The Emirates Group’s Employee Motivation Theories


This paper explores employee motivation provided by the Emirates Group, Dubai-based airlines. To elaborate on essential grounds for the research, the theoretical context was thoroughly analyzed and presented, focusing on early and contemporary theories of motivation. Such theories as self-determination, equity, two-factor, and a range of others were enumerated. The literature review methodology was selected as a method of investigation. It should be noted that the literature review involved scholarly sources as well as information that was taken from the company’s official website. In the course of the research, it was discovered that Emirates Airlines employs various motivation strategies. Precisely speaking, the main focus of the company is equity theory that ensures appropriate management of diverse workplaces. Such an approach creates comfortable working conditions, friendly relationships between employees, and meets their expectations. At the same time, the company utilizes the flexible system of remuneration, offering bonuses and additional payment for superior performance.

Continuous training and education are also highly valued by the company as it helps to create a sense of meaningfulness and professional growth and achieve promotions. All in all, the Emirates Group takes into account plenty of motivation strategies, using a comprehensive approach. Nonetheless, several recommendations that are based on the current challenges and opportunities were suggested to enhance the company’s organizational behavior. In particular, it was strongly recommended to maintain the present motivation incentives and pay attention to the remuneration system, offering more options for employees. Ultimately, it was assumed that continuous analysis of the current situation and corresponding improvement of motivation strategies are likely to keep employees motivation high, thus contributing to the enhanced level of the organization’s performance. Thus, the core issues related to the role of motivation in the Emirates Group as well as the ways to engage employees were identified.


Nowadays human resource management plays an integral role in the successful operation of an organization. It is widely accepted that organizational behavior (OB) concepts and techniques need to be properly implemented in the everyday activities of a company. There is an evident need to promote employees’ engagement, thus enhancing the overall performance of an organization. In this regard, the core objective of this paper is to discover the employees’ motivation at the Emirates Group. To achieve the mentioned objective, secondary data will be accurately selected and analyzed. Along with theoretical context, the paper will involve the overview of the organization, its mission, assessment of motivation strategies utilized in the company, and other related information. After that, it is expected to provide discussion supported by arguments as well as the subsequent recommendations and conclusion.

Theoretical Framework and Topic Statement

Motivation is a concept that impacts the way employees operate. Robbins states that motivation is “the process that accounts for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort towards attaining a goal” (203). In other words, motivation can be measured in terms of the three elements: direction, intensity, and persistence. Several early theories of motivation were developed to explain the role of motivation. For instance, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory focuses on the five needs the satisfaction of which is necessary to achieve effective management. In particular, self-actualization, esteem, social, safety, and psychological needs are essential in the enumerated order. Another theory worth turning one’s attention is the two-factor theory that proposes the significance of an employee’s attitude to his or her work (Robbins 205). The motivating factors such as success, career opportunities, and recognition along with hygienic factors, including working environment, safety, and leadership compose this theory. It can be applied to the workplace by appreciating and supporting the efforts made by employees. It is also critical to provide timely feedback and make sure that staff members understand the key mission and vision of an organization.

The contemporary theories of motivation proved to be more effective and are supported by relevant documentation. For example, self-determination theory reveals the importance of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, pointing out that the first one is more valuable. The goal-setting theory explains the extent to which employee engagement is meaningful to motivation (Pinder 34). The more an employee believes in the usefulness of his or her work, the more motivation he or she receives. Setting specific goals, an employer promotes the achievement of individual goals, thus gaining the overall success in an organization. To implement this theory, management by objectives (MBO) was developed to evaluate the achievements of goals. Another theory that is quite relevant to the modern world is equity theory that is also known as organizational justice. Robbins argues that “employees perceive what they get from a job situation (salary, recognition) about what they put into it (effort, experience, education, competence), and then they compare their outcome–input ratio with that of relevant others” (220). The perceived degree of fairness that can be interactional, procedural, or distributive identifies the level of motivation. Integrating the contemporary theories of motivation, it is possible to note that each of them has potential power and can be applied, depending on a certain situation.

Along with the theories of motivation, a variety of concepts is also to be emphasized. In particular, it is possible to note involvement that implies a strong commitment to an organization’s productivity. Such involvement programs as representative participation or participative management focus on issues that are relevant to employees (Gagne 71). At the same time, both physical and social contexts of work are vital because they contribute to intrinsic motivation. Several characteristics, including job design, empowerment, equipment, social relationships, and so on determine the level of employees’ satisfaction (Pinder 56). The reward system accepted in an organization is compared to those of the market and thus affects employees’ motivation. Meanwhile, a range of types of variable-pay programs such as piece-rate pay (fixed salary), merit-based pay (payment for performance assessment ratings), skill-based pay, profit-sharing plan, various bonuses, etc. are used to motivate and engage employees.

Considering the presented theoretical framework and the chosen organization, the following research questions can be formulated:

RQ 1: How employees’ motivation helps the Emirates Groups?

RQ 2: How to get employees engaged?


To answer the above questions, the literature review will be used. Some sources will be analyzed to identify relevant issues associated with the Emirates Group. The systematic literature review will allow detecting and integrating these issues into the theoretical context, thus leading to the subsequent recommendations.


The Emirates Group that is also known as Emirates Airlines is an international company based in Dubai, UAE. The company endeavors to keep the motivation of employees high by employing various strategies. In particular, attention is paid to employee benefits such as competitive remuneration, bonuses, leave tickets, continuous training, and so on. At this point, the company strives to establish appropriate relationships between the organization and employees. It is stated that recognition and appreciation are the two pillars that ensure an advantageous working environment that is of great importance within the Emirates Group.

Among some other motivation stimuli, there are such incentives as promotions, workplace conditions, education, and equity. Considering that the Emirates Group offers equal job opportunities for people from different cultures, it promotes equity at work. A comfortable environment is achieved through the creation of culturally diverse organizations. The company is the workplace for more than 160 nationalities all over the globe each of which introduces a set of innovative ideas and solutions (The Emirates Group). Every employee is treated equally and with respect. This concerns all the processes that are performed in the company, involving recruiting, promotion, development, etc. regardless of employees’ sex, culture, and religion.

Teamwork encouragement is one of the most leading motivation strategies at the Emirates Group. The fact that it is a UAE-based company determines the specifics of work orientation. In particular, being society-oriented culture focuses on collaboration and teamwork rather than individual achievements. The talent development approach is widely accepted at the Emirates Group. Such a multi-cultural team provides essential grounds for the provision of high-quality services and success to the customers.


Because of the above observations, it becomes evident that the Emirates Group utilizes a comprehensive approach to employee motivation. The three key elements that compose effective motivation are used by company management. First, the direction is specified by clear goals set before each of the employees. Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors are involved to motivate staff members in terms of the goal-setting theory. For example, the inner intention to be a part of the team and contribute to the overall success as well as a range of bonuses and promotions are employed by Emirates Airlines. Second, the intensity with which motivation is created can be evaluated as sufficient and high to meet the desired outcomes. Third, the duration element is also taken into account and focused on continuous motivation. For instance, a keen novice who starts working for the company is usually motivated by an appropriate environment and a flexible reward system. After a while, the same employee can discover that training and opportunity of promotion become important for him or her, thus illustrating that the company ensures various types of motivation.

It is possible to note that the two-factor theory that integrates motivating and hygienic factors is used in the company as well. The implementation and maintenance of such aspects as career opportunities and a safe working environment ensure organizational performance excellence (Bamber 32). At the same time, it can be stressed that employees of Emirates Airlines strongly believe in the meaningfulness of their work. This means that their motivation is high, and commitment to work is great. The mentioned facts, in their turn, cause strengthening of the organizational performance.

Analyzing and interpreting the findings that were presented earlier in this paper, it is necessary to pinpoint that the Emirates Group declares the significance of employee engagement. The company’s management is highly aware of the fact that plenty of cultures constitute its staff composition. In this regard, diversity and equity are taken as standards, leading to devotion in the workplace. The leaders of the company put inspiration, recognition, and appreciation of every employee above all. At this point, the motivation strategy may vary, depending on a certain country or culture. In any case, all the employees are to be treated with respect and encouraged equally. This approach is likely to be quite effective as it goes in line with employees’ expectations and promoted a comfortable working environment. Thus, the mentioned equity theory applied in the company acts as one of the most important ones.

Teamwork – the sense of belonging to the company is highly valued in the company. To start and maintain this feeling in employees, the company initiates various team-oriented activities, corporate meetings, training, and so on. The focus on collaboration creates a sense of unity and a common goal that results in a clear vision of direction and the final goal. Moreover, the Emirates Group also focuses on the attractive system of remuneration. The existence of both cash and non-cash incentives such as competitive tax-free basic salary and annual leave tickets make working at the Emirates Airlines more beneficial. As a result, providing the mentioned incentives for employees, the company receives essential feedback in the form of increased employee commitment.


Considering the discussion that is presented above, it is possible to come up with several recommendations. In particular, it can be recommended to focus on maintaining motivation in employees through the continuation of existing strategies. Since it was revealed that employee motivation helps Emirates Airlines to remain successful, it is necessary to adhere to the accepted motivation theories. However, following the requirements set by the ever-changing modern world, it is also important to develop and increase motivation. For example, it seems appropriate to focus on equity theory supported by talent development (Bamber 75). To bring people from different cultures together, it is necessary to lead them effectively and create not a group of people but a strong team. This is likely to enhance customer service and employee satisfaction simultaneously.

Furthermore, it may be efficient to improve the system of remuneration by introducing new bonuses and rewards for superior performance. Leadership management also may improve the performance of the company by empowering its employees to have additional profits (Nelson 142). Speaking of relationships between the Emirates Group, it is necessary to state that not only employees but also management should establish close relationships to work in a team and succeed. Finally, it should be emphasized that current opportunities and challenges are to be assessed to make corresponding conclusions and identify the further course of motor development.


In conclusion, it seems essential to pinpoint the key findings and recommendations that were specified in this paper. It was revealed that there are several motivation theories each of which may be applied appropriately to a certain situation. As for the Emirates Group, the researchers discovered that the company employs such theories as equity, two-factor theory, teamwork promotion, etc. After thorough analysis and discussion, it was recommended to maintain continuous employee motivation, focusing on talent development, promotions, the establishment of comfortable relationships, and employee engagement. It was also discussed that motivation improves employee commitment along with satisfaction, customer service, and the overall performance of the organization.

Works Cited

Bamber, Greg J. Up in the Air: How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging Their Employees. 2nd ed., ILR Press, 2013.

Gagne, Marylene. The Oxford Handbook of Work Engagement, Motivation, and Self-Determination Theory. Oxford University Press, 2015.

Nelson, Debra L., and James C. Quick. Organizational Behavior: Science, The Real World, and You. 8th ed., Cengage Learning, 2013.

Pinder, Craig C. Work Motivation in Organizational Behavior. Psychology Press, 2015.

Robbins, Stephen P. Organizational Behavior: Concepts, Controversies, and Applications. 15th ed., Prentice Hall, 2013.

The Emirates Group. The Emirates Group, 2017, Web.

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