Privatisation : a Saudi case of implementation and organisational change

Gasim, Maher G.

Business
June 2019

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2019 Maher G Gasim. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

Privatisation has gained increased attention throughout the world since its emergence in the 1970s. It is argued that countries have adopted different privatisation programmes due to two main reasons; poor economic conditions and low performance of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

Privatisation has been studied from different perspectives: in privatisation theories and the drive behind privatisation in prices and entry in interurban coaching, in the methods and benefits of privatisation and in regulations, liberalisation, and reforms that are associated with the privatisation process. Moreover, researchers have looked at the privatisation of certain industries such as communications, energy, water, steel, and transportation. Nevertheless, the focus was primarily economic and financial, while, limited work has been carried out on the implementation phase of privatisation, as most of the work has looked into the pre and post stages of privatisation.

Therefore, it is the aim of this research to investigate the privatisation implementation phase of Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), which started in 2000 and is still not complete. Also, the transformation process, from the public to private sector, is complex in nature, as changes imposed on privatised firms influence and possibly challenge the core and deeply embedded objectives, values, and culture that public firms hold. Thus, this research is structured on three pillars: privatisation, the change process, and employees, looking at the organisation from three different angles to gain as much understanding as possible of the context, and in turn, the implementation phase. Furthermore, since the privatisation project in Saudia is still ongoing, utilising a processual approach is of significance as it will provide insights on the change process and how change has evolved and developed with time.

A qualitative approach (in-depth, semi-structured interviews) was utilised in the study as the research seeks to investigate the implementation of privatisation and how change occurs and unfolds as the firm transforms from public to private sector. The research significance lies in its exploration of the privatisation process and how it has evolved over time, hence, adopting a processual approach. In addition, the research focuses on enriching the literature on the Arab world, as it has a unique cultural context that is less explored. In addition, the Islamic perspective on privatisation and other organisational aspects is incorporated in this study, which contributes to the literature on the topic, while at the same time providing a platform of knowledge which other Islamic countries may wish to consider or follow.

The research results encompass three angles; the privatisation of Saudia, the change process, and employees. The findings show several key areas that have directly impacted all three elements, whilst overlooking certain aspects related to culture and religion has impacted the transformation process, resulting in the slow progress of the project. In addition, the results accentuate the importance of communication and HRM role in the transformation process, while reflecting on their limited practice within SOEs. Also, the processual approach enabled the context to be portrayed in a chronological way, which signifies the start and evolution of the project while unveiling different factors that influenced the change process.

Publisher
Business School, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Thursfield, Denise
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
7 MB
Identifier
hull:17353
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