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Title: Developing a framework to facilitate a culture for continuous improvement within nonprofit organisations : the case of Saudi Arabia
Author: Almaiman, Sulaiman
ISNI:       0000 0004 7973 1016
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2018
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Current research in the field of continuous improvement shows that organisational culture influences the likelihood of organisations succeeding in their mission to continuously improve. However, little has been done to investigate how organisational culture can actually foster continuous improvement. Particular aspects of organisational culture seem to be associated with successful continuous improvement. Yet, despite the apparent interest in the tools and techniques of continuous improvement, these practices have not yet been fully determined. While the for-profit sector, suffering from exhaustive competition, would be glad to discover these aspects, it is a major concern that nonprofit organisations cannot survive without continuous improvement, as they too need to respond dynamically to the rapid and dramatic changes in today's world. This research asks what procedures and interventions would facilitate a culture of continuous improvement in nonprofit organisations. As the case study for this research, the Saudi nonprofit sector has been chosen, as little empirical research exists on continuous improvement in developing countries. Additional factors for choosing Saudi Arabia are that the country's economic growth rate is increasing, and the ambitious "Saudi Vison 2030" aims to expand and enable the nonprofit sector to increase its impact on the nation's well-being and economy. This exploratory study adopts an interpretive paradigm whereby reality is socially constructed and treated as subjective, consisting of multiple entities that can be explored from the perspectives of the research participants. A grounded research methodology and an action research approach focused on an issue to bring to light the cultural features that foster continuous improvement. Grounded theory was the chosen approach for collecting and analysing the qualitative data; thus, the theory that were constructed was grounded in the data themselves. Qualitative data were suggested as appropriate for answering the research question. Thirty-one interviews in thirteen nonprofit organisations yielded data which, when analysed revealed six themes. These themes were then returned to the participants through self-assessment surveys to gauge their organisation's proximity to the ideal position. After that, six proposed interventions were developed to help organisations to shift gradually to the ideal position of a continuous improvement culture. These interventions were developed from the basis of the literature and focus group discussions. Finally, a conceptual framework was synthesised to visualise the impact of an organisation's culture on its continuous improvement and to show how this impact could be achieved through similar intervention. The originality of this work comes from the fact that while Saudi Arabia is attracting intense interest from the international research community, little research has been done on continuous improvement practices there, in part because Saudi nonprofit organisations may have been hesitant in granting access to foreign researchers. This study offers one of the first "inside views" of Saudi nonprofit organisations with reliable data, focusing particularly on continuous improvement.
Supervisor: McLaughlin, Patrick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: continuous improvement ; nonprofit organisations ; Saudi Arabia ; operations management ; grounded theory ; qualitative research ; social constructivism ; organisational culture