Human Resource Management Issues at Sidra Medical and Research Center



In 21st century, the business landscape is changing rapidly as a result of globalisation and contemporary managers are faced with various human resource management (or HRM) issues having adverse effects on the organisation’s effectiveness. The policies implemented by the human resource depart influences organisational culture. The biggest challenge for modern organisations in globalised environment is manage cultural diversity at workplace (Niebuhr, 2010). Cultural diversity arises when organisations hire professionals from different cultures having diverse background. The cultural diversity issues in the hospitality and tourism industry has become a common issue with the growth of globalisation. Organisations have realised that not only they have to protect market share in the domestic markets but they will also have to survive global competition in the long term. Human resource is an indispensable asset for the organisation and in tourism or hospitality industry where dealing with people is the main agenda, proper training and development of resources is very essential for optimal organisational performance (Bellini et al, 2013). 

Sidra Medical and Research Center is a pioneer medical facilities Center in Qatar that utilises ultramodern and digital equipment to take care of patients in the Gulf region as well as patients of international origin. The center is renowned for scientific expertise and high-tech facilities that helps to provide world class care for the patients. The organisation recently announced that it will hire over 4,000 professional staff including new appointments in the senior management team (Walker, 2016). Hiring more staff implies that the organisation will face various challenges in managing its human resource (both clinical and non-clinical). The issue will be very challenging because the opening of the main hospital is still pending because of work in progress under construction. The organisation is moving at a rapid pace and initially the main hospital will initially have the capacity to support 400 beds and on a later date it will expand the infrastructure to support 550 beds with separate outpatient clinics. Some of the most likely human resource management issues that the organisation could face includes training and development, managing cultural diversity, organisational conflicts, and ensuring smooth transition of organisational culture (Trax, Brunow and Suedekum, 2015). The current plan of the management is to increase the employee strength of the organisation to about 1,500 staff by the end of this year. However, the management has noted that there is a need to recruit highly qualified professionals from Qatar and as well as specialised staff from global markets. Hence, management of cultural diversity at workplace will be a big challenge (Walker, 2016). In regards to the above discussion, this study critically explores and develops effective HRM practices for Sidra Medical and Research Center which will be linked with performance to ensure business success.      

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Element 1: Identifying a HRM problem having an adverse effect on Sidra Medical and Research Center 

One of the most challenging issues faced by the organisations in modern era is cultural diversity which has direct impact on interpersonal relationships of the organisation. The way managers and supervisors interact with the staff influences various aspects of human resources including training and development. In a globalised environment, Sidra Medical and Research Center intends to hire qualified professionals having international experience and as well as from the domestic market (Stevens, Plaut and Sanchez-Burks, 2008). The company has posted the vacancy of 60 different clinical and non-clinical positions in their website and intends to hire more than 1,500 by the end of this year. Recruitment, training and managing the recruited staff will be a very challenging task because the construction of the main building is still under progress. Additionally, the organisation also faces the threat of cultural diversity at workplace which could lead to organisational conflicts. This kind of problem is very common when organisations recruits employees from different nationals. If the senior management fails to recognise cultural differences the organisational culture would be adversely affected and performance of the organisation will deteriorate (Herring, 2009). 

Sidra Medical and Research Center aims to provide world class facilities to the patients and also build high-tech hospital building with separate outpatient clinic. The outpatient clinic will specialise in three segments namely, obstetrics, dermatology and paediatrics. The organisation plans to incorporate these clinics with most advanced radiology, pharmacy, pathology and laboratory facilities (Sidra, 2016). Moreover, the outpatient clinics will provide services to both children and women on referral basis with other healthcare service providers. Therefore, it is evident that the workforce of the organisational will have to be skilled at various domains. It will be possible for the company to hire very talented and highly qualified staff from the local market. However, it will be an added advantage if it is able to recruit professionals having international experience in similar domains. This will allow the organisation to diversify resources, bring on-board most advanced technical knowledge and experience. The organisation is also planning to build a dynamic research and educational environment in Qatar by entering into partnerships with leading organisation in the world. The long term objective of Sidra Medical and Research Center is to create a highly intellectual ecosystem that will assist in scientific recovery through investment in research and development (Sidra, 2016). 

The root causes for cultural diversity to create adverse effects on organisation’s effectiveness can be understood by critically analysing the current situations faced by it from global perspective. Sidra Medical and Research Center plans to recruit international professionals having diversified experience in medical field which will help the organisation to meet its objectives. However, in globalised work environment, the management should acknowledge the people having diversified experience and belonging from different background will have to be trained in order for them to adjust with the work culture (Shen et al, 2009). Multiculturalism is a common phenomenon that has both advantages and disadvantage. The biggest advantage of including cultural diversity at workplace is to obtain international exposure. It will also help the organisation to learn foreign technologies and implement some of the best international practices in the organisation. However, the experience of the foreign recruit will differ significantly with the experience of the local staff. According to Pieterse, Van Knippenberg and Van Dierendonck (2013), some of the managers and workers are used to work more independently which gives them flexibility to take spot decisions. On the contrary, in some organisations the managers and staff are given very low degree of freedom. This means that most of the decisions in such organisation flows through series of layers and hierarchies. From the above argument, the main point that needs to be considered here is that if Sidra Medical and Research Center recruits a highly talented, belonging to different nationality and having diverse cultural background then this kind of situation could arise. The main challenge for the Human Resource team will be to retain and train the professional in a manner that the objectives of the organisation is met and at the same time HR issues does not lead to conflicts (Suedekum, Wolf and Blien, 2014). 

One of the main HRM issues identified in case of Sidra Medical and Research Center is workplace diversity. According to Chen, Liu and Portnoy (2012), global firms which are able to manage workplace diversity are also better performers compared to firms which poorly manage cultural diversity at workplace. Theoretical evidences shown in studies such as Norris and Inglehart (2009) proves that the size of the organisation is not important but it is vital to utilise current resources in a manner that workplace productivity is optimal. There can be multiple reasons why employees are unable to perform and contribute their best like poor training, lack of motivation, cultural conflicts and above all the organisational culture. In general, organisations operating in the healthcare industry are operate in a complex business model which does not allow these social entities to associate rewards with performance. Authors such as Castro (2010) have argued that it is very difficult to incentivise a doctor’s job responsibilities because there could be cases of medical emergencies which will require the doctors to work beyond stipulated time. It is argued that if the incentive structure is introduced in emergency services then emergency staff, doctors and other clinical professionals might focus prioritising individual gains instead of serving for the social cause (Zulu and Parumasur, 2009). 

The identified human resource management issue requires Sidra Medical and Research Center to focus their strategic thinking on people-centerd policies. According to Shore et al (2009), hiring talents from different nationalities, managing, and training involves dealing with people from diverse background and experience. Previous studies such as Audretsch, Dohse and Niebuhr (2010) suggests that contemporary organisations should value diversity and implement effective human resource policies which will reduce organisational conflicts and improve performance. The most important point that needs to be considered by Sidra Medical and Research Center is that both diversity management and HRM are concerned with uniqueness possessed by individuals. 

Several studies such as Trent, Kea and Oh (2008), Nishii and Mayer (2009) and Kulik and Roberson (2008) suggests that there is positive correlation between effective implementation of HRM policies, in regards to diversity management, and performance. This implies that if Sidra Medical and Research Center is able to implement a feasible action plan that will successfully address its cultural and diversity issues then it will be possible for the organisation to improve performance and efficiency of process. Conversely, if the organisation is unable to implement appropriate HRM policies then it could lead to cultural conflicts. According to Zanoni et al (2010), organisational conflicts are unproductive and only leads to chaos and confusions. As a result, most of the employees develop negative sentiments towards the management and lose their trust from the senior management. If the senior management itself is only interested in fulfilling personal objectives ignoring the needs of the other stakeholders then it will be more difficult to manage internal conflicts. Organisations will have to implement very specific theoretical models into their business which will help them to attain their goals and manage human resource efficiently (Kreitz, 2008).        

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Element 2: The Importance of Organisational Change and Corporate Culture for Human Resource Management 

With advancement and changes in the processes of conducting business operations across the globe, it has been identified that efficient management of human resources in the organisational framework is imperative for the growth and success of the firms. In this context incorporation of sound human resource management has gained widespread importance amongst which the corporate culture, organisational change and conflict management is considered to be an integral component. 

It can be identified that the primary reason for the organisational change is the growing advancement in the field of technological innovation. Considering the medical industry, to be at par in the highly competitive market, it is necessary that every business concern incorporates changes in the human resource management processes to bring organisational efficiencies (Jones, Jimmieson and Griffiths, 2005). The growing demand in the health care field have led to the requirement of developing innovative processes to create new medical products and services. In this regard it is important that the companies bring changes in conducting organisational tasks by encouraging the employees to engage in creative thought processes which will help in reducing the costs of productions and ensure maximum productivity. The organisational change is the ultimate solution for dealing with the business crisis arising for any corporation. It assists in rectifying the existing human resource policies that can cause inefficiencies in the organisational processes (Todnem, 2005). 

An essential requirement in this respect is the need to incorporate a sound corporate culture by framing appropriate organisational human resource management policies and regulations to be adhered by the employees of the organisation. The human resource policies must be directed at ensuring the performance excellence by the employees which can be attained only by creating a healthy employment relationship (Kotter, 2008). The various internal factors governing the organisational culture such as compensation, healthy professional relationships, employee friendly policies and reward systems are some of the basic criteria for creating a highly motivated employee workforce. This will contribute in creating job satisfaction amongst the employees and also lead to effective employee retention in the organisation. The globalisation of the business operations has led to the movement of the human resources to various locations across the globe which has increased the requirement of having culturally diverse corporate culture (Stahl, et al., 2010). The individuals working in the companies have different cultural and professional backgrounds that contributes in creating a talented base of workforce that will increase the organisational developmental processes. 

Every organisation operating in the medical industry is confronted with major issues governing the human resources of the company such as employee conflicts. In this regard it can be identified that every firm must incorporate conflict management systems as an efficient part of the human resource management systems (Rahim, 2010). The conflicts arise due to the differences in opinions of different employees working for the organisational tasks and objectives. In order to bring an alignment of the views and reduce the friction in the employee relationships, the business enterprises must strategically build human resources policies aiming at efficient conflict management. 

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Element 3: The impact of organisational change, corporate cultures and conflict causing issues in the HRM 

The primary reasons for the organisational changes usually result from changes in existing business models, strategies related to mergers or acquisitions and financial crisis etc. If the organisational change is not managed effectively, it is identified to have a long term impact on the employee behaviour in the corporation which has an adversely impact in the working environment of the firm (Oreg, 2006). Employees are resistant to such changes due to the fear and insecurity of being incapable to adopt such changes which will led to loss of their jobs. However, it is analysed that in many cases the employees are reluctant to adopt such changes due to pessimistic attitudes among some of the work force (Furst and Cable, 2008). 

The major problem area for the human resource management in the company is to retain and increase the morale of the employees during the process of downsizing. It leads to loss of efficiency and loyalty on the part of the employees due to the changes in the organisational policies after the downsizing processes lead to reduction of employee salary as a part of cost cutting process (Carbery and Garavan, 2005). In case of the health care industry, the change is an invincible part of the operational processes. The changes in technology and development of the medical sciences require very frequent alterations in the structures in which the medical centers work and function. Sidra Medical Research Center ensures to implement the latest technology in their medical units so as to provide world class treatment and medical facilities to the patients (Jones, et al., 2008).  

Nevertheless, it can be ascertained that the organisational changes have an adverse impact on the corporate culture for a short term during the process of implementing such alterations. The organisational success is widely dependent upon the values and beliefs of the corporate culture which is being followed in any business entity (Škerlavaj, et al., 2007). It is reflected through the employee conduct in the company to attain the objectives based on the culture. It can be derived that the culture persisting in an organisational structure cannot be changed over night as it will be subjected to resentment in the employees in the short term. It will directly impact the motivational levels which will adversely influence the employee performance levels. It will also cause increase conflicts within the enterprise that will lead to manpower turnover. 

By analysing the organisational culture of Sidra Medical Research Center, the significant issue that prevails is the inadequate cohesion between the hospital staff belonging to different regions, locations and cultures. Since the organisation operates in Qatar it can be determined one of the essential feature as a part of the corporate culture in the business enterprises operating in Qatar is ‘Qatarisation’. Sidra Medical Research Center is actively involved in changing such cultural framework by increasing the number of expatriate employees in their health care unit. In order to reduce the conflicts arising the changes on the organisation as a whole and the corporate culture, the human resource management must adopt appropriate strategies which will ensure to reduce the negative affect of the same. 

Management of the prevailing issues by Sidra Medical Research Center 

The human resource management system at Sidra Medical Research Center adopts a very integrated approach to deal with the prevailing issue of lack of tolerance towards cultural diversity in the organisational framework. The HRM in the health care institute has implemented certain human resource models and theories which has helped in providing an effective direction to solve such issues. 

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The Harvard Model 

The Harvard Model provides a comprehensive approach to deal with the issues of increasing the coordination and cohesion among the employees and the management. On the broader view the model is used by the human resource management department at Sidra Medical Research Center in order to link the interests of the different stakeholders such as the employees, patients, government etc. with the organisational aim and objectives (Harzing and Pinnington, 2015). It focusses on creating effective work environment though the implementation of human resource policy framework aimed at achieving high degree of congruence, commitment, cost-effectiveness and competence (Bratton and Gold, 2012). The model used by Sidra Medical Research Center identifies the situational factors such as the presence of the diverse workforce and their characteristics that influences the level of coordination in the work systems adopted and at the same time also creates motivated employee base to gain efficiency in the tasks. Even though the model suffers from certain limitations due to its inability to provide clarity on the interrelation between the strategic management processes and the human resource management activities. The model is considered to be difficult to be implemented on practical grounds as it is more theoretical and descriptive in nature (Harzing and Pinnington, 2015). But framework can be effectively used to identify the ways in which congruence among the employees to enhance the levels of commitment that will indirectly contribute in increasing the organisational competence and cost-effectiveness. 

Theory Relating to Diversity Management

The human resource department must effectively undertake diversity management systems which will help in increasing the cultural tolerance in the organisational framework having large number of culturally diverse employees (Armstrong and Taylor, 2014). The diversity management theory states that it is required that the corporation needs to adopt the best practice to formulate the principles of diversity in its corporate culture. In Sidra Medical Research Center, the following practices have been identified to ensure effective diversity management. The prior requirement is to inform the existing employees of the organisation about the possible benefits of cultural diversification (Kreitz, 2007). The focus must be to educate the employees about the enhancement of the employee skills which can be attained through knowledge sharing processes. It must be explained to the employees that innovation and creativity can be fostered in the environment of the concern only through diverse manpower. This will ensure to reduce the resistance among the employees to gel with the employees of different backgrounds. The top management has a greater role in the adoption of a culturally diverse environment (Magoshi and Chang, 2009). They must lead the entire process of communicating the same to the different levels of employees. 

The seniors and executives must create tactical plans which will help to align the diversity strategies with the organisational objectives. It is important to associate diversity management directly to the performance efficiency. The business framework incorporating effective diversity management will also create high productivity and performance as the employee base will be comprised of highly talented and skilled personnel (Yap, et al., 2010). The growing awareness of the employees across the globe about the various organisational cultures prevailing in the different business enterprises, it is essential to project and implement the acceptance of employee diversity in the corporate culture. Therefore, the leadership must direct and guide the human resource management to frame strategies to recruit employees from different countries to have more personnel who are technically sound, knowledgeable and talented (Barak, 2016). The human resource management must identify benchmarks for effectively evaluating the progress and development of the organisational efficiency by incorporating diversity management by implementing various qualitative and quantitative tools. It will ensure to determine the deviations in the processes of diversity management to exercise greater control and monitoring. The best practice of diversity management is ascertained where the leaders or the management are able to successfully align the diversity management with the organisational goals. It means that the management will be primarily accountable for connecting the performance enhancement process with cultural diversity (Boxall and Purcell, 2007). 

Recommendations and action plan 

The medical and health care segment is an ever growing industry where the need for change and reformation in the policies, processes and activities is an integral part of the overall operational processes of the hospital. Since Sidra Medical Research Center is a very reputed and large scale health care center, it is required that the organisation adopts the best medical facilities, technologies and knowledge to compete to ensure quality treatment to its patients. However, in order to achieve the same it is required that a high quality of medical staff is recruited at the institute to increase the satisfaction levels among the patients. The action plan is framed below which will enlist the recommendations which can be used to address the prevailing issues in the culture (Guest, 2011). 

  • Sidra Medical Research Center must create effective learning and training programmes for the human resource management of the organisation to create an effective understanding of the importance of diversity in the work culture at the center. It will assist the HRM to frame policies which will be contribute in creating a constructive working environment in the medical center (Leskiw and Singh, 2007).
  • Appropriate strategic evaluation tools must be used to identify the prevailing level of cultural tolerance in the center. Based on the same various workshops, meetings and training programmes will be created by the human resource management which will be directed at positively modifying the current employee behaviour and attitude (Boxall and Purcell, 2007). 
  • There is an essential requirement to identify and segregate the between the quality of the medical employees being recruited from the local candidate base. The recruitment programme will be framed to gather foreign employees with experience in different medical institutes that will help in increasing the overall quality of the staff. 
  • The human resource management must identify the employee who are consistently resistant to changes and intolerant towards cultural diversity. The HRM must engage in certain counselling sessions with the employees to understand and resolve their issues. However, if the similar behaviour persists, the management should take necessary action against such employee in the best interest of the organisation (Bohlander and Snell, 2006). 
  • One of the key factors which influence the personnel’s perception towards cultural diversity is the compensation policy. It has been identified that in most of the countries, the primary grievance of the employees belonging from the foreign countries is the discrimination in the pay scale and reward system. In this context it is necessary that the human resource management promotes a discrimination free compensation policy that will contribute in reducing the conflict in the environment of the organisation (Pieterse, et al., 2013). 
  • The human resource management must focus to instil the culture of change among the employees so that they are able to alter their behaviours to be more acceptable and adaptable to the changing work force. Therefore, the employees must be educated about the changes within the company in relation of the regulatory framework governing the cultural diversity. 
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Human resource management deals with recruitment, training, performance management and other policies that will motivate the employees to work together in achieving organisation’s objectives. Sidra Medical and Research Center is an ultramodern medical center which aims to define new standards for children and women in Qatar, Gulf region and overseas. The primary mission of the organisation is to encompass medical education, research in the field of biomedical (through partnership with world class institutions) and state of the art technical facilities for taking care of their patients. As fundamental requirements for these objectives, Sidra Medical and Research Center will have to focus on diverse areas including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other outpatient clinics. The company plans to hire over 1,500 talented and qualified professionals by the end of this year and at the same time it is also considering professionals with diverse experience and cultural background. This will help the organisation to acquire foreign talents and necessary knowledge or technical expertise on international standards. However, the findings of this suggests that such decision could result in creating adverse effects on the organisation’s effectiveness. One of the root cause influencing such adverse effects is maintaining cultural diversity at workplace. The arguments and findings of the scholars and academicians discussed in this paper suggests that HRM policies must be directed at ensuring optimal performance by the employees. Various internal and external factors govern organisational culture including healthy professional relationships between the workers. Diversity management implies that the organisation will be able to acquire diverse skills form the international markets without creating negative impacts on organisation’s performance. Sidra Medical and Research Center will have to consider this factor into their organisation’s HRM policies and ensure that there are no inter-cultural conflicts. Organisational conflicts are unproductive and creates adversely impact on organisational performance. 

Other issues like organisational change, corporate culture and conflict are also critical human resource management problems which can make the task of managing cultural diversity very difficult at workplace. In case of Sidra Medical and Research Center it was found that the Harvard Model can be effectively implemented as an integrated approach deal with the prevailing issues related to cultural diversity. The various theories related to diversity management suggested that to enhance the efficiency and performance, the organisation should inform the employees regarding potential benefits of cultural diversification. Once the employees understand the importance they are more likely to reduce resistance. The most appropriate action plan for the organisation is to create effective learning and development programs for the employees. The curriculum of such programs should explain the importance of cultural diversity in global business environment and how it will assist the organisation to attain objectives. The organisation is also advised to implement various strategic evaluation tools to identify that will identify prevailing level of tolerance in the Center. It is also important to segregate the internal staff on the basis of their performance so that the management is able to set benchmarks for acceptable performance standards. Such benchmarking strategy will create competitive and positive influence on employee attitude and behaviour. This will also help to improve the perception towards cultural diversity and minimise discrepancies in current internal reward system. Additionally, the human resource management of Sidra Medical and Research Center should identify employees who resist change and irrationally reflect intolerant behaviour towards cultural diversity. This study recommends that the HRM team should engage such employees with regular counselling sessions to resolve internal conflicts and manage organisational change.  

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