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Title: Motivation of bank employees and effects of culture in the Islamic banking sector : a case study of Al Rajhi Bank
Author: Al-Wehabie, Abdullah
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 2011
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Motivation has been thoroughly explored by researchers in many social science disciplines, including business studies in general and human resources management in particular. The primary purpose of the research reported here is to investigate how culture affects motivation within the context of Saudi Arabia and its Islamic banking sector, with reference to workers at branches of Al Rajhi Bank in Riyadh. This research adopts an epistemological interpretive perspective. Epistemology is primarily concerned with how we understand the world and our interpretation of what is happening. Thus this research is that of a practical epistemology as it looks at how workers at the bank interpret their lives through daily practice. Thus it has an ultimately practical aim: to make recommendations as to ways in which the Al Rajhi management could improve the motivation and thus the performance of its workforce. A qualitative approach is adopted, drawing on semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with managers, supervisors and employees of the bank. The study examines motivational theories in a practical context with particular reference to major cultural dimensions, especially religion, which is found to play a very important role in the Saudi context. It explores the complex relationship between Islam, culture and gender relations in the workplace. Among the many constraints on this project were that it was impossible for the male researcher to interview female employees face to face, as he did with male respondents. The notion of culture is difficult to integrate within the context of motivation, since they are two separate phenomena that are studied and researched by distinct groups of writers and scholars. The study is nonetheless able to conclude that culture appears to affect motivation at work quite differently in the present context from that to which Western motivational theories apply, largely because culture in Saudi Arabia is closely bound up with religion. Islam influences and defines Saudi culture much more strongly and directly than is accounted for in most Western motivational theories. Indeed, Saudi culture cannot be defined without reference to Islam. Management theories have been developed in the West through empirical studies that have shaped Western notions of motivation and which cannot therefore be straightforwardly applied in the Middle East. This thesis argues that such theories may nonetheless be partially and validly applicable to the Saudi context, in spite of the fact that its culture and society are dominated by Islamic values. This research contributes to existing work in the management field on motivation and culture. An extensive body of knowledge relating to these two topics has been identified and coordinated in the process. This, it is envisaged, will inform organisational policies in the Saudi banking system. It is anticipated that the study will help to achieve a degree of understanding of motivation at work that are applicable to the Saudi Islamic banking sector.
Supervisor: Thursfield, Denise Sponsor: Government of Saudi Arabia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business