By André de Waal (Maastricht School of Management and HPO Center) and Suhail Sultan (Palestine Polytechnic University)
Abstract Interest in creating high performance organizations (HPOs) has been growing in the Middle East and Middle Eastern managers have been looking into practices that will help them elevate organizational performance. Unfortunately there is a shortage of HPO studies conducted in the Middle East which could help these managers. This article describes a study into the applicability of the recently developed HPO Framework in a Middle Eastern context, namely at Palestine Polytechnic University. Goal of the study described in this paper was to evaluate whether this framework could be applied in the Middle Eastern context and thus help improve performance of Middle Eastern organizations. The study described in this article constitutes one of the first studies into the determining factors of sustainable high performance in the Middle East and as such, it adds to the strategic management literature by showing that the HPO concept can be applied in the Middle East to evaluate the high performance status of Middle Eastern organizations. Practically, the results of the study help managers of Middle Eastern organizations to achieve sustainable high performance in their organizations.
During the last decades, interest in creating high performance organizations (HPOs) has been growing in countries all over the world. Middle Eastern countries are no exception to this and Middle Eastern managers have been looking into drivers that will help them elevate organizational performance. However, there seems to be a shortage of HPO studies conducted in the Middle East. A recent overview of high performance studies in the English language (Waal, 2006, rev. 2010) showed that only one such study was conducted in which Middle Eastern organizations were included in the research population (Denison et al., 2006). This study applied an organizational culture survey on 160 private-sector organizations, 74 percent of which were American and the remaining 26 percent European, Asian and the Middle Eastern organizations. It showed that the culture of an organization was closely related to organizational performance (measured in sales growth, market share, profit, quality, new products and employee satisfaction) and that specifically a culture of involving employees, having a consistent organizational structure, being adaptable, and having a clear mission had a positive influence on performance.
A subsequent recent search of the academic databases, such as EBESCO, Science Direct and Emerald, did not yield additional comprehensive HPO studies, only studies into facets of high performance in the Arab context. For instance, Metle (2002) showed that traditional culture was of substantial importance in predicting and affecting job satisfaction among Kuwaiti women employees in the public sector. Suliman and Abdulla (2005) identified that the quality of the work climate played an important role in the creation of a high-performance workplace in a Middle Eastern context. Al-Ahmadi (2009) found that the performance of hospital nurses in Saudi Arabia was positively correlated with organizational commitment, job satisfaction and personal and professional variables. Waal et al. (2010) discover a positive relationship between the degree of performance-driven behavior and organizational performance in Iranian banks. Akroush et al. (2011) demonstrated that applying customer relationship management components had a positive influence on the performance of Jordanian financial service organizations. Hilmola (2011) benchmarked the efficiency of public passenger transport systems in larger cities in Europe, North America and the Middle East and found the lowest performance in the latter. Moideenkutty et al. (2011) found a positive relationship between the application of high-involvement human resource management practices and organizational performance in Oman. Suliman and Obaidli (2011) identified that employees’ perceptions of corporate climate in Islamic banks in the United Arab Emirates played a significant role in the rate of staff turnover.
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