Case Study on Labour Market Regulatory Authority

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04.09.2019
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Working Environment within a Project: a Case Study on LMRA Project at the Kingdom of Bahrain

Abstract

The presented venture is a proposal paper that highlights the aspects of communication in a project. It uses the Bahrainisation process as a case study. The case involves recruitment practices that aim to change the composition of the nationalities of people working in the country. Labour Market Regulations Authority (LMRA) has been tasked with the responsibility to seek for other stakeholders. The group has already identified the private sector association and learning institutions specialized in training. To support the study, the paper utilizes the works of different scholars, who expressed the need to have effective communication within a project. Most researchers have identified effective communication within organizations and projects during their implementations as a crucial requirement. The paper provides an outlook into the works of different scholars on similar areas of project management. It assesses the different strategies of project management as it attempts to evaluate the actual role played by communication. It discusses the phases of the project life cycle, the different levels of communication in each phrase, and the importance of the roles in the entire project. The primary assumptions are benchmarked with the work of other scholars. The main objective of the present research is to determine the extent, to which communication impacts the success or failure of a project. It also aims to determine the interactions that contribute to effective communication, when more than two organizations are involved in one project. The paper proposes the use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The data obtained is to be analyzed using a two-way ANOVA statistical tool. Further, it highlights some of the limitations that the research team expects in the areas of research methodologies and the fieldwork. However, the project aims to establish the foreseeable and necessary remedies to address the limitations. Finally, the paper provides a detailed schedule to complete the proposed research.

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Introduction and Background Information

Communication is one of the most important social aspects. It is a practice that occurred in the period when man began to form social circles. Over the years, it has been refined and developed into many forms, often characterizing a certain group of people. Communication has evolved from primitive form to a sophisticated process of information sharing from one entity to the other. People become more integrated due to the changing social milieu because individuals from different backgrounds work towards similar goals. Thus, the role of communication changed from its basic goal of passing information from one person to the other to a complex and highly convoluted aspect of human life. Organizations have identified the need to ensure a smooth communication process to enhance the movement of information on the individual, department, and organizational levels. The modern organizational structure transcends the internal environment and is usually multi-storeyed. Communication repeats the structure of the organization, prompting two approaches through which information flows. The first one is horizontal communication, and the second one is vertical communication.

Vertical communication involves the movement of information from one level of employees to the other (Barnlund 2008). Typically, different levels of management create and operate the organization. The command starts from the top most managers, usually the board of directors and the chief executive. The decision making should involve all management levels in order to make the entire organization participate in strategies. When the top managers make a decision and pass orders to junior managers and further, the lower-tier employees usually do not feel attached to the decision and do not have the passion and responsibility.

Communication within organizations helps disseminate the values, mission, and vision of a given entity (Lock 2007). Every organization prides itself on a certain unique culture that gives ground to anchor its operations. The need to communicate the values, mission, and vision has been highlighted and documented. Employees have to understand the course of their organization and the importance of certain procedures are processes. The understanding makes the employees easier to manage; in addition, it provides them with the attachment to the organization and its goals.

Project management draws people from the comfort of normal working conditions (Cattani, Ferriani, Frederiksen & Florian 2011). It usually runs within timelines for each activity of a project on a limited budget. The strict adherence to both time and resources leads to an increased need for efficiency and effectiveness. Communication forms the basis of the two attributes. Passing of information between employees, either across the same level or within different levels of management, is vital (Barnlund 2008). Horizontal communication enables employees of the same level to articulate successfully until they achieve their objectives. A section of a project involves many subsections, which are carried out by many people at different times. Eventually, the elements must combine to have a compact and intertwined section. Since the subsections are usually run independently, the need for communication between employees in different departments is crucial. Communication ensures that the elements fit together and that the project comes out as a whole rather than parts. On the other hand, communication between levels of management ensures that the project guidelines are followed (Cattani et al 2011). It enhances leadership and passing of information from the top managers to the junior employees. The phenomenon determines the recruitment process, motivation, and punitive measures. The leadership of the project is based on horizontal and vertical communication. It provides guidance and ensures that the team focuses on the objectives of the entire project rather than the sections they handle at any given time (Barnlund 2008).

Labour Market Regulations Authority (LMRA) in Bahrain is a government agency that operates at the national level. The organization has commenced a number of projects in the recent past. Bahrain is one of the Arab countries that employ a large number of expatriates. While the expatriates help to overcome many challenges within the labor market, the government has been trying to complete a massive exercise of Bahrainisation. It involves the recruitment of locals in different positions both in the private and public sectors. The Labour Market Regulations Authority is tasked with the responsibility of changing the composition of the labor market in the country. One of their main developments in recent years was the Vocational Standards project launched in August 2015 by Jameel bin Mohammed Ali Humaidan, who is the labor minister. The project aims at improving the qualification standards of Bahraini nationals to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary competencies to compete against expatriates successfully. The project responds to the need to increase the employability of the Bahrainis.

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The execution of a project is multi-storied. It requires a high level of integration between internal and external stakeholders. It not only involves the government and the training institution but also engages the general public. In a complex project, communication is vital; it must be executed across all levels and in all directions. The mode of communication is an indicator of progress, and a way to provide directions over the course of action. The project is a long-term endeavor. Therefore, it requires systematic segmentation to ensure that the goals are achievable within the budget and timelines. The process of Bahrainisation should achieve its goals in the shortest time frame; thus, the current project is intensive. It bases on concrete and highly practical ideas. One of the foundations is the interaction between agencies and employees in LMRA. It enables them to compare progress in different areas of public interest and eventually determine the direction of the project. Moreover, the project involves tutors in all levels of education institutions, as well as data managers in the labor ministry. There are also data collectors, the ministry, training institutions, and representatives of the citizens, who would benefit from the program. Finally, the project attracts the general public, who are the main target of the project, as the government tries to ensure the recruitment of their nationals in the country. The current report will seek to determine the impact of horizontal communication on a project. It will assess the role of communication between employees of the Bahrain Labour Ministry’s project of raising the vocational training standards amongst the Bahraini nationals.

Justification of the Project

Project management is a concept that has gained popularity over the years. Modern organizational management involves the division of its operations into timelines, objectives, and aims within given periods. The model is common in government institutions, where the strategic plans run as periodic projects. The Labour Market Regulations Authority (LMRA) has outlined its project plans, objectives, and goals to work towards their achievement. While some projects have been successful, many have also failed to materialize and meet the targets. Success or failure is usually measured using the comparison of the outcome against the aims and objectives. It is also vital to determine whether the project followed the timelines provided as well as the budgetary allocation. Once a project has been completed, the analysis follows to ensure that mistakes are not repeated in the future and the positive attributes transcend to the next project. Despite the number of different factors that influence the success or failure of a project, communication is one of the leading contributions. The impact of different forms of communication remains vital. The communication impact within the organization and the project is crucial, but the extent of its value remains unknown. The current research attempts to determine the exact impact that communication has on the execution stage of a project.

Literature Review

Paul and Dinsmore (2005) noted that every project has three main stages that make it a complete cycle. They include planning and initiation, implementing and monitoring, and closure and evaluation. Each of the steps is vital to the success of the entire project. During the first stage of planning and initiation, stakeholders conceptualize the scope of the project, identify the goals and objectives and clearly map them. Then, they create a clear definition of the expected output of the project, while also identifying the required competencies (Paul & Dinsmore 2005). The activities are followed by the recruitment of the project team, a roadmap of then expected work throughout the project. A tool known as a work breakdown structure is created, and timelines for completion of every step of the project are identified. The team should allocate time and monetary estimates and assign tasks and responsibilities (Lock 2007). Finally, the methods of executing the project are drawn.

Cattani et al (2011) appreciated the need for communication in the planning phase. The first members of the project team are the decision-makers, who would eventually determine the activities during the project. Lock (2007) noted only through communication the ideas, scope, and objectives are set. The initial meetings take place in boardrooms; thus, they are deliberated in formal settings (Lock 2007). At the same time, the main members of the group are able to recruit new members who would eventually execute most of the work under the guidance of the primary team (Cattani et al 2011). From the beginning, the project bases upon a clear communication strategy, which is strengthened by the identification of the key stakeholders. In research carried out by Paul and Dinsmore (2005), the recognition of stakeholders is convoluted. Most projects have main stakeholders, who form its basis. Moreover, they also have new stakeholders entering the team during all phases (Lock 2007). Some people join the project midway and remain in it over the course, while others leave when their designated roles are exhausted. The core team determines the required stakeholders and the length of their involvement through effective communication. The meetings and deliberations reap articulated resultant projects. Through regular consultations, the important details are considered, remedies to otherwise complex details are devised, and contingencies are drawn (Lock 2007).

The second phase of implementation involves measures to control time, cost, and the quality of outputs, as well as identifying the milestones for future evaluation (Lock 2007). Regular intervals constitute the best strategies to monitor a project, while shorter periods are favored to increase the accuracy of achievements. It also enables the project employees to measure the rate of success and adopt contingency measures, if a section of the project faces challenges. The activities ensure that the project is on course towards achieving the set goals and objectives. The phase also includes reporting to the different stakeholders in the internal or external environment. In case the situation demands, the management team may change the strategy of implementing the project (Cattani et al 2011).

The implementation level reflects the planning stage. However, the difference between the two is that the first stage is theoretical, while the second is practical. Therefore, the common practice is to have changes in operations during the implementation stage. Paul and Dinsmore (2005) noted that project blueprints are rarely executed as planned, because the unforeseen issues may change the situations. Thus, without good communication practice, the abrupt changes might confuse and disorient the employees. To avoid potential failures, the project initiation must have an elaborate communication structure to enable it to stand the test of practicability. Therefore, communication should become a primary aspect of the project management team from the beginning.

The allocation of resources to a given project always determines its course. Inappropriate resource management has negative effects. Under allocation causes scarcity, while over allocation result in wastefulness (Paul & Dinsmore 2005). The management of time and monetary resources is an important aspect of any project. Cattani et al (2011) noted that the primary aim of any project is to achieve the objectives within the defined timelines and set budgetary allocations. The combination of maintaining high-quality standards, keeping the budget within limits, and following the desired timelines result from intricate and effective use of available resources. The proper resource utilization stems from manpower (Paul & Dinsmore 2005). Communication ensures that harmony and knowledge over the entire organization and project correspond to resource usage. The individuals in the team are aware of the mission, vision, and aims of the project, while they understand their roles and responsibilities. The potential of the workforce can be realized through communication and motivation. The core values of an organization are the best guide to ensuring that the conduct of employees during work corresponds to the goals. Therefore, the important aspects must be well disseminated to the employees as a vital part of the project management. Thus, the value of communication places it high on the project management strategy list (Cattani et al 2011).

The third phase involves closure and evaluation. The results of the project require documentation for the archive to be referenced in the future. The phase also enables the project team to determine their achievements through the evaluation of the project outcomes as compared to the initial goals and objectives. The evaluation process weights the projected timelines and costs against the actual resources taken to complete the project. The approach presents the best period to determine the success or failure of a team. In case of a failure, the management identifies and communicates the causes to the rest of the project employees to improve the future results. In case of success, the team adopts the good attributes for use in potential projects. The communication of results requires effective channels to reach the targeted audience.

Despite the fact that the third phase is the main evaluation stage, quality control is conducted continuously. Project management requires performance by phases. When the team evaluates the tasks, the possibility of making mistakes is lower. Cattani et al (2011) noted that continuous assessment determines the eventual project outcome. While the assessment is vital in running a project, it is equally important to ensure that the right communication on each stage of the project follows the activity (Paul & Dinsmore 2005). The continuous assessment improves resource utilization. Moreover, the lessons learned in one stage contribute to the next stage. Thus, the assessment results in one section should be communicated to the entire team to learn the pitfalls and avoid them in future stages. Lock (2007) concluded that the final evaluation of a project may ensure that future ventures run better, while the sectional evaluation tracks the effectiveness of the present project.

Research has shown that the level of awareness in the communities determines the success or failure of a project (Lock 2007). The performance of employees at their workplaces is directly related to their feelings about work, their employers, and fellow employees. If any of the important aspects do not fulfill the employee, then their morale is low and performance decline. Thus, it is vital to ensure that the supportive environment stimulates the workplace (Lock 2007). One of the best ways to ensure that a workplace is safe and conducive is the communication strategy. Communication completes the goal of passing information between employees and employers regarding their work on. Moreover, the employees also share important information regarding their welfare (Cattani et al 2011). Research has identified that personal communication improves the welfare of the employee, motivates them to better work, and intensifies their commitment to the organization. Further, the process of making decisions regarding a project through communication channel improves with a personal edge (Lock 2007). Employees feel that they have more responsibility; thus, they invest more time and sacrifice more energy towards ensuring that the project succeeds. Through communication, employees are able to forward their suggestions for the decision-makers. If the management recognizes their proposals, the workers feel appreciated and responsible (Paul & Dinsmore 2005).

Interagency projects are more challenging as compared to a project being implemented by a single agency. The latter has employees familiar with the work terms, who share similar points of view. The goals and aims are common, and the method of execution is usually analogous. On the other hand, Lock (2007) noted the different scenario for interagency project management. Horizontal communication cuts across organizations, which face different circumstances and have dissimilar mandates (Cattani et al 2011). When working on a similar project, the organizations must find a common way of sharing instructions and any information. A common management team that comprises of the participating stakeholders is usually a good remedy for a task, although the performance increases with communication flow. The stakeholders pass necessary information without barriers between employees or managers. Paul and Dinsmore (2005 noted that communication between employees has a positive effect on a given project because they implement the strategy.

Research Questions

The aim of the current dissertation is to determine the role of communication between employees in project management on the basis of a case study of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA). It also aims to promote communication competencies and skills among the staff. The second aim is to define the training are enrolment requirements for the employees. The research seeks to determine the level of project functionality on a regular basis. Finally, it seeks to determine the impact of communication between the project’s workers on the level of service provided to customers. In order to achieve the objectives of the study, the research questions are formulated. The following questions are tentative and aim to structure the study. Do communication competence and skills influence the hiring behavior of employers in the case project?

· What effect does the language barrier have on the management of the case project?

· Does the horizontal communication channel in the case project affect the actual performance in the current case?

· What are the main stages affected by communication in the management of the case project?

· What are the stages that are not affected by communication in the management of the case project?

Methodology

The research questions and aims to guide the dissertation. It focuses on the employee performances in the organizations as they attempt to work together on a project. The management aims to create smooth performances during the present project. The government wants to achieve the goals through the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), and companies in the country, notably the private sector association and the ministry of education and vocational training. The aforementioned institutions are responsible for the education of the workforce. The research will mainly seek to determine the relationship between employee communication and the performance of an LMRA project. The approach of studying the three main stakeholders is effective as it ensures that the variables are controlled and tested. Moreover, the focussed scope of research eliminates some social aspects that might result in social bias. There are two methodological approaches in the research, which are deliberately used to complement one another. They include qualitative and quantitative analyses.

Quantitative research evaluates the hypothesis of the differences between various communication approaches in project management. The method controls the results to decrease the potential for bias and increase accuracy. It draws the required relationship between the proposals from the dependent and the independent variables. The methodology offers evidence of the correlation and the level of interdependence between the variables. Therefore, the research provides tangible and concrete proof of rebuttal or support of the hypothesis.

A structured survey employs the Likert scale to assess the a) respondents communication skills, b) the preferred communication channels among people involved in the management of the projects, c) the level of interaction through different communication channels. The significance of the survey will be tested using the Cronbach alpha test, which assesses the internal consistency of the model and ensures that the methods can further evaluate the co-variances of the variables. Then, the results will go through a two-way ANOVA to determine the statistically significant counter relationship between the three agencies used in the study. The test (ANOVA) is preferred due to its suitability in the research of categorical data that evaluates variance in more than two samples. The test also determines the effects of interaction between the quantified variables (Leech, Barrett & Morgan 2005).

Roberts and Russo (2014) argued that even if the two-way interactions were found not to be significant, the results obtained from the ANOVA test can still be utilized to explain and describe the main effects of the research. In the aforementioned case, the research has to use follow-up tests that identify the main effects that encounter more than three levels. Other tests, such as the psychometric test coupled with their quantification method, can mislead the research due to the heavy criticism in reliability and validity. When administered, it is not guaranteed that other tests would be reliable and generalizable to a different sample. Moreover, low methodological reliability translates to low validity (Breakwell, Hammond & Fife-Schaw 1995). The limitation has been addressed using the Cronbach alpha test as an indicator for survey reliability through internal consistency. Generally, quantitative data determine how variables depend on each other. Thus, the analysis aims to explain how communication between employees affects the performance of a project. Apart from the quantitative data, qualitative references will be used to evaluate some of the immeasurable aspects of the study. The individuals will share non-measurable information to support the efficiency of the methods used. The qualitative aspect of the research utilizes semi-structured interviews. Personal attitudes and opinions regarding the role of communication in project management will explain, collaborate, and strengthen the results of the quantitative testing. Part of the research aims to evaluate the role of communication in different stages of a project. The data obtained would be analyzed using the grounded theory. The interview transcripts will generate codes. Then, the researcher will identify the code dimensions and consequently focus on the number of frequently used codes. Subsequently, the analysis evaluates the coded text for a comparative analysis along with the generated codes (Basit 2003). Although effective, the method has a major limitation of an inconsistent generation of codes. However, the limitation can be reduced during the initial preparation stage for qualitative research.

Foreseen Limitations

The data collected is a subjective matter because the respondent answers questions from their point of view. Thus, the data is reliant on the recipient, who may have an incorrect stand. Another limitation is that the measures of data collection may hinder the smooth analysis and delivery of conclusions. For example, certain aspects may deem necessary in the field to adequately answer the research questions. The third limitation is the lack of reliable secondary data, which could is required to direct and support the primary research. The present research may not identify an imminent wrong course until it is complete. Fourthly, inadequate comparative studies to guide the possible orientation of the current research limit the dissertation. In most cases, thee research questions are specific and do not have access information to control them. The study subjects may not be willing to participate due to place and time constraints, which hinders the potential generalisability. Also, any research involving human subjects is prone to bias, as the entire community tends to react to the researcher or assistants in a certain way. Finally, time and resource constraints play a role, as keen research and high-quality results require resources.

Research Schedule

Task Start date Completion date
1. Collection and compilation of the necessary literature, research in the libraries, and evaluation of the sources identified January 2016 January 2016
2. Writing a draft of the literature review Feb 2016 February 2016
3. Designing the survey questionnaire, the preparation, and undertaking a pre-test March 2016 March 2016
4. Formulation of the questions that need to be asked during interviews and identification of information gaps March 2016 March 2016
5. Collection of primary data and conducting the fieldwork April 2016 May 2016
6. Writing a draft of the methodology and philosophy to be used June 2016 Submission of the first draft by June 2016
7. Writing of a draft of the introduction section July 2016 Submission of the first draft by July 2016
8. Analysis of the collected quantitative data August 2016 August 2016
9. Analysis of the collected qualitative data August 2016 August 2016
10. Writing a draft of the results after analysis September 2016 September 2016
11. Rewriting the introduction and the literature review sections to address the knowledge gaps October 2016 October 2016
12. Revising the methods used as well as the results sections October 2016 October 2016
13. Writing the discussion section of the paper and a conclusion November 2016 November 2016
14. Revisions and adjustments, including the data presentations through tables, appendices and bibliography sections. December 2016 December 2016
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