Human Resource Development

The Impact of Training and Education to Improving the Performance and Productivity of Manpower

The Case of the Private Sector in Saudi Arabia

Human Resource development (HRD) represents an essential challenge for most of the Middle East countries for its significant role in economic development. It is worth noting that HRD development is an important factor in the process of economic growth and an effective component in economic structure. It is therefore, remains a real challenge for the decision makers and business owners in developing countries (Armstrong, 2009). Thus, as part of its plans to diversify the economy and to maximize the oil's income during the early periods of its flourishing economic boom in 1970s, Saudi Arabia recognized the inevitable importance of providing the private sector a leading role in its national development process, in order to achieve the economic diversity and expansion and to avoid the risk of depending on oil only (Ministry of Planning, 1995). This required constructing a strong, efficient and competitive private sector in order to ensure the sustainability of economic development. The new obligation required the private sector to enhance its capacities in order to meet the challenge, therefore, the skills and knowledge of its human resources have to be highly promoted through training and education, among other methods of HRD. In this regard, this study attempts to investigate the contribution of HRD in improving the skills and capacities of the employees in Saudi Arabia and to emphasize whether that promotion has enabled the private sector to fulfil its mission and provide the anticipated contribution. It will in particular investigate the effect of training and skills promotion, as major components of any aspired HRD strategy, in the enhancement of the manpower performance and productivity, among other indicators of improvement (El-Kuwaiz, 1997). This investigation will be carried out through a case study, using various qualitative and quantitative methods to process the data and analyze the findings, and in light of these findings some recommendations and policy implications will be suggested.

A review of HRD literature reveals great many attempts by several authors to define HRD. These attempts have been varied, reflecting the diverse academic and socio-political backgrounds, particularly apparent in relation to HRD. Where, HRD is concerned with the provision of learning and development opportunities that support the achievement of business strategies and improvement of organizational, team and individual performance (Armstrong, 2009). Since the early 1970s when the revenues of oil started to contribute considerable improvement to the socio-economic conditions in the country, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has implemented a development planning system that aimed to maximize oil income during the first two development plan periods (1970-1980) (The Ministry of Planning), through creating investment opportunities in order to accelerate the rates of economic growth. Subsequently the concerned planners recognized the importance and necessity to diversify the country's economy in order to minimize the risk of reliance on only one commodity (oil). Therefore, the country's infrastructure was promoted in addition to other improvements in both the quality and quantity of public services, especially health, education as well as social services. Al-Dosary and Garba (2008) claimed that HRD is a huge area of practice and knowledge, perceiving it as interdisciplinary field that has something to do with various areas of study. These include economics, psychology, sociology, learning theory, performance improvement, etc. However, HRD as a technical term was first coined by the US writer Leonard Nadler in the late 1960s, and was defined originally as �a series of organized activities conducted within a specified time and designed to produce behavioural change" (El-Kuwaiz, 1997, p. 14). Nevertheless, HRD is best seen by Abdul Rahman (1987) as the strategic management of training, development and of management / professional education interventions, so as to achieve the objectives of the organization while at the same time ensuring the full utilization of the knowledge in detail and skills of individual employees. It is concerned with the management of employee learning for the long-term keeping in mind the explicit and business strategies. Moreover, HRD is concerned with the provision of learning and development opportunities that support the achievement of business strategies and improvement of organizational, team and individual performance (Al-Qahtani, 1998).

The proposed study depends on various sources of data. Secondary sources of data will be approached; in this regard, the reports of the concerned governmental and private sector's authorities will be reviewed, in addition to the statistics and progress reports of the chamber of commerce and the universities and training institutions' libraries. Moreover, Primary data will be collected from one or two of the major companies owned by the private sector in Saudi Arabia. As such, quantitative data will be collected using a questionnaire and conducting direct interviews with the concerned persons of these companies. While qualitative data will be collected from these companies as well, through focus group discussions. The collected data will be used to perform descriptive analysis; where statistical methods are going to be used to test the difference that HRD might cause, in addition to correlations between variables and cross tabulations. In this regard, the instruments will be used for data collection are: first Questionnaire: to collect data on from the sample companies. Second, guide for interviews with officials and focus group discussions. A pre-test will be conducted to ensure the compatibility of the questionnaires design, types of questions, question order and question wording.

The study is expected to find out some constructive results. Mainly, the strategies and plans of HRD implemented in the Saudi private sector will be critically evaluated, the gaps will be identified, and the significance of the effect of developing human resource on the improvement of the private sector will be emphasized. Where, HRD is still not considered as a priority in some Saudi firms, especially in the private sector of Saudi Arabia. As such, its important contribution in raising the organisation's profits and in enhancing the economy has not been recognized yet. The findings will reveal the difference that the enhancement of human resource capacities through training and skills' promotion would create towards improving the private sector in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the results will include emphasising the tools of HRD in strategic management, in particular the improvement of supervision and professional training involvements, in order to achieve the firm's aims while at the same time guaranteeing the operation of the knowledge in skills and ability of the individual employees. In this regard, the firms in Saudi Arabia should develop their strategies in order to compete and survive in the market place.

Some important theoretical and practical implications will be extracted from the findings of the study. The study is expected to assess the current status of HRD implementation in Saudi Arabia, therefore, some recommendations and strategies can be suggested to bridge the gaps and encourage the private sector to develop more training, provide its people with more knowledge and experiences, put the right employees in the right place, develop a reward system to help encourage employees. As such, when the private sector achieve HRD and its capacities, it is likely to gain knowledge and innovation that would satisfy the organizational goals. The expected outcome from HRD is thus will be more experienced and skilled employees working for the private sector and contribute to its improvement, because the capacity building activities through HRD will provide the employees with the skills they need, and consequently the private sector could save money, time and maximise its profits.


- Armstrong, M. (2009) Armstrong's Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. 11th ED. London. Published by Kogan Page Limited.

- Al-Dosary A. and Garba S. (1997)., Inter-organizational Coordination: a case Study of the Education and Training System in Saudi Arabian Manpower Planning," Human Resource Planning, (20), 1. Available online on the following link ( accessed on the 4th February 2010.

- El-Kuwaiz A. (1997), "Economic Integration of the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf: Challenges, Achievements and Future Outlook", in J. Sandwick, The Gulf Cooperation Council, (Washington D.C: Westview Press, 1997)

- Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A (2008) Human Resource Management at Work, People Management and development. 4th ED. Publish by the Chartered Insitiute of Personnel and Development London.

- Ministry of Planning (1995), Sixth Development Plan, (Riyadh: Ministry of Planning Press, 1995)

- Al-Qahtani S. (1998), "The Extent of Adequacy of Higher Education Output to the Labour Market Needs: Exploratory Study of King Saud University and Riyadh Private Sector," Journal of Public Administration, (38), 3

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