Methodologies in Human Resource Management


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to deliver an introduction to the Special Issue on new qualitative research methodologies in management.
Design/methodology/approach – The reasons of interest for the object of this Special Issue are explained through the discussion of a selected literature. Technological and sociological changes are considered as a source of new problem and new opportunities for management and management
research. The traditional methods are put under strain by these changes and epistemological implications are considered.
Findings – New qualitative methodologies analyzed in the Special Issue are characterized by drivers including hybridization with others methods, both qualitative and quantitative. New methods can contribute to reduce distance between researcher’s and practitioner’s context.
Originality/value – A frame to analyze the new qualitative management research through the papers published in the Special Issue.
Keywords Qualitative methods, Management research, Hybrid methods, Researcher’s creativity  Paper type Viewpoint


Chapter 3:  Methodology

In this chapter, the research objective, process, research approach, methods, and instruments used for selection of respondents and data analysis of this research are described. 

3.1 Research objectives

This report is an attempt to understand how the public sector applies TM practices and initiatives in UAE. 
Many business leaders in the Middle East now understands the significance of talents in the organization, hence, in order to be able to manage them properly, they need to put them in their top agenda priorities. This study aims to understand how TM is perceived in the UAE and what are the initiatives and practice that are currently undertaken. The study focuses on the public sector organization. Moreover, the research will provide a response to the research questions in chapter 1 of the introduction.

3.2 Purpose of research

The UAE is considered one of the preferred locations for expatriate, and since the number of UAE nationals is increasing in the market, there is a need to manage and develop talent in the UAE. This is considered a major push for this report.
The aim of writing a research is either to discover a new phenomenon or provide an understanding of existing complex phenomena. Research questions determine the research direction whether it need to describe phenomena, quantify or analyze correlations, hence the researcher need to select the appropriate research method to adapt the purpose (Peter Strang, 2000).  

3.3 Scope of research

This research is implemented especially in UAE.
Talent is an important thing to be managed by companies all over the world. The productivity of employees and business competitiveness determines the sustainability of nation in the long term. When companies adopt best practices of talent management along with local knowledge, then it can attract more people, retain them and motivate them.  This is practiced with both the domestic employees and expatriates. So, it is challenging for companies in UAE to acquire the right people so they should attract quality employees because UAE is considered one of the preferred locations for expatriate and since the number of UAE nationals is increasing in the market there is a need to manage and develop talent in the UAE.  They must select the best person available and fill the critical roles of business first. The businesses of UAE need to be good in selecting people, staffing them and training them. Those people should be recruited who are willing to share their values and adopt new ways of working. Talent management fails when people in the organisations are not aligned with their critical roles and as per the strategic priorities, and hence, the rewards are not properly aligned (SME Advisor Middle East, 2013). The working people of UAE are diverse, and they are drawn from throughout the world. The local businesses in UAE invest in people, lead them properly and manage them effectively so that an efficient and productive organisation can be built. The HR budgets in the companies of UAE are often imbalanced; they focus on those initiatives that address the under-performance of employees and not on the long-term investments on people development. The organisations who give rewards to employees for their correct behaviour as a tool for performance management are one of the most successful companies. One more challenge is faced by the companies in UAE that is to find ways by which they can combine the traditional process of decision making with the governance standards internationally (SME Advisor Middle East, 2013).  The companies in Emirates have the capability to improve their decision making. To manage the talent in UAE, the companies adopt two types of strategies, both for short-term and for the long-term. In the short term, monetary benefits are provided to employees for their performance and in the long term, the growth of the organisation is emphasised in which the employees are given job security so that when the company grows, the workforce does not cut down.
Hence, this research will give a perspective to UAE about how the public sector applies TM practices and initiatives and where is the scope for improvements. 

3.4 Research Design

There are two main research methods quantitative and qualitative. Each research method has its own feature which justifies the purpose and outcome of the study (David Trafimow, 2014).  For this study, a qualitative approach was implemented based on the nature of the study and required data. In-depth interviews were conducted to gain an understating towards the core beliefs and philosophy that is currently running in the public sector. The researcher was able to communicate directly with the participants and allowed them to respond in their own words which reflected their experience and feelings. Burges (1982) cited that in-depth interviews method is considered one of the main methods of the qualitative approach as it has been referred as the form of conversations. Sidney and Beatrice also refer to it as conversations with purpose (Webb, 1930). The difference between the normal conversation and the interviews is that the interviews are based on objectives (Kvale, 1996, Rubin and Rubin, 1995). However in some cases, it tends to be little resemblance to everyday conversation.  

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3.5 Research Methods 

The ongoing changes in the technology and sociology and anthropology context have emerges the need to find an alternative research method for the management research (Pettigrew, 1990). However in order to find a permanent solution for these challenges new research method needs to be developed to address such complex issues, and for such complexity the qualitative research is essential (Gummesson, 2006, pp. 170-171). The qualitative method is available for the social and human scientist for years (Creswell. J W, 2003). 
Pope and Mays (1995) stated that the qualitative research can accomplish objectives that cannot be met by the other research methods. It aims to answer the question that is related to ‘what,' ‘how' and ‘who' of the phenomena (Green & Thorogood, 2004).  Although the qualitative is difficult (Hitchcock& Hughes, 1995. pp 26) to be defined a generic definition has been formed by Denzin and Lincoln (2005a, p.3) Qualitative research is a "situated activity that locates the observer in the world. It consists of a set of interpretive, material practices that make the world visible. These practices transform the world. They turn the world into a series of representations, including field notes, interviews, conversations, photographs, recordings, and memos to the self". At this level, qualitative research involves an interpretive, naturalistic approach to the world. This means that the qualitative researches study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meaning people bring to them’.
Some of the important features of the qualitative approach are that does not base the analysis based on the researcher experience (Mills, 1959, pp.195-226). Thus, all the gathered data are in the natural setting similar to the actual or real life situation, rather that collecting the information through mail or phone (Miles and Huberman, 1994 .pp 10). Therefore, this is the preferred method for management researches such as social sciences studies such as sociology anthropology, linguistics, and history (Sanday, 1979; Van Maanen, 1988; Manning, 1979; Tuchman, 1994). 
On the other hand, the quantitative research method is emerged in the last three decades (Creswell. J W, 2003). It can be defined as the method that explains phenomena is a numerical data which is later analyzed by mathematically based methods such as statistics (Creswell, 1994; Gary&Airasian, 2000). Hence, the participant's responses are analyzed in a statistical aggregation. Normally for this research close-ended questions are ideal as they can help in identifying the pattern in the participant's responses and understand the participant's reactions.
When discussing the characteristics of the quantitative and qualitative research tools, there are four different research process elements that need to be addressed such as epistemology, theoretical perspective, methodology and methods (Crotty.1998). When conducted a study there are four issues that structure the designs the research, which are the paradigm, what or who will be studied, the strategies used and the selected tool (Denzin and Lincoln, 1998). Both types of research methods are different in terms of their epistemological, theoretical and methodological substructures. The quantitative research method is usually informed by objective epistemology thus it intends to discuss social behaviors by measuring it statistically and analysis the relationship between the variables in a framework that is value free, logical, deterministic. Therefore, there is a distance between the researcher and what is being studied.
However, the qualitative is based on a constructivist epistemology that explores the social reality in a framework that is value based, flexible, holistic and context sensitive. Therefore, the description of the phenomena is from the people perspective who are involved study. Therefore, the researcher builds a close or empathic relationship with the subject that are studied (Bergman, 2008 Denzin&Lincoln,1998, Braakmann &Benetka,2008, Patton.2002). More features are discussed in the below figure no 16.

Source: Glesne & Peshkin (1992); Lincoln & Guba (1985)

3.6 Data collection:

Data was collected using primary and secondary sources. In a primary method, 14 face to face interviews are conducted in a government organization (GHA), the responses were recorded and analyzed. Also, various secondary sources were used to journals, articles, books, and thesis or research work published by various researchers (mentioned in the literature review).

3.7 Research Sample and Instruments used

The in-depth interviews were conducted to collect more information to support the research outcome. 14 interviews conducted face to face in a government organization (GHA). All interviews were in audio recorded however 4 only are audio recorded, and the rest are a transcript. It is important to study that how the people react, why the people act in such way, and research methods can help in generating such information.  The qualitative methods can support the researcher to dig deeper for more information.
A formal email was sent as permission from the university to grant the organization approval for the study to be conducted. Once the approval is receipt, a second email was sent introducing me and explaining the reason for sending the email. The invitation was accepted, and interview dates are discussed over the phone. The duration of the interviews was agreed as 40 minutes. A Summary of the participants is as follows.
Interviewee     Department     Job Title    Age Range
P1    Human Resources     Senior Head of HR Unit     40-50
P2    Human Resources     Head of Unit (Employees Services)    30-40
P3    Human Resources     Head of Planning &Training Unit     30-40
P4    Human Resources     Head of Entitlement & Services Section     30-40
P5    Human Resources     Head of Salaries Unit     30-40
P6    Human Resources     Head of Planning Unit     30-40
P7    Human Resources     Head of Recruitment     40-50
P8    Human Resources     Recruitment and Planning Officer     30-40
P9    Human Resources     HR Officer - Generalist     20-30
P10    Human Resources     Training Officer     20-30
P11    Human Resources     Recruitment Administrator     20-30
P12    Human Resources     Recruitment Administrator     30-40
P13    Human Resources     Administrator Scrutinize     20-30
P14    Human Resources     Administrator Recruitment Unit    20-30

3.8 Data analysis technique

Data was analyzed using the findings and conclusion of the following studies conducted in similar area in UAE and by personal judgments and observations from the interviews conducted. 
In a study conducted by Towers Watson and Oxford Economics (Talent 2021), it was found that the Middle East will grow more than 13 percent in terms of volume of talent that will be demanded the companies in that region. The rapid globalisation and changing models of business have impacted the organisations and the needs of people. With all these changes happening, the demand for more talent is growing in UAE too. The companies need to address the loyalty of employees and their engagement so that they don't export their skills to other markets and the competitors. New skills are required at the time when business is transforming. Transformation happens as companies rethink about their global strategies, they wish to change their business models, and they take different organisational approaches. While transforming, the company need to reposition the skills of employees and manage the varied talents across all seniority levels. Organisations also address the miss-match between the talents within the company. In this developed world, talent shortages are persisting especially in the managerial and technical areas and thus companies have to think more explicitly about whether to outsource the work, offshore the employees or retrain the workers. The source of talents and expectations related to the requirements of talent is also evolving. The emphasis to work in different countries has increased because of the career that people take up. There is a shift in the place where the talent works and the way he works; there is the higher frequency of alternate work schedules and locations of work that may also include virtual workplaces.
Hay group which is a popular company has a separate policy for talent management. The company says that the cost per employee with high potential is huge. The business of leadership and development is also costly (, 2016). Whatever the company invests in the talent of people, it does not get proper returns. To earn proper ROI, the companies must assure the development is building the capabilities of people that are required to fill most critical roles in the organizations. Organization poorly manages the talent when they don't understand the roles of people properly and for what development experiences they are destined. This leads to wastage of development budget, and the high potentials are not prepared adequately. Hay group has designed a mission critical career path which helps in targeting the right people for right jobs. Future leaders are built who possess correct skill set required at the right time. This enables the people to get clear about what roles are critical in the company, what are the career accelerators that prepare employees for some roles quickly and efficiently. To manage the talent in an effective manner, the company has identified destination roles which are the most important roles to drive the strategy of the company; they have defined the career experiences of people and the skills that are required to move people in these key roles. The company has mapped the career paths which helped the high potentials to move smoothly from earlier roles to destination roles. The company has created some development programs to support the employees with highest potential to move on their journey of a career (, 2016).
The government organizations in UAE have been facing a war over talent, but when TM occurs, the competitive advantage of companies in the market improves. Hence, it is necessary for companies to transform and make use of TM extensively. It can retain the talents by rewarding them appropriately, providing those with benefits, identifying and developing proper career paths for them and by doing proper succession planning.  Companies need to conduct a performance management exercise so that different issues can be identified and individual talents can be determined too. There are various recruitment events in which more talent can be attracted like career fairs which also helps in increasing the pool for selection of high potential candidates.
These were the main researches that were reviewed to reach the findings of the current study and the interview analysis is discussed in the data analysis part where some graphs and bar charts were used to display the results.

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3.9 Limitations

Although this study yielded some preliminary findings, there are some limitations of this study. 

  • The first limitation is the concerns the organization due to the sensitivity of the information and since there were under restructuring progress. Hence there was lack of trust and willingness to share information in details as this might be the first time for them to have someone from university. However, in each interview I have given a brief of my study and the purpose of it which at least helped me to conduct the interviews with all the participants. 

  • The second limitation is the number of participants were small as it did not make sense to interview other department which are not related to the subject I am studying.

  • The third limitation was the language there was a language barriers as all the participants wanted the interviews to be conducted in Arabic so I had to translate the questions and in which more explanation of the term was required, in the Arabic language the term talent have many different meaning in which it had confused the participants while answering the questions. The third limitation was the term Talent Management is new in the UAE hence there are many organizations which are not yet familiar with this term in which this effected the outcome of the study. 


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