Benchmarking national culture and decent work practice indicators in project-based industry: Lessons from United Arab Emirates

Asadullah Khan, Maqsood Sandhu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to benchmark national culture in the context of decent work practices in project-based industry of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This should help in achieving successful short-term migration. The study also aims to validate the decent work practice indicators for Bangladeshi, Chinese, Indian and Pakistani construction labourers working in the UAE. Design/methodology/approach – This study takes an ethnographic approach in its qualitative research methodology. The research involves observational methodology for its data collection during the execution of construction projects, semi-structured interviews to confirm the data collection during observational approach and a narrative methodology for the data collection within the labour camps, grassy fields and town streets. The qualitative data were expressed in quantitative terms to signify statistically the effect of the national culture in the context of decent work practices in this industry. Hence, the research involved triangulation in its data collection and analysis. Findings – The study reveals that the national cultures of the migrant construction labourers in this context are not the same as identified by Geert Hofstede about four decades earlier. It was found that Indians were high in uncertainty avoidance, Pakistani construction labourers were high in masculinity, Bangladeshi construction labourers were low in long-term orientation (LTO) and individualism and Chinese labourers were found to have high individualism and LTO. This study verified decent work practice indicators for Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi construction labourers and identified different decent work practice indicators for Chinese construction labourers in the UAE than Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi construction labourers. Research limitations/implications – The study was limited to the construction labourers in the UAE. The data were collected during observation while execution construction projects and limited to visiting construction labour camps, grassy fields and town streets. Practical implications – The differences in the national culture of the migrant construction labourers and the decent construction practices in the UAE have economic, social and environmental implications for construction labourers in the Arab world, for both migrant sending and receiving countries. Understanding and managing various national cultures and improving prevalent decent work practices would help to improve economic and social condition of the migrant construction labourers and help to arrest the advance of looming health problems. Originality/value – The study identifies the national cultures of the migrant construction labourers in the context of decent work practices in the UAE. Improvement in the decent work practices of the migrant sending countries and the UAE and understanding of the culture of the migrants will help in preparing effective migration policy by both migrant sending and receiving countries. No study was found to have identified national cultures in the context of decent work practices and assessed the need for improvement in this regard.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)490-518
    Number of pages29
    JournalBenchmarking
    Volume23
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 4 2016

    Keywords

    • Bangladesh
    • China
    • Construction industry
    • Decent work
    • Expatriates
    • National culture
    • Pakistan
    • Project management
    • Project-based industry
    • Temporary migrants
    • UAE

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Strategy and Management

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