Limitations Of The Study
The consequences of Omanization is a rich theme, where do to the large amount of information compiled the researcher decided to divided into three different sub-sections, Employees, Managers and the organization itself.
- A) Employee’s perspective
Although the researcher had interviewed one employee working in the front-line of the organization, the general manager, finance and HR manager were in capacity to speak from the front line-employee and what are the consequences of Omanization for this particular group.
For example according to the current interviewee working in a front-line position the situation for the employees is noting less but a ‘win-win’ situation as ‘everybody in Oman is aware of the effort and pressure exerted by the Government to comply with Omanization and to ensure that Omani employees are higher as much as possible in the private sector’.
In addition, the HR manager with a very privileged perspective on the consequences of Omanization have stated throughout his interview that is technically impossible to fire an Omani employee and this ‘aura of invincibility’ has positive and negative consequences upon the employees.
Here the researcher wanted to find out what were the positive and negatives as to where the HR manager suggested that positive aspects is that some Omanis that willingly come to work to the private sector can make the most of out it and they are engaged enough to contribute to the organization to the best of their abilities.
On the negative side and much like it was previously stated by Mr. Al Aghbari, those that come to work to the private sector by default and because they did not find a job in a public organization, are in most cases less motivate and the group that most contributes to the absenteeism, turnover and low productivity.
The general manager have also suggested that employees are currently being ‘pampered’ by the different initiatives that the government puts in place to boost the Omanization quotas and that after all, had created a very ‘libertine’ approach to the workplace, were sadly some employees would take advantages of the great benefits and applications that the government has put in place to facilitate Omanization.
- B) Manager’s perspective
The manager perspective is obviously under a lot of pressure since they are in the middle between the needs of the organization and the governmental requirements of Omanization.
While conducting his interview, the finance manager stated that although Omanization is beneficial for the country and it is a needed program, it is important to understand that the case of the financial manager and the HR manager is a difficult position.
When asking why, managers are in a difficult position , the finance manager explained that the hiring of ten Omani employees in contrast to ten expatriates creates a lot of pressure not only on the financial side, as obviously local employees are far more expensive but also on the productivity side where for some Omani employees they could easily be their first job and for those that worked before, knowing all the governmental back up that they are entitle to, they treat their job as ‘just a job’ where if they are not happy they will eventually show signs of absenteeism, tardiness and low performance as some of the many symptoms of hiring the wrong personnel.
The perspective from the HR manager in terms of Omanization is not the most promising either as they organization is pushed to achieved the quotas established much like it was suggested above, the hiring of the wrong personnel comes into play, eventually backfiring back into the daily operation and productivity.
The connotation suggested by the HR manager is certainly an alarming one, since the company might be hiring individuals that are not the suitable for a position, then the question asked by the researcher was obviously, Why they are being hired?. Here the HR manager provided an honest response and suggested that unfortunately the quality of applicants is not there and sometimes we need to hire people that we might see potential to be developed.
Of course it is through this hiring process that sometimes it just does not work and people turn into ‘bad apples’ within the first month of employment, putting the pressure back into the operation having employees that are quite expensive and that they don’t deliver according to what was expected of them.
- C) Organization’s perspective
The perspective of the organization has mostly been encompassed from the views of the owner and the general manager and much like it was expected by the researcher the leaders of the organization have mostly provided a ‘middle-ground’ perspective between the extreme positive and negatives that were presented through the employee’s and manager’s perspective.
In the words of the owner, the following quotation was produced, ‘I think when looking at the consequences of the Omanization for our company, moderation is key since its implementation is obviously positive however there are consequences that should be contemplated, such as the immediate payroll increase and lower productivity given by Omani employees when comparing with expatriates’.
However the owner wanted to make sure that a ‘loud and clear’ message is sent across that the organization mindful of the arising challenges is moving ahead with its application overcoming hurdles as the pop-up and looking for ways to circumvent the challenges.
The view of the general manager was also in line with the moderate message recorded from the owner and stated the following, “all of the senior managers understand the idea behind the government on employing as many Omani as possible however what we cant sometimes foresee the negatives issues that will arise from an indiscriminate adoption of an Omanization implementation”.
The general manager also recognized that as much though and vision that the company puts in understanding and dealing with the consequences of Omanization, there are areas where they ‘go wit the flow’, meaning that they don’t the challenges and consequences ahead when for example the organization reaches a new –high Omanization percentage or has to release ten expatriates to be replaced by Omani employees.
In regards to the quotation given by the general manager to illustrate the situation presented above, the general manager stated, ‘honestly like in any changing project there are grey areas that I don’t know how it will go until is actually done and sometimes I don’t know what are going to be the consequences of increasing 5% the level of Omanis in the workforce, either way that is what managers are for, to manage and deal with the unexpected side of the operation”.
Theme 4 : Expatriates
When looking at the consequences on expatriates, these are pretty obvious and they do not have a positive outlook in the short, medium and long-term as eventually Omani nationals need to be employed in the jobs that they were previously held by expatriates.
For example the only expatriate interviewed had a very proactive outlook and stated that eventually even higher positions in private organizations will be held by Omani nationals as it is the right and understandable thing to do for a company and the country.
Moreover, the interviewee was quoted with the following “for example I have been 10 years living in Oman and I considered it to be my second home, however I cannot be so naïve to think that I will have this job indefinitely since it is a matter of time until I will be replaced by a local”.
Here the researcher also asked how did he feel about it and the finance manager replied that at first obviously the feeling was not great, but is an aspect of life that he could do nothing about it and that he should only plan in advance for any eventuality.
When asked about the fate of expatriates to the general manager, the answer was similar and stated that at the beginning expatriates hoped that the practice could be revoked or become inapplicable but at the growing youth in the country needs opportunity for employment it becomes inevitable that the Omanization will increase with the passing of the years as companies becomes more used to Omani employees than to over-relying on expatriates to ‘save the day’.
On the other hand, the general manager has intuitively understood that not all expatriates would be as open as and as prepared as the finance manager is to the eventuality of loosing their jobs, therefore the group is committed to give this employees a 3-month notice before their termination of their employment, at least this will give some of them the opportunity to be relocate to another country.
The owner of the company is also aware that the outlook is certainly not the most positive for expatriates working not only in the company but also across Oman, however the owner also understood the immense contribution of expatriates and suggested that they deserve nothing but the outmost support of the company.
In the words of the owner, the idea above was quoted as follow, ‘despite the challenges faced by our company it is crucial that from the senior management down to the entry-levels, our organization shows a high sense of gratitude towards the expatriates that have worked for us, still work and might not have in the future, therefore and although we have financially constraints we certainly emphasize about their situation and we will do anything possible to ensure that they have all our support in their transition to other companies or their home countries”.
Theme 5: Government implications
The implications for the government as not as straightforward as for the organizations in the private sector since like the owner of the Barami group suggested in his interview, ‘no one really knows which way the Omanization would go and how it will ultimately affect the organization and the country’s level of competency.
When it comes to the view of the HR manager in terms of the role of government and the implications of Omanization, they HR manager suggested the following, ‘obviously the indiscriminate approach put the politicians in a good spot as they are excruciatingly ‘passing the ball’ to the private sector which are obviously left between a ‘rock and a hard place’.
For the general manager the implications for the government are certainly good, although Omanis employees are constantly expecting more from the private sector and eventually it will reach a saturation point, as some companies cannot offer yearly bonuses regardless of the success of their operation and without looking into possible low performance levels as it is mostly portrayed in organizations that replace trained expatriates with unskilled/inexperience Omanis.
Looking at a quotation provided by Mr. Al Aghabri in terms of the implications of the government it was suggested that employees across Oman as those looking for their first time job are constantly looking up at the government to ‘defend their rights’ and to provide jobs and opportunities through which they can sustain their families.
Although most of the report have been looking at the views of owners and managers, Mr Al Aghbari have also suggested that for someone that have to feed a young or large family in the case of an adult, the pressure from society on the government is ‘always there’ as more and more people are constantly hoping to join in their majority the public sector and by default the private field, ‘dumping their necessities to sustain their households back to the government’.
As the investigation reaches its conclusion, the researcher have come to find out three main findings that although were contemplated were not necessarily expected to come as the most important.
The first finding that the researcher came to understood is that Omanization for the sake of Omanization is not the solution and the problem is certainly far more complex that the government would like it to be for the simple fact that no one really knows or at least can predict with accuracy how the Omanization process will unfold within the Sultanate.
Another important finding that is directly related to FOB’s is that these particular companies are having a hard time trying to cope with the ever-imposing rules and regulations that are constantly being passed in the private sector and should this trend continue organizations will most likely witness financial hardships product of overstaffing, turnover or absenteeism to name a few.
Aside from the uncertainty of the practice and how organizations in the private sector would cope with newer regulations, the researcher have understood as the last important finding which tends to be omitted when looking into Omanization subject which is the fact that most Omani nationals aim to avoid at all costs to work in the private, even when the government is desperately trying to attract young and middle-age Omanis to fill in the ranks in the private sector.
To conclude it is imperative that in order for FOB’s to ‘sail through’ the challenges presented above, they need to resort to exploiting their creativity capacity to overcome the hurdles of Omanization as they tend to manifest.
Only those organizations that are flexible and creative enough will be able to stay ahead of the challenges that Omanization will continue to pose to those organizations operating in the private sector making market, organizational and labor understanding a key to survival in the years to come.
5.0 Limitations of the Study
For this stage of research, the time and financial resource were limitations to the amount of work that the researcher could have. Because of this time limitation, the author could add more participants into the interviews. In case of more time, the author would include more participants especially from the employee employees and other expatriate employees in the Al Barami group.