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Impact of Emiratisation on Knowledge Transfer Proposal

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Updated: Dec 20th, 2020


Research Background

In the last two decades, the growth and development of the UAE industries have been catalyzed by the input of imported expertise from across the globe. At the same time, manual labor to support the expertise role has been imported from developing countries such as India and parts of Africa (Goby, Ali, Lanjawi, & Al Haddad, 2017). As a result, the percentage of the indigenous workforce has declined over the years to worrying proportions.

For instance, the demographic imbalance between local and international labor with the private and public sectors has made it difficult for the government of the UAE to sustain its labor market for long term gains (Alshaali, 2018). In order to reverse this trend, the government introduced the Emiratization campaign to balance the composition of labor between local and international workers.

Emiratization (job nationalization) is an initiative implemented by the UAE government to employ its citizens in the public and private sectors. Emiratization is also part of the UAE’s strategy and vision 2021 (Barnett, Malcolm, & Toledo, 2015). The philosophical drive in the implementation of Emiratization is focused on the goal of fueling a three-prolonged strong and pragmatic approach towards nationalization in the job market.

Through a multiagency approach in implementation, Emiratization efforts have incorporated the inputs of local and federal governmental levels in the form of developing strategic workforce planning (Dajani, 2018). The policy framework behind project Emiratization is inspired by the need to encourage organizations to retain and grow careers of local Emiratis. Specifically, the plan aims at creating at least fifty percent job participation of the locals, especially in the private sector, by 2021 (Hirshi, 2018).

In order to achieve this goal, there are plans in place to integrate a systematic and nationalized program that promotes awareness among the local institutions and Emiratis on work ethics. Moreover, private sector stakeholders are given incentives for employing or retaining the locals in their organizations in the form of tax breaks and tax refunds (Nickerson, Goby, & David, 2015). The government has put in place mechanisms for ensuring that the private sector adheres to the bare minimums stipulated in the Emiratization campaign.

Despite these efforts, the Committee for Human Resources Development has not managed to implement the 50% balance in the labor market between the Emirates and foreign workers. For instance, in 2005, the imbalance was estimated at 90.7% of foreign experts against 9.3% Emiratis (Pech, 2009).

Although this imbalance has reduced over the years, the government has not managed to create a perfect equilibrium due to attitudinal challenges, poor knowledge transfer, and availability of other options for the locals (Goby, 2015). The purpose of this research proposal is to examine the current position of Emiratization as part of the UAE’s affirmative action to increase the percentage of local employees in the public and private sectors. The research is focused on establishing the impact of Emiratization on knowledge transfer from experts to UAE citizens.

Research Problem

Over the years, the expert community imported from other countries has dominated the UAE labor market, especially within the private sector. This community is drawn mainly from developed countries to offer specialized skills that were lacking in the UAE. In order to support expertise skills, the private sector has imported manual labor from developing countries to bridge the labor inefficiencies.

Although the government has made deliberate and effective efforts to reduce foreign labor dominance through its ambitious Emiratization campaign, several challenges have emerged in their implementation. Some of these setbacks include increasing unemployment rates, limited knowledge transfer, the imbalance in the percentage of local verses international labor, inadequate nationalization policy for some grades or positions, and youth empowerment strategy (Goby, 2015). However, this study will focus on knowledge transfer challenges as impeding the success of the Emiratization policy.

For instance, some ex-pats feel insecure in their positions, feeling that UAE citizens will take over and, therefore, will not transfer knowledge based on long years of experience to citizens convinced that they are protecting a job. Therefore, this research is aimed at investigating the impact of the initiative on knowledge transfer from ex-pats to the UAE citizens and the factors affecting this process.

Rationale or Significance of the Research

The study on the impact of Emiratization on knowledge transfer from experts to UAE citizens is an important report that might be turned into a policy framework within the labor sector. For instance, the study findings might be applied by the relevant government agencies within the UAE to effectively create strategies for adjusting knowledge transfer policies to ensure that Emiratization is sustainable and efficient.

Research objectives and Questions

Integration of the impact of Emiratization on knowledge transfer from experts to UAE citizens, this study focuses on specific knowledge transfer policies and challenges that face this government initiative. Therefore, the following research questions were generated to related Emiratization and knowledge transfer in the UAE.

  1. How has Emiratization campaigned performed against preset expectations?
  2. How effective are the knowledge transfer initiatives in supporting the Emiratization policy in the UAE?
  3. What are the challenges facing knowledge transfer as one of the strategies for achieving Emiratization in the labor market?
  4. What could be done to reverse these challenges?

The research objectives for each question are;

Question 1

  1. To examine the performance of the Emiratization campaign within the labor market against expectations.
  2. To review the policy framework and initiatives focused on making Emiratization sustainable in the UAE.

Question 2

  1. To review the effectiveness of the Emiratization initiative of fostering knowledge transfer between the foreign experts and the locals.
  2. To identify plans in place or policy framework for facilitating knowledge transfer.

Question 3

  1. To identify the current challenges facing knowledge transfer between the foreign experts and the locals.
  2. To measures the impacts of each challenge on the Emiratization campaign.

Question 4

  1. To explore potential improvements in the Emiratization policy to ensure that knowledge transfer is sustainable and effective.

Research Assumptions and Limitations

Since limited research has been carried out to establish the effectiveness of knowledge transfer on Emiratization, the study may not provide an accurate picture as it relies on available data that might not be updated. This means that the findings of this research may only present best practices that might not be effectively integrated within the UAE scenario. The UAE government or any other agency will have to adapt the current and future projections highlighted in the study to establish an appropriate and systematic Emiratization approach for sustainable and effective knowledge transfer.

Research Methodology

Research Design

Since this study is focused on a specific region, the UAE, the researcher will apply a survey approach to gather primary and secondary data for quantitative and qualitative data analysis. The choice of quantitative and qualitative analysis was informed by the need to properly facilitate a proper understanding of attributes related to Emiratization, especially in terms of knowledge transfer (Sherif, 2018).

From the research survey of twenty respondents, mainly government officials associated with the implementation of Emiratization, the researcher will analyze the results in order to identify current policies, strategies, and challenges as part of sustainability governance. The application of this approach is necessary to facilitate the identification of different statistical patterns emerging from the collected data as related to the variables of the study. The collection of data for quantitative analysis was carried out using reliable government and scholarly sources. Since the study is dynamic, subjective, and focused, the researcher will use a mixed-method to accommodate several tools of analysis and minimize the potential margin of error (Mason, 2017).

The researcher will begin by compiling relevant themes captured in the literature review on Emiratization practices and knowledge transfer. This will be followed by compiling and probing the interview questions. The researcher will then pre-test the questions by having a short interview with two officials to confirm their reactions and the relevance of the proposed interview questions (Mason, 2017). The responses from the pilot study will be used to generate the final list of questions.

The setting for conducting the interviews will mainly be at the offices concerned with implementing Emiratization. The sample will consist of nine respondents drawn from officials and heads of different offices implementing the Emiratization campaign, especially from the police departments. This sample consists of experienced persons who understand the Emiratization situation in the UAE and are directly involved in decision and policy formulation. Moreover, the sample group possesses expansive knowledge on the procedures being implemented by the government to address issues associated with Emiratization.

Data Collection

The research design approach will involve semi-structured interviews targeting government officials implementing the Emiratization policy. This approach will be combined with collected quantitative data from secondary sources. The rationale for a mixed research design was informed by the need to emphasize qualitative results supported by published government data on current knowledge transfer trends within the Emiratization campaign (Smith, 2017).

The researcher will make an official request to interview the respondents and expounded to them the nature and scope of the study using a sample 10-item sample questionnaire (Sherif, 2018). The activities of the interview process and their meaning will be explained to give the respondents enough time to prepare responses. This means that the policy practices and opinions of the respondents will comprise the research subject matter. Moreover, the researcher will take field notes to highlight impressions for a more focused and continuous evaluation of the responses. Through a proactive and holistic approach, the researcher will be in a position to grasp all the primary themes from the interviews and published data.

Data Analysis

The researcher will perform qualitative and quantitative data analyses. The qualitative analysis will be based on the interview results that are tabulated to identify a common trend (Bryman & Bell, 2015). Quantitative data analysis will involve reviewing published Emiratization data, especially on knowledge transfer. The first assumption is that published data are nearly normal, in terms of the trend over the ten-year period under consideration. The same trend is assumed for the interview responses since the targeted respondents are policymakers. Specifically, the research will rely on the two sources to come up with scientific inferences.

Research Timeline

Week 1: Research Commencement

This stage of the research study involves a proactive analysis of different research topics, from which the researcher must choose one topic as well as defines the rationale for the choice. In this case, the researcher chose the topic Impact of Emiratization on Knowledge Transfer from Experts to UAE Citizens, being relevant to the research on sustainable labor practices for effective nationalization of the UAE public and private sectors. This stage took approximately one week to accomplish.

Weeks 2 & 3: Choosing the case study

Choosing the case study regions within the seven Emirates is expected to be challenging. The researcher will have to decide on the most appropriate research approach. Moreover, it will be necessary to choose relevant research variables to ensure that the scope of the study is well addressed. It is estimated that this part of the research will take at least two weeks to be accomplished.

Weeks 4 & 5: Background research

Since the topic offers past literature resources, this study will not face many challenges in creating a research background. The role of the researcher at this stage will be to merge different literature resources on the research topic and determine the direction to follow during the actual research. It is estimated that this step will take two weeks to be accomplished.

Weeks 6, 7, & 8: Conducting the literature review

This stage will be the most demanding, as it will involve a comprehensive search for empirical and theoretical literature. The researcher will then relate the existing literature to the case study topic. Among the sources of information that will be explored are academic journals, course notes, reports on the UAE Emiratization policy, and books.

Weeks 9, 10, & 11: Conducting interviews, collecting data, and analyzing data

This stage will also be demanding since it will be necessary to balance different tools for carrying out a survey such as questionnaires and direct interviews to present accurate findings of the topic. For instance, it will involve scrutinizing data collected to ensure that the analysis makes scientific sense by adhering to ethical principles for carrying out social research. The stage will commence with designing the research questions and test them for comprehensiveness and relevance.

The researcher will have to apply different data analysis tools to make sense of the raw data collected. At this stage, there are plans in place to ensure that proper coding and transcription is done to achieve the desired results. This stage will take the longest time, probably three weeks, since primary research and data analysis are time-consuming.

Weeks 12 & 13: Research conclusion

After the analytical stage, the study will identify the themes that have emerged to offer an appropriate interpretation of the findings. This stage will require the researcher to compile the outcome of the study and determine whether the research hypothesis has been proven. This section will also involve the submission of different documents related to the research. This stage will be completed within two weeks. The research timeline was generated on the basis of time allocation for each activity (see figure 1).

Research Budget

Item Cost ($) Comment
Field movements 100 Moving from one office to another
Printing and stationary 50 Printing questionnaires and support stationery
Refreshments 50 Lunch during fieldwork
Total 200
Research timeline.
Fig.1. Research timeline.


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Bryman, A., & Bell, E. (2015). Business research methods (4th ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Dajani, H. (2018). . The National. Web.

Goby, V.P. (2015). Financialization and outsourcing in a different guise: The ethical chaos of workforce localization in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Business Ethics, 131(7), 415-421.

Goby, V.P., Ali, H.M.A., Lanjawi, M.A.A., & Al Haddad, A.M.I.K. (2017). Workforce localization, information sharing, and the imperative of culture: A preliminary exploration of expatriate-Emirati information sharing in Dubai’s private sector. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 25(1), 103-122.

Hirshi, M. (2018). . Gulf News. Web.

Mason, J. (2017). Qualitative researching (3rd ed.). London, UK: SAGE.

Nickerson, C., Goby, V.P., & David, E. (2015). Interpersonal communication and diversity climate: Promoting workforce localization in the UAE. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 23(3), 364-377.

Pech, R. (2009). Emiratization: Aligning education with future needs in the United Arab Emirates. Education, Business and Society, 2(1), 57-65.

Sherif, V. (2018). Evaluating pre-existing qualitative research data for secondary analysis. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(2), 56-67.

Smith, S. (2017). Practical tourism research (2nd ed.). New York, NY: CABI.

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