspective of the Three Needs Theory, the process of promoting the significance of networking can be directed into the development of three essential ideas. For the people who are focused on personal and professional development and value achievement, the opportunities for further professional development need to be described. The emphasis on the lifelong learning process, which will be launched at the start of the training session, should be used as the key means of attracting the target audience and inviting them to explore the emergent opportunities. Seeing that networking includes experience sharing, especially with the representatives of other companies, the employees that are focused on the achievement-related aspects of the strategy are most likely to become enthusiastic about the future prospects.

The people with the need for affiliation may not even require active encouragement in becoming involved in the networking process. Enthralled with the opportunities for communicating with others, they must become active supporters of the program and the change that ADNOC will experience; therefore, they should be viewed as the core support thereof.

As far as the people with the need for power are concerned, the networking tools should be introduced to them as the means of maintaining an overview of the essential communication-related processes and the options for supervising the latter.

By following the strategies mentioned above, one is likely to convince the employees of ADNOC to transfer to the networking environment. As a result, the information management process will be improved significantly along with the motivation rates. The levels of engagement are bound to increase as soon as the staff members recognize the significance that the innovations have on their personal and professional lives. By catering to the needs of individual employees, ADNOC will be able to promote higher engagement rates.

Claiming that the application of the motivation strategies mentioned above will heal the company magically and will lead to an immediate improvement in its operations would be quite a stretch. Indeed, in light of the recent HRM strategy that the firm shifted to and the subsequent dismissal of a number of employees, it is highly unlikely that the new ethical framework and corporate values will be welcomed with open arms. On the contrary, it will be quite natural if the staff members take the innovations with a grain of salt. Therefore, ADNOC managers will have to be as friendly and inviting as possible, making sure that the target audience feels inclined to participate.

Goal Setting Theory

Another framework mentioned previously, the identified concept can be viewed as an essential tool for empowering the employees to deliver a better and a more successful performance. The significance of its application concerns the development of the ability to apply the corporate values as the essential principles in the process of decision making. It is expected that the promotion of the changes listed above will help delineate the crucial principles that ADNOC is governed by as well as convince the employees to follow these postulates when making choices related to the organization and the processes occurring in it.

Claiming that ADNOC managers have problems with setting the goals would be unfair; the entrepreneurship has been showing perfect performance rates owing to the efforts made by its staff. However, in the environment of uncertainty that mass dismissals have created in the company, reminding the employees about the essential goals that they will have to complete will be the first step toward maintaining order.


Therefore, the process of increasing staff motivation by creating a network in which the target audience will be able to develop their communication and cooperation skills should be viewed from the tenets of several theories simultaneously. As soon as every factor mentioned above is taken into account, it will be possible to create the environment in which the participants will be capable of exploring their options and choosing the suitable reasons for entering the training program as well as accepting the changes in the principles that ADNOC is governed with.

The current principles of talent management that the organization follows can be defined as rather basic. While they cannot be defined as poorly put together, they lack the focus on the unique properties of the participants that good companies always have in mind. Moreover, the recent policy of staff dismissal has planted the seeds of uncertainty in the lives of the people working for the organization, hence a rapid drop in motivation rates. By stressing the fact that it strives to meet the needs of every individual working for the firm, ADNOC managers and leaders will be able to calm down the surge of panic that has spread across the company.

Conclusion and Recommendations: What the Entrepreneurship Should Consider Next

It is suggested that ADNOC should consider the promotion of employee-focused and customer-focused policies. While meeting the demands of clients is essential, catering to the needs of the staff is also crucial as ADNOC needs to invest in its personnel. Thus, a different talent management approach is imperative in the context of the global economy.

By redirecting its efforts to increase the motivation levels among the staff members, the company will attain significant success. As long as the company members feel safe about their professional growth, as well as the place where they take in the corporate hierarchy, they will be able to deliver a performance of the finest quality. As a result, ADNOC will be able to acquire new resources that it may use as the means of boosting its growth in the environment of the global economy.

By incorporating the principles of sustainability into its operations and distributing the available resources in accordance with the degree to which they are needed in a specific department, prerequisites for advancing in the global market can be created. Particularly, ADNOC should focus on creating the framework for staff training and the design of a sustainable use of resources based on the principles of waste reduction suggested by the Six Sigma framework. Moreover, it will be necessary to reconsider the current set of corporate values, including the ethical foundation for the decision-making process. The identified steps will create the environment in which the organization will be able to thrive by promoting the self-directed learning principles among the staff members.

Keeping the focus on self-motivated learning and independent acquisition of the necessary skills, especially the ones related to successful communication processes, is an important idea that needs to be incorporated into the framework of any company’s HRM strategy. As soon as the employees recognize the need to educate themselves on the issues related to their field of competency, an organization will have a team of confident individuals with a focus on self-directed learning; consequently, a rapid improvement in the overall design of manager–employee relationships in the firm can be expected, which is especially important for ADNOC in a time of crisis.

Works Cited

ADNOC. About ADNOC. 2016. Web.

Jones, Valerie. The Oil, Gas Guide to Networking: Young Professionals. 2015. Web.

Mosley, David C., Mosley, David C. Jr., and Pietri, Paul H. Supervisory Management. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.

Napolitano, Giovanni. Motivation in the Workplace: A Procter and Gamble Case Study. New York, NY: Babelcube, Inc., 2014. Print.

Pyzdek, Thomas, and Paul Keller. The Six Sigma Handbook. 4th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill., 2014. Print.

Suliman, Ali, and Abdul A. Al-Hosani.” Job Satisfaction and Knowledge Sharing: The Case of the UAE.” Issues in Business Management and Economics 2.2 (2014): 24-33. Print.

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