Emiratization as a strategic HRM change initiative: Case study evidence from a UAE petroleum company

  • Rees C
  • Mamman A
  • Braik A
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Nationalization programmes that are designed to encourage and support the employment of nationals in preference to expatriates have become a key feature of HRM throughout the Middle East, with countries such as Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates adopting politically led nationalization initiatives. A literature review is presented that identifies a dearth of academic research relating to these initiatives within the context of the Middle East. The paper argues that this weakness in international HRM literature has implications both within the Middle East and in terms of more general international theory building in relation to issues such as the transferability of HRM systems and practices. In later sections of the paper, a case study of Emiratization in practice is presented with a view to identifying and exploring issues surrounding the implementation and evaluation of organizationally based Emiratization programmes. The case study findings demonstrate some of the complexities surrounding issues such as management commitment, quantitative evaluation methods, resistance to change and the role of expatriates in implementing Emiratization programmes. A number of implications and subjects for future research into Emiratization are identified. These implications relate to: the reasons underlying the scarcity of HRM literature on nationalization initiatives; emotional perspectives on nationalization methodologies; strategies for dealing with resistance to nationalization within organizations; issues surrounding the design of Emiratization programmes; and the role of expatriates as key stakeholders in nationalization programmes. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

Author-supplied keywords

  • Change
  • Emiratization
  • HRM
  • Middle East
  • Nationalization
  • UAE

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