The labor market of the UAE is unsustainable due to the imbalance proportions of expatriates and Emirati employees. In the UAE labor market, expatriates comprise about 89%, while the Emirati nationals form the remaining small proportion of 11%. To rectify the imbalance in the labor market and promote the participation of Emiratis, the UAE government came up with the Emiratization policy. However, limited skilled labor, insufficient training, poor knowledge transfer, and inadequate organizational engagement are some of the obstacles that hinder the adoption and implementation of Emiratization. The objectives of the study were to review the effectiveness of the Emiratization policy, identify challenges, and explore potential improvements in fostering knowledge transfer among employees.
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To achieve its objectives, the study used a cross-sectional research design to survey employees who work in the Roads and Transport Authority and collected both qualitative and quantitative data. Results show that the study surveyed 140 employees (84 males and 56 females) with the dominant nationalities as Emiratis, Arabs, and Asians. Additionally, the majority of employees were in the age group of between 20 and 50 years with work experience of 1-5 years.
The analysis of scaled questions indicated that most employees agree that work climate promotes the sharing of knowledge, disagree with statements that limit the sharing of knowledge, and agree with assertions highlighting the significance of the Emiratization policy. Based on the challenges that employees face, they suggested the use of teamwork, knowledge sharing, regular meetings, frequent training, motivation, workshops, mentoring, and practical activities as methods of improving knowledge transfer in the organization.
Therefore, the study recommends the management improve work climate and organizational engagement to improve knowledge sharing and empower employees. The government should ensure the adoption and implementation of the policy while employees create a favorable culture for sharing information.
Findings and Analysis
The study administered and collected data from 140 employees in different sections and departments of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). The analysis of demographic data shows that the participants comprised 60% males (84) and 40% females (56). The UAE citizens formed the dominant proportion of 45% (63), followed by Arabs at 29.3% (41) and Asians at 23.6% (33). However, Westerns formed the least proportion of 2.1% (3) among employees in RTA. Most respondents were in the age groups of between 20 and 50 years, with the majority in the age group of 31-40 years (41.4%) followed by those in the age group of 20-30 years (26.4%) and 41-50 years (22.9%). Employees above 50 years constituted the least proportion of 8.6% and 0.7% among those in age groups of 51-58 years and above 59 years, respectively.
Regarding years of experience in the organization, the majority of employees (35.7%) had worked for between 1 and 5 years. Employees with experience of 6-10 and 11-15 years represented 24.3% and 18.6%, respectively. Comparatively, employees with experience of less than one year and more than 15 years had an equal proportion of 10.7% (15). The majority of employees in RTA hold a bachelor’s degree (59.6%), followed by those with a diploma or higher diploma (18.6%) and a masters’ degree (15%). Employees with high school and doctorate levels of education represented 5% and 2.1%, correspondingly. The proportions of employees indicate that 43.5% (61) had a technical background while 28.6% (40) had an administrative background. Moreover, 27.9% (39) of employees had both technical and administrative backgrounds in their respective job positions.
The questionnaire used seven items on a five-point scale to rate the work climate of employees in RTA. Most employees had a favorable view of the work climate because 47.1% (66) agreed, and 9.2% (13) strongly agreed that team members use, share, and maintain vital information in the organization. Most employees indicated that they have a high group cohesiveness in the organization. Over 50% of employees had a positive view of work climate because 43.6% (61) agreed and 11.4% (16) strongly agreed that there was a high group cohesiveness in the organization.
The frequency distribution of responses reveals that most employees (58.5%) had a positive perception of the work climate as 11.4% strongly agreed and 47.1% agreed that they share valuable information and collaborate in the workplace. Employees had a favorable view of the work climate since 54.3% (76) agreed and 15% (21) strongly agreed that the organization values and utilizes their unique skills. In their workplace, most employees indicated that they find it easy to request help from other team members. Frequency distribution showed that 43.6% (61) and 17.1% (24) of employees agree and strongly agree, respectively, that they find it easy to ask for help from other team members.
The distribution of responses showed that the majority of employees are comfortable and willing to work with all team members. Specifically, 54.3% (76) and 13.6% (19) of employees agreed and strongly agreed that they were comfortable and willing to work with other team members in the organization, respectively. In contrast, 7.1% (10) and 5% (7) of employees disagreed and strongly disagreed with the statement that they are comfortable and willing to work with other team members.
Regarding the use of information, most employees indicated that they have to obtain data and advice from workmates. A frequency distribution shows that 49.2% (69) and 10.7% (15) of employees agreed and strongly agreed that they have to obtain information and seek advice from workmates for them to complete assigned tasks consistently. In comparison, 12.2% (17) and 5.7% (8) of employees disagreed and strongly disagreed, respectively, that they have to obtain information and seek advice from their workmates for them to complete their tasks. Nevertheless, 22.2% (31) of employees remained neutral in their rating of the perception of abstaining from information and seeking advice from workmates to complete their tasks.
In the assessment of the knowledge sharing among employees, the study employed four-Likert items on a five-point scale showing the degree of agreement and disagreement. Based on their experience of knowledge sharing, most employees indicated that they strongly disagree with the assertion that they helped their colleagues without express intention. Moreover, 15% of employees disagreed that they helped their colleagues with knowledge without their intentions. However, 26.4% (37) and 17.2% (24) of employees agreed and strongly agreed that they reluctantly shared knowledge requested by their colleagues.
A frequency distribution shows that the majority of employees deny the assertion they provided wrong information to their colleges. Most employees (60.7%) strongly disagreed that they provided different information from what their colleagues had requested. Additionally, 20.7% (29) of employees disagreed that they did not provide the wrong information to their workmates. In contrast, 7.1% (10) and 2.1% (3) agreed and strongly agreed, correspondingly, that they gave wrong information to their colleagues. However, 9.4% (13) were undecided on the nature of the information they provided to their colleagues.
The frequency distribution shows employees tended to be at variance with the assertion that they delayed sharing knowledge with their colleagues. The majority of employees (27.9%), followed by 23.6% (33) they strongly disagreed and disagreed that they delayed in sharing information with their colleagues, respectively. Although 10% (14) of employees remained neutral, 17.1% (24) and 21.4% (30) agreed and strongly agreed with the statement that they delayed the sharing of information with their workmates.
The trend of responses shows that employees did not pretend to be unknowledgeable in sharing information. Frequency distribution indicates that 35% (49) and 26.4% (37) of employees strongly disagree and disagree that they pretended to be unknowledgeable to avoid sharing information with their colleagues. Comparatively, while 10.7% (15) of employees remained neutral, 14.3% (20) and 13.6% (19) agreed and strongly agreed to feign ignorance to avert sharing of vital information with their colleagues, in that order.
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The Emiratization policy was evaluated using five Likert items measured on a five-point scale indicating the extent of agreement and disagreement among employees. Markedly, employees tend to believe that the Emiratization policy has a positive influence on their careers and jobs. The majority of employees agreed (37.8%), followed by 28.6% (40) who stated that they strongly agree that the Emiratization policy has led them to develop their careers and jobs in the organization. In addition, respondents tend to agree with the assertion that the implementation of the Emiratization policy has increased employee satisfaction and created a competitive environment. The frequency distribution shows that 36.4% (51) and 25% (35) of respondents agreed and strongly agreed that the Emiratization policy improves employee satisfaction and promotes a competitive work environment, correspondingly.
Further assessment showed that employees agreed (30%) and strongly agreed (22.9%) that training based on the Emiratization policy improves knowledge. Comparatively, 11.4% (16) and 2.8% (4) of employees disagreed and strongly disagreed that training based on Emiratization policy increase knowledge in the workplace, respectively. The employees hold that the Emiratization policy created many opportunities for them to excel in high job positions. The majority of employees agreed (40%) and strongly agreed (27.1%) that the employees perceive Emiratization policy as the creator of opportunities and higher job positions. The trend of responses shows that the Emiratization policy motivates employees to assume additional responsibilities in the organization. Findings indicate that 42.1% (59) and 25.7% (36) of employees agreed and strongly agreed that the Emiratization policy motivates employees to perform additional responsibilities.
In the workplace, most employees (71%) indicated that they do not face difficulties in accessing information related to their work. Moreover, while about 10% of employees stated that they face difficulties, approximately 7% pointed out that they encounter challenges sometimes or occasionally. Other employees (9%) indicated that the accessibility of the information depends on privacy and usage, while the remaining proportion did not respond.
Thematic analysis of responses given as suggestions to practice information transparency highlights building trust in the workplace, exercising fairness, sharing information, creating favorable work culture, using merit in hiring, promoting efficient training, supporting teamwork, and encouraging communication. Other suggestions were being friendly, adopting technology, using strict rules and regulations, creating awareness, and improving terms of service.
Job security is a primary factor that makes employees uncomfortable in sharing information with their colleagues, as indicated by 88% (123) of respondents. Moreover, 60% (84) of employees indicated that the fear of hindered job promotion is the second factor that prevents employees from sharing information. The lack of belief in peers, unwillingness, love status quo, and lack of belief in peers gained 33%, 26%, and 19% of responses given by responses. Other factors mentioned are unethical control of job policies, competition among employees, and the fear of job loss.
The employees suggested that teamwork, knowledge sharing, frequent interactions, regular training, awareness programs, brainstorming, incentives, awards, workshops, practical activities, and mentoring are some of the methods that would improve knowledge transfer in the organization.
Findings demonstrated that employees have a consistent trend in their perceptions of work climate, knowledge sharing, and the Emiratization policy. Frequency distributions of Likert items indicated that most employees agree that work climate promotes sharing of knowledge, disagree with statements that limit sharing of knowledge, and agree with assertions that highlight the significance of the Emiratization policy. Findings from open-ended questions indicated that most employees do not face difficulties in accessing information. Furthermore, employees propose practices that build trust, fairness, sharing of information, favorable work culture, practical training, teamwork, and communication. However, employees stated that job security and the fear of hindered job promotion are significant factors that make them uncomfortable in sharing knowledge in the workplace. Therefore, employees suggested the use of teamwork, knowledge sharing, regular meetings, frequent training, motivation, workshops, mentoring, and practical activities as methods of improving knowledge transfer in the organization.
- The management should improve the work climate in the organization by promoting the sharing of information, supporting teamwork, improving cohesiveness, and optimizing the use of talents and skills.
- Employees should create a culture that enhances communication and sharing of knowledge for the adequate performance of organizational functions.
- The government should ensure that organizations adopt and implement the Emiratization policy to develop careers, improve satisfaction, motivate, create opportunities, and increase knowledge transfer among employees.
- The management should use teamwork, social interactions, regular training, awareness programs, motivations, workshops, mentoring, and practical activities to overcome challenges that hinder the sharing of information.