Dubai Airports’ Strategic Human Resource Management


There are many challenges in human resources management, especially in terms of strategic managing and administering employees. The objective of this paper is to discuss various human resources management concepts related to finding an agreement between the organizational goals and daily practice of the human resources professionals, using the example of such a Dubai-based organization as Dubai Airports.

Alongside the theoretical background that is based on the literature review, the paper is to analyze the various possibilities of the practical application of human resources administering approaches, as well as to evaluate how those practices align with the strategic goals of the organization.

Thus, the theoretical framework obtained from the scholarly resources and reviewed literature would be accompanied by the analysis of the practical implementation of the various human resources management in the context of Dubai Airports’ strategies. The paper’s objective is also to consult the human resources management research methodology in order to evaluate and define the specifics of human resources management in Dubai in general and in the case of Dubai Airports in particular. Overall, the paper is to provide a comprehensive analysis of available data concerning human resources management in Dubai Airports and recommendations concerning interventions in further strategies for managing human resources based on the analysis.

Review of Literature

Various scholarly sources offer different approaches and concepts behind strategic human resource management. According to Becker and Huselid (2006), the reason behind some ambiguous interpretations of strategic human resources management, despite growing attention to it from the researchers of various scientific fields, is the main challenges of defining concepts related to human resources management lie in the sphere of empirical work. In other words, the empirical implications of the theoretical developments in the field of managing human capital should be considered a priority (Becker & Huselid, 2006).

Huselid and Becker (2010) expand on their idea by stating that empirical aspects of the strategic implementations of a new approach to human resources management should be monitored both on micro and macro levels in order to promote workforce differentiation. In such a way, it helps to actualize one of the major concepts in human resources management, which is the idea of strategic capabilities (Huselid & Becker, 2010). The more diversified human capital is, the more likely it is that employees would be able to realize their potential and strategic capabilities, thereby helping to achieve organizational goals.

Randeree (2009) also supports the idea that practical implementation of managerial strategies in the sphere of human resources management is of high significance. However, the author also puts an emphasis on the specifics of strategic human resources management in the UAE. According to Randeree (2009), supposedly, one of the ways to implement successful management with the consideration for cultural specifics is the policy of strategic nationalization. However, Randeree (2009) claims that such policy in “has been dogged with difficulties in implementation from its inception as it faces seemingly insurmountable hurdles, such as a demographic imbalance caused by a high proportion of expatriates working in the region” (Randeree, 2009, p. 71).

Thus, it is important for managers to consider difficulties that might undermine the implementation of a certain strategy of managing human capital in a given situation. For that reason, Nataraja and Al-Aali (2011) suggest that the best way to overcome those challenges is to make an emphasis on competitiveness. According to the authors, human resources management should rely on a set of conceptual approaches, “such as operational strategies, generic strategies, intensive strategies, and diversification strategies” (Nataraja & Al-Aali, 2011).

Buller and McEvoy (2012) explore the idea of the strategic role of human capital management in producing certain advantages in a competitive market. Moreover, the authors claim that the ways of applying human resources management could align “organizational, group and individual factors with the organization’s strategy” (Buller, P. F., & McEvoy, 2012, p. 43). Among the particular tools for such alignment Buller and McEvoy recognize changes in organizational culture and arrangement of corporate competencies and norms, as well as using human resources approaches for promoting personal motivation among the employees of a particular firm.

According to Knight (2013), one of the main challenges underpinning strategic human resources management is the need to incorporate a general strategic plan. In order to do that, managers are not only to adapt to the changes structurally but also to align the goals of human resources plans with the organizational objectives based on the desired future for a particular company (Knight, 2013).

Continuing the discussion of the tools for alignment of the human resources management with organizational goals, Wright and McMahan (2011), suggest focusing on the concept of job satisfaction and stability. In many ways, personality traits act as important aspects of human capital management. Therefore, according to Wright and McMahan (2011), organizational objectives should consider the specifics of employees, and “specific human capital characteristics are more relevant to the particular job at hand” (p. 97). Hence, employee-oriented strategies of human resources management can enhance overall organizational performance by increasing the level of job satisfaction.

Human resources management also has a significant role in incorporating organizational resilience (Lengnick-Hall, Beck, & Lengnick-Hall, 2011). In other words, by means of using specific characteristics capacities of the human capital in terms of background, cognition, and behavior and relying on contextual circumstances, managers can adapt to changing markets more effectively.

Considering the fact that diversification among the human capital plays a significant role, Stephenson and Ali-Knight (2010) suggest that the rapid development of the tourism industry in Dubai has a substantial impact both on the business environment and on the society on the whole (Stephenson, & Ali-Knight, 2010). On the one hand, there are some social concerns regarding a number of foreign workforces and the intensity of cultural exchange.

However, on the other hand, the differentiation among human resources allows companies both in public and in private sectors to be more adaptive to a rapidly changing market. In the case of Dubai Airports, diversification of the workforce plays a significant role in supporting the company as a strong competitor at the international level. Therefore, it is also important to make an account for the specifics of a particular industry.

Suliman and Kathairi (2013) believe that there are some aspects of the working process unique for each company, such as job commitment and organizational justice. Those aspects drastically affect overall company performance on a number of levels (Suliman & Al Kathairi, 2013). However, in many ways, they can be influenced and enhanced by strategic human resources management. Employee-oriented approaches tend to be effective in increasing job satisfaction and, therefore, loyalty and commitment to the organization, as well as professional motivation.


From the point of view of methodology, the main objective of assessing the strategies used in human resources management is to evaluate correlations between the major organizational goals and daily human resources practice. In the case of Dubai Airports, the strategic plan developed for the company requires the analysis from the standpoint of behavioral and cultural perspectives and the adaptation of human resources strategies to the organizational change associated with the expansion of the company.

Analysis of Data

In terms of human resources management scope, it is important to note that merely Dubai Airports provide jobs for 3,400 new employees a year, whereas the aviation industry, in general, supports 250,000 jobs, which is 19% of Dubai employment (Strategic Plan 2020, 2016). According to the strategic plan that was designed to represent the company’s further expansion up to 2020, there will be a “60% increase in a number of stands from 144 to 230” (Strategic Plan 2020, 2016, p. 29). Thus, the company will also require recruiting and selecting a new workforce to attend to an increasing number of passengers.


Overall, with the emphasis on practical implementation, human resources management would become more consistent with bigger themes of managerial strategies. In the context of the competitive market, it is important for expanding companies in general and Dubai Airports, in particular, to adjust to organizational goals and gain an advantage by means of increasing work commitment and job satisfaction.


In order to sustain the quality of human capital management in the context of organizational change, Dubai Airports should consider some interventions in line with the cognitive and cultural background of employees in order to adjust their behavior and corporate culture to organizational goals. The workforce in Dubai Airports is diversified in terms of cultural perspectives and backgrounds. Such differentiation among the employees allows companies both in public and in private sectors to be more adaptive to a rapidly changing market, but strategic human resources management would require interventions of more employee-oriented approaches to increase their motivation and not to lose commitment in the context of organizational change.


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Buller, P. F., & McEvoy, G. M. (2012). Strategy, Human Resource Management and Performance. Human Resource Management Review, 22(1), 43-56.

Huselid, M. A., & Becker, B. E. (2010). Bridging Micro and Macro Domains: Workforce Differentiation and Strategic Human Resource Management. Journal of Management. 37(2), 421-428.

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