Emiratisation and Its Implications on Managing Workplace Diversity: A Case Study of Private Sector Firms in Dubai, UAE
The Emirate of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has one of the highest expatriate populations in the Middle East. UAE government authorities implemented Emiratisation, a localization policy aimed at increasing Emirati presence in the private sector workforce especially. The policy proved little success in reaching local employment targets due to existing, unsupportive organizational strategies. Localization initiatives negatively impacted perceptions and relationships between Emiratis and expatriates. Theoretical and empirical evidence demonstrate firms responded differently to Emiratisation, but generally, most suffered from improperly managing their local expatriate teams, sacrificing organizational performance. As the number of locals in the UAE workforce is predicted to increase, a systematic study was conducted to understand challenges faced in private sector diversity management. This paper critically reviews existing academic literature regarding workplace diversity and how to manage it through human resource management (HRM). It provides an overview of the diverse workforce in Dubai's private sector firms and outlines Emiratisation goals. It discusses the major issues of managing diversity in firms, through analyzing management perspectives from semi-structured interviews. Findings revealed mixed perceptions regarding Emiratisation and its objectives, with firms generally focusing on compliance as opposed to developing and making use of their diverse workforces. Limited research has been done in the region examining nationalization policies and their impacts on HRM of diversity. Therefore, a framework has been developed presenting strategies for HR diversity management at an operational, strategic and tactical level.
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