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Kamal works with NDC, which is a subsidiary of the ADNOC group of companies. He is tasked with the responsibility of coming up with a program that can reduce accidents on rig sites, and thus he creates the Green Hats Program before becoming the head of the Training Center at NDC. Kamal and Saleh are at loggerheads, which causes unnecessary conflict in the workplace. Ultimately, Kamal resigns to take care of his family. This paper is a case analysis of the issues surrounding NDC and especially the conflict between Kamal and Saleh. The paper starts with a summary of the pertinent facts of the case before giving an appraisal of the situation and assessment of plausible alternative strategies. It then gives a personal choice of action and strategy and concludes with an analysis of generalizations of what can be learned from the case study.
A summary of the pertinent facts of the case
The Green Hats Program is established as a response to the growing number of accidents on rig sites. Such accidents have caused death and the destruction of property. It is established that accidents occur due to the unpreparedness and inexperience of workers concerning drilling activities. Kamal comes up with the Green Hats Program, which requires all new recruits to put on green helmets as a way of distinguishing them from the experienced workforce. All workers wearing green hats are then exempted from executing duties involving critical or hazardous exercises. Besides, the program requires all new workers to work in the company of an experienced counterpart for safety and orientation purposes. The program lasts for six weeks.
The International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) award allows NDC to be an accredited company that can give HSE Rig Pass course. This course is accepted internationally as a safety program that helps in creating general HSE awareness and competency amongst the new recruits. This accreditation makes NDC attractive to the local workers, thus achieving its Emiratization target set by ADNOC by recruiting locals to avoid the overreliance of expatriates. In other words, the IADC award makes NDC attractive to the local employees, which would streamline its operations, and thus, become highly profitable. The main contributors to the attainment of this award include Ameer and Kamal.
The management decides to change the HRM because the recent performance is not in tandem with the expectations of the company based on the set goals.
Kamal is involved in training new recruits on safety standards, which include learning the English language. He is also involved in the selection criteria of the recruitment process, tracking the nominees in their rigs, reporting their status, evaluating their performance, and giving recommendations coupled with redesigning some of the UAE national development programs that are already designed by Saleh. Kamal is facing hostility from Saleh, and this aspect is affecting his productivity. In the first instance, Saleh hides all the training program information, the entire database needed to accomplish the set programs, and the trainees’ profiles among other problems. In short, all of Kamal’s problems are due to interference by Saleh. Due to the lack of the necessary trainees’ assessment results, Kamal is forced to give unprofessional reports that lack important information related to the candidates’ progression. This aspect angers the management coupled with creating negative impacts on program cost, duration, and motivation.
Kamal decides to resign after realizing that he is sacrificing his family to be at work. He realizes that he has not taken a vacation with his family for an entire year, and he does not have time to be with the loved ones. The management fails to act appropriately in time to avert the resignation of Kamal, who is undeniably an asset to the company.
An appraisal of the situation
Kamal is kept in the dark until the last minute and after learning of the IADC’s request to amend the course syllabus, he responds immediately to the association and closes the issue. He informs Saleh and Aziz of his actions. On the other hand, Saleh ignores the request to amend the syllabus from the association. In this case, the inherent problem is the lack of proper communication in the workplace. The organizational structure should create a culture of proper communication amongst employees. In this case, Aziz is complacent in executing his role and so is Saleh. After receiving the email from the association, Aziz should have communicated with Kamal to respond appropriately. This move would have averted the eventual conflict between Kamal and Saleh.
The principle of teamwork should be used in the analysis of the conflict that exists within NDC. The workload increases immeasurably and Kamal cannot take it anymore. Saleh kills every opportunity of collaborating with Kamal to achieve the company goals. Kamal is forced to sacrifice family time to work, and this aspect makes him remorseful. He feels that he has betrayed his family by failing to spend time with his wife and children. He feels nervous every time he thinks of work and this conflict of interest between family and workforces him to resign and restructure his life.
The candidates for the program are disoriented after receiving contradicting information from Saleh and Kamal. Therefore, Kamal needs to raise the Saleh problem with the management and ask for a long-term solution. There should be defined job roles to avoid ambiguity in the workplace, which leads to the overlapping of duties, conflicts, and wastage of time. Besides, Kamal is facing problems with his family, and thus, he needs to create more time for his wife and kids. His life is at the tipping point, and he might as well lose both his family and job. Therefore, he decides to quit, take care of his family, and reevaluate his life. The principle of work-life balance comes in handy in this case. Kamal should have managed his time properly to accommodate both work and family.
Besides, by failing to get the appropriate assessment results, Kamal cannot evaluate the effectiveness of the program to identify gaps that should be sealed for the accomplishment of the set goals. The conflict theory should be used in this case to address the differences between Kamal and Saleh.
An assessment of plausible alternative strategies
The decision by the management to assign Dr. Mahdy as the Training Center Manager is wrong. Employees should be assigned to areas where they are skilled to avoid losses in terms of time, which is used in training and reduced productivity that comes with inexperience. In this case, Dr. Mahdy is not experienced in technical activities that form the job description at the Training Center. He is only experienced in management and given his low level of interaction with people, he is not suited for the position. Besides, Dr. Mahdy has never been involved in executing such tasks before, and thus, he lacks the skills, competence, and personality to head the Training Center. Finally, Dr. Mahdy has a history of sickness, which risks his health and productivity due to the technical work involved in running the Training Center.
Alternatively, the management should have settled for Kamal, as he has the experience and credentials to head the Training Center. Kamal is accredited as an International HSE instructor, and he has worked in countries like the UK, Denmark, and Norway. Moreover, during his tenure at the Egyptian Drilling Company, he worked as the head of training. This information reveals critical pointers that the management should have considered. First, the fact that Kamal is an accredited International HSE instructor makes him the best-suited individual to run the Training Center. Secondly, Kamal has been running the Green Hats Program successfully as it has reduced the number of accidents and casualties significantly. Additionally, he has the necessary experience having worked in the same position as the Egyptian Drilling Company.
The decision to appoint Kamal to head the Training Center would have both positive and negative intended and unintended consequences. First, Saleh would become irritable given his character and derail Kamal’s efforts at his new position. This aspect happens eventually after Dr. Mahdy’s death. Second, the company would be saved from making losses that come with the appointment of incompetent, unskilled, and unqualified individuals to critical positions. Dr. Mahdy adds no value at the Training Center and after his death, the company is in the same position it was before his appointment. If the company had gone for Kamal in the first place, It would achieve its objectives within a short time, which saves money and other resources. The company fails at management control. According to Shafritz, Russell, and Borick (2013), management information and control “allow administrators to find out what is going on in an organization…and manage the activities of others” (p. 300). If the management were aware of Kamal’s achievements and experience, they would have settled for him instead of Dr. Mahdy.
My choice of action and strategy
If I were in HRM position, I would address the cold war between Saleh and Kamal systematically. First, I would establish the cause of the conflict by gathering all the available information before inviting them separately to hear each one’s side of the story. I would then invite them to a joint meeting to hear them out in front of each other. During the meeting, I would encourage the two to work it out between themselves and caution Saleh of interfering with Kamal’s work. However, I would mention to them that they can always come back to my office should they fail to settle their differences. If the problem is not solved, I would gather all the incriminating evidence against Saleh and sent him an official warning letter to refrain from blackmailing Kamal. Ultimately, if Saleh does not stop his backward behavior, I would recommend his sacking to the management based on the employee policies set forth by the company.
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This choice of action hinges on the view that conflict in the workplace leads to reduced productivity and unnecessary losses. Addressing the problem systematically in stages would accord Saleh fair hearing and reassure Kamal that the organization is interested in creating an enabling working environment. Besides, meeting the conflicting parties individually and jointly would allow me to gather the necessary information using my HRM skills of dealing with people. Clearly, Saleh is in the wrong, but he should not be dismissed grossly without a fair hearing. In some cases, after having a sobering conversation with employees, one may decide to reevaluate his or her conduct and solve the conflict amicably.
However, if the negative behavior is not abandoned, I would ultimately resort to recommending Saleh for sacking by the management. The undesirable effect of this move would be the legal suits instituted by the sacked employee. Saleh would be the claimant in this case, and he would accuse the company of unfair dismissal from work. However, given that I would have met with the conflicting sides and acted appropriately to avert conflict, it would be easy to prove to the court of law that the dismissal was warranted. Every company has the employees’ handbook that stipulates how workers should conduct themselves in the workplace. Therefore, it would be easy to prove to the court of law that all the due processes, which involve fair hearing and warning, were followed before arriving at the decision to sack Saleh.
An analysis of generalizations
From this case, it is clear that conflict in the workplace, if not managed carefully, can lead to undue losses. In this case, NDC lost an invaluable asset after Kamal’s resignation, as he was a dedicated, hardworking, innovative, and result-oriented individual. Such workers are rare, and they should be treated with due respect. In essence, all employees should be treated fairly to foster the spirit of teamwork, which leads to the achievement of the set goals and objectives. Conflict in the workplace is inevitable; however, the manner in which the management handles it determines the outcome, whether positive or negative. Shafritz et al. (2013) note that due to personal aspirations and the scarcity of resources, conflict is bound to happen in any setup. In this case, Saleh’s personal aspirations of wanting to steal Kamal’s glory led to the conflict. Therefore, the view that unaddressed conflict leads to losses can be generalized in any setting.
Another generalizable point from this case is that job positions should be allocated based on meritocracy. NDC wasted time and resources by appointing Dr. Mahdy to the position of heading the Training Center when he lacked the proper skills and experience. Employees should be placed in areas where they function optimally to maximize output, which increases productivity and profitability. The idea of job specialization cuts across all areas of functioning in an organization. Besides, work-life balance is a serious issue that companies need to consider when formulating their HRM strategies. The majority of people, just like Kamal, ascribe to the notion that family is more important than work, and thus, one would be forced to resign if that will save his or her family.
However, the escalation of the conflict to the point of quitting the job by one of the warring parties may not be applicable in cases where the issue is addressed appropriately. Most companies have come up with conflict resolution mechanisms, and thus, the employees’ differences do not get out of hand. Additionally, the issue of appointing incompetent individuals to occupy certain positions may not be generalizable in different settings where measures of job appraisal have been put in place.
Shafritz, J. M., Russell, E. W., & Borick, C. (2013). Introducing public administration (8th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.