Aim, objectives and feasibility of the dissertation
1.1 Background Information
Qatar, which has been a member of The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC) since 1961, and is also among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC), is considered to have been significantly negatively influenced by the global decline in
price for petroleum products following the market glut experienced over the recent past (Qatar
Oil & Gas Report, 2015). This is attributable to the fact that, there has been a decline in oil prices
over the recent past, which has far reaching effects on the country’s economy as well as
economies of the regional nations and members of GCC. For instance, according to Milmo
(2016) there was a decline of oil prices by 70% globally in 2015, which had been orchestrated by
increased oil production by the leading oil producers in the Middle East and GCC members,
which to a considerable extent shaken the country’s economy. As a result, this situation has
caused the country to operate below its proposed national budget threshold, which has seen the
country budget run up a deficit of approximately $13 billion, a financial figure that if compared
to the economy of Qatar as a whole constitutes about 0.8% of the country’s GDP (Breunig &
TseChern, 2015; Kulkarni, 2015; Milmo, 2016). Milmo (2016) emphasise that, despite the low
level of GDP indebtedness caused by this fall in oil prices; it can potentially have an impact of an
economy that is not fully diversified to reduce dependence on O+G industry such as Qatar
compared to countries such as Spain, Greece and Italy that have extensively diversified
The Qatari economy is largely dependent on oil and gas. Nonetheless, the CIA Yearbook
(2016) explained that there has been significant growth in sectors such as financial services,
manufacturing, and construction, thus lifting the non-oil sectors to at least half of the country’s
nominal GDP. The CIA Year Book (2016) also indicated that oil and gas have helped the
country to become the global leaderin per-capita income. In addition, Qatar has the world’s
lowest unemployment rate (0.4 percent) thanks to the robustness of the oil and gas sector. It has
also been reported that the Qatari oil reserves are in excess of 25 trillion barrels. According to the
CIA Year book (2016), at the current levels, this reserve amount should be enough to present the
country with sustained economic benefits for the next 56 years.
For an economy that is developing such as that of Qatar, with an overreliance on oil and
gas as well as their subsequent products as the core drivers of the economy, there is a high
likelihood that prices will decline at the slightest economic shock and will be replicated by the
neighbouring countries in the region (Milmo, 2016). This phenomenon would equally result in a
decline in the prices of related inputs that used to produce these products, leading to far-reaching
effects that negatively impact the economy as well as performance of companies operating in the
oil and gas sector (Milmo, 2016).
According to the United Arab Emirates Oil & Gas Report (2015), despite the vast wealth
that Qatar has accumulated because of its oil abundance, the country is still considered a
developing country mainly due to the fact that there has been no wide diversification of the
economy as observed in developed nations. According to Byun and Hollander (2015), Qatar
scores poorly in terms of the Gini Index, a measure of relative wealth equality and poverty, in
which the index ranges from zero (0) to one (1), whereby the former corresponds to perfect
equality (where income is equal for everyone) and the latter corresponds to perfect inequality
(where the entire income is held by one person while the income of the rest equates to zero). In
this case Qatar scores 0.41, which is high compared to developed countries that in most cases
tend to have a Gini Index score of approximately 0.3 meaning that Qatar has to implement the
necessary measures to make sure that income levels among its population become more equally
distributed (Byun & Hollander, 2015). This scenario may has far reaching impact on the
performance of employees in oil and gas companies within an organisation context, which
usually includes the departmental, managerial as well as leadership levels (Al Muftah & Lafi,
2011; Aguinis, 2012; Al-Harthy, 2013; Thao & Hwang, 2015).
As the CIA Yearbook (2016) determined, the rate of employment in Qatar is the best in
the world. The manufacturing sector now provides many employment opportunities. For
example, according to the Statistica report of workforce composition in 2013 the agriculture
sector accounted for 1.4% of the workforce, whereas services and industry sectors accounted for
46.8% and 51.6% respectively (Statistica, 2016). In aggregate, 42 % of current employment in
Qatar is dominated by foreigners, with most of them working in the manufacturing sector.
According to Statistica (2016), in the manufacturing and production industry, the oil and gas
sector accounts for the major employment part. According to Statistica (2016), of the 51.6%
manufacturing industry jobs, 91% are found in the oil and industry sector. In addition, at least
half of the current workers in this sector are Qataris. The balance is made up of foreigners from
different parts of the world.
According to Al Muftah and Lafi (2011), in recent times a significant number of
organisations have become fully aware of the importance of employee performance, which has
led them to devise ways that are appropriate in increasing employee performance. In addition,
efforts in finding out and implementing the ways and/or strategies through which high
performance levels among the company employees can be attained has become one of the
fundamental practises and decisive factors pursued by most successful organisations (Lam, Yik
& Schaubroeck, 2012; Thao & Hwang, 2015).
Moreover, irrespective of declining global oil and gas prices, the performance of
employees within an organisation often stems from managerial practises adopted by a particular
oil and gas company. For instance, the mission of a company management with regards to its
human capital is, usually, to get the employees together with the purpose of accomplishing
corporate goals and objectives through efficient and effective utilisation of available resources
(Mathis & Jackson, 2011; Northouse, 2013). Manpower or employees’ performance can be
substantially boosted through heightened efforts towards promoting factors that are fundamental
in enhancing the employees’ job satisfaction, creativity, motivational level, as well as ensuring
that the workplace environment is comfortable and conducive, among other factors (Armstrong
& Murlis, 2004; Bartram & Casimir, 2007; Appiah, 2012).
Narehanet al. (2014) noted that the prevailing social demands and economic conditions
have drastically changed the role of work throughout the world. This assertion is made with
reference to the previous role of work, which was primarily done as a matter of survival and
necessity (Fedor & Rensvold, 2012; Das et al., 2013). Throughout the evolution of human
resources capital, the role of work has progressively changed, together with the components of
the workforce (Armstrong & Murlis, 2004). For instance, in today’s workforce, work is not only
considered a necessity, but also employees also consider it to provide them with personal
satisfaction. As a result, the management of oil and gas companies should strive to ensure
appropriate motivation and leadership methods are adopted to achieve optimal performance from
employees (Webb, Jeffrey & Schulz, 2011). As such, it is important to devise strategies to
acknowledge that the industry is comprised of diversity, considering that almost half of the
aggregate Qatari workforce and that of the oil and gas industry is formed by foreigners. Thus,
any motivation and leadership strategy should be tailored to meet the various demands as
manifested by the diversity.
There is an ongoing belief among the Westerners there are four main groups – ranked in
order of importance, if not value and size. First, Qatari male citizens; second Western World ex-
pats; third, office and shop workers from developing world countries like the Philippines and
finally, the road and building constructions workers, largely from the Indian sub-continent.
Then, of course, Westerner’s perceptions are that in all groups, women are at least one or two
layers ‘lower’ in terms of Qatari society. Indeed, the O+G industry is mainly comprised of men as
opposed to women. For instance, according to the Labor Force Sample Survey 2014 published
by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics in 2015 showed that, out of 1.7 million
workforce 24.1% worked in the O+G industry in the following composition: 12.2% Qatari
males, 3.4% Qatari females, 6.1% Non-Qatari males and 2.4% Non-Qatari females. Moreover,
the Labor Force Sample Survey 2014 show that relative distribution of the labour force in O+G
industry at different levels was as follows: among the Qatari 56% were highly skilled, 31% were
skilled, 7% had limited skill and 6% were unskilled; whereas among the expatriates 16% were
highly skilled, 16% were skilled, a colossal 47% had limited skill and 21% were unskilled. As
such, this shows that Qataris often work at higher levels while most expatriates occupy lower
levels in masses meaning that they are the people who carry out the bulk of the processes that
take place in the O+G industry. It is often determined that the Qatari men, unlike women, have
the required strength to carry out the mostly demanding tasks involved in the O+G industry.
According to Milmo (2016), expatriates from the western world come second in the list as
they are perceived as having the right skills and knowledge to motivate the men to execute the
industrial tasks. In addition, expatriate workers from the developing world usually Asia and
Africa are usually not regarded as highly as those from the western world, but they seem to
massively occupy the lower levels and do the menial jobs that require little or no skills within the
O+G industry, essentially meaning that they play an imperative role to drive the industry as a
whole. However, in their countries the level of industrialization is low, meaning that they mostly
have knowledge in administrative tasks. Thus, when they come to Qatar, they are seen as
necessary to play a supportive role to their western counterparts and indigenous Qatari.
According to De Bel-Air (2014), the composition of foreign workers in Qatar by selected
nationalities or countries of citizenship in 2013 were as follows: Indians (31.2%), Nepalese
(23.5%), Philippines (11.4%), Bangladeshi (9.0%) and others (10.1%). Due to the cultural
diversity across different occupation levels makes it important to develop motivation strategies in
order to improve performance irregardless of where they fall in the priority list. This is because
each of these foreign workers is affected in the same way when it comes to motivational issues
due to the prevailing working conditions in the foreign country and complexity orchestrated by
the cultural diversity of the workforce. Thus, they are all of interest concerning the present
research study to investigate the impact of motivation on performance.
According to Al Muftah and Lafi (2011), work-life programs and benefits is one of the
fundamental ways through which professional and personal goals and objectives among oil and
gas companies’ employees can be attained. Alternatively, the behaviour of individual employees
with regards to attitudes and perceptions also play a significant role in influencing the
performance levels, hence there is need to ensure that the right attitude is maintained through
motivation and appropriate remuneration in order to maintain high efficiency and productivity
(Hellriegel, Slocum & Woodman, 2011; Hu, & Kaplan, 2015). According to Hellriegelet al.
(2012), various factors are attributable to the performance of employees at work place, since
employees’ performance at work place is considered as the way of performing job tasks in
accordance with the stipulated job description. Thus, considering that performance concerns
completion of a task within prescribed boundaries, it is evidently clear that employees’
performance is affected by various factors that ought to be investigated in the context of oil and
gas industry in Qatar. As a result, this research is aimed at identification and measurement of the
level of factors that affect job performance effectiveness among oil and gas companies’
employees in Qatar within the context of an organization at departmental, managerial and
leadership levels. The research will strive to identify the necessary variables including working
environment, motivation, organizational culture, leadership and training. The study is a
quantitative one and it will strive to establish the relationship that exist between the variables
mentioned above and performance of employees in Qatar’s oil and gas industry. From the
perspective of the Westerners, that the Qatari O+G industry is largely controlled and managed by
Westerners, who are very highly paid and have lots of other benefits to motivate them, as
otherwise, who would want to go and live in the midst of a desert, in an alien culture, in
temperatures that are so high year around. This is indeed true, considering that the majority of oil
extracting and exporting firms are headed by manager from the western countries. This claimed
was confirmed by Carroll (2016) who revealed that in every company operating in the Qatari oil
and gas industry, there has to be a manager from the western nations, given that they are
perceived as having high knowledge and skills. Considering the industry’s wealth, these
managers are provided with robust compensation and benefits. Hence, it is apparent that money-
oriented rewards are among the most essential motivators for the western managers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Human capital is among the most important assets that significantly contribute to the
production levels in oil and gas companies (Narehanet al., 2014). Therefore, it is important to
understand how the performance of employees or job behaviour among employees of oil and gas
companies in Qatar assists departments, managements and executive leaders to influence
organizational goals and objectives either positively or negatively. Considering that the
performance of employees is affected by a wide range of workplace factors, this study focuses on
investigating the oil and gas industry scenario in Qatar in order to determine the factors or
variables that affect the performance of employees either positively or negatively. By doing so,
the study will also play a critical role in highlighting how employees’ performance is affected
either positively or negatively by these factors or variables together with the interactions between
them. The variables or factors that have been determined to influence the performance of
employees at workplace in the scenario of oil and gas industry include organization culture,
leadership style, workplace environment, organization structure, financial rewards as well as job
stress. The current study will focus on the junior managers and line employees working in the oil
and gas industry, both Qataris and foreigners. The participants will come from two companies
operating within the sector.
There has been description of these variables in different studies and their influence on
the performance of employees at work place has been confirmed (Hellriegel, Slocum &
Woodman, 2011; Hu, & Kaplan, 2015). An appropriate balance must be achieved between these
variables or factors in order to ensure that oil and gas companies optimally utilise the potential of
their workforce. This is important because, failure to achieve this balance the workforce may
become counterproductive or underutilised leading to a decline in production levels, which
subsequently results to a decline in the company revenues and profitability. Since these variables
or factors can either positively or negatively influence the performance of employees across
sectors, it becomes inevitable to investigate them as well as their interactions to determine the
appropriate combination for optimal performance among employees to be achieved.
1.3 Aims of the Study
Employees’ performance within an organization at various levels such as department,
management and leadership plays a significant role in influencing the company goals and
objectives either positively or negatively. As such, the nature of employee performance provides
the management with an understanding of whether the corporate goals and objectives are clear to
the workers or not. Usually, a positive performance might signify that the employees understand
and that they have a right attitude towards the goals. However, in the case of persistent poor
performance, it becomes perceptible that there is an issue with the manner in which the workers
perceive the goals and objectives. Therefore, motivation is key towards aligning the employee
with the corporate goals and objectives. With people-oriented structure, systems, processes, and
culture, there is a possibility that the employees will be motivated towards attaining the set goals.
A consideration of the oil and gas company scenario, various factors in a work environment
are believed to affect the performance of employees. Therefore, this study aims to focus on the
internal as well as external challenges faced by employees working in oil and gas companies,
especially during the surge of oil and gas prices which has negatively hit Qatar’s economy. The
study will also discuss in details both the internal and external variables that affect the
performance of employees in oil and gas industry in Qatar.
1.4 Research Questions:
- What are the internal factors that affect the performance of employees within oil and gas
companies within developing states such as Qatar in the face of oil price drops?
- What are the external factors that affect the performance of employees within oil and gas
companies’ undeveloped states as a result of the rise of oil price drops?
- What are the approaches that can be employed in solving the internal and external
factors that affect the performance of employees in these companies as a result of drops
in oil prices?
1.5 Research Objectives
The primary objectives of this study include:
- To determine the internal challenges faced by employees working in oil and gas
companies during the surge of oil and gas prices
- To investigate the external problems that workers in the Qatari O+G firms experience in
the face of declining oil and gas prices
- Establish appropriate recommendations and conclusions that identify approaches of
solving the negative impacts of these factors on the performance of employees within
organizations in Qatar.
Apparently, the research objective and questions focus on the background of the falling oil
prices as opposed to the greater internal efficiency of the firm. This is especially so, given
that the fall in the prices have the most influential impact. As such, these outcomes are what
determine the efficiency of the firms in the sector, and the motivational issues among the
employees, consequently. Hence, the focus on oil prices is justified.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study have significances for the body of knowledge on employee
performance as well as business practice. First, from an enterprise perspective it is important for
oil and gas companies to identify factors that affect the performance of employees, which is
essential in helping the companies in this sector to formulate appropriate workforce policies and
guidelines aimed at optimal utilisation of potential, skills, knowledge and expertise of
employees. Thus, through this study a methodological guidance is provided which has a practical
significance towards oil and gas companies in Qatar to correctly develop human capital
management and leadership practises not only at departmental level but also at executive level.
Secondly, the study may enhance employees’ performance awareness among
stakeholders in oil and gas companies including managers and investors in the oil and gas
industry in Qatar and across the world. For example, the research findings from this study may
be of significant assistance to oil and gas industry managers in better understanding and
managing of workforce and employees’ performance and investors may use employees’
performance efficiency as a benchmark of assessing the ability of a company operating in oil and
gas company sector to create value. Also, the study is important in enabling oil and gas
companies in Qatar to better understand the employees’ performance drivers, and have a more
definite and direct understanding of the elements of employees’ performance in order to know
how different elements can be combined for optimal harnessing of companies’ workforce
1.7 Structure of the Dissertation
In overall, the aim of this dissertation is to investigate employees’ performance within an
organization at departmental, managerial and leadership levels at oil and gas companies
operating in Qatar with the aid of survey data gathered at firm level. Following the introduction
as the first chapter, which provides background information about the research topic, aim,
problem statement, objectives as well as significance of the study and the research questions; the
reminder of the dissertation is organized in subsequent chapters as follows. The second chapter
provides the literature review by discussing theoretical basis of the research topic based on
previous studies and also describe the situation of oil and gas companies in Qatar. In this chapter,
also the key terms are introduced in addition to reviewing existing theoretical and empirical
literature on the research topic. The third chapter is the methodology and it describes the
methods adopted to test the hypotheses, and also describes the target population, research sample
and data as well as variables employed in the study. The fourth chapter is the data analysis and
study findings and it presents the study results through analysed data and its interpretation.
Finally, the fifth chapter is the discussion and conclusion and it is concerned with elucidation of
the research findings with reference to findings of previous studies, making of conclusions as
well as highlighting limitations of the study and giving recommendation for future research.
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