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How can we improve employee engagement?

Every year, over 650 executives graduate from the Global Part-time MBA and Alliance MBS awards graduation prizes for Best Individual Student and Best Group Project. In this article, we speak to five prize-winning alumni from our Middle East Centre to explore the key success factors of their group project.

How did you form the project team?

We would like to seize this moment to thank AMBS for offering us such great networking opportunities. From the moment we joined the Global MBA, we had plenty of chances to study and conduct group presentations together, which helped us to get to know each other more throughout our journey. The team was therefore unofficially formed before we decided to formally join forces to work together on the group project.

Our team consisted of five members living across the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait. Our diversity, in terms of skills, background, knowledge and experience, played a great role in our success. We complemented each other’s knowledge gaps and shared different points of view and opinions. Our team members were as follows:

  • Ahmed Hamdi (AH) | Project Manager (CFO)
  • Ahmed Abobakr (AB) | Eagle View and Interviewer (Global-Strategy & Development Manager)
  • Ahmed Saleh (AS) | Master of Details (SVP)
  • Mahmoud Younes (MY) | Technology Strategist (ERP and IT Applications)
  • Mohamed Yahia (MA) | Researcher and Project Controller (Project Management – Civil Engineer)

How did you agree on the selected idea?

Throughout our MBA journey, we studied various academic methods and applied them as much as possible when reflecting on our respective companies during individual assignments and group presentations. This sparked many ideas for our research project, which we discussed until we had found one that had an impact on us all, irrespective of the industry.

We decided to research the impact of employees’ involvement and participation (EIP) in decision making on the success of an organisation. We then selected two products to focus on (managed by different leaders) at a multinational conglomerate operating in different market segments within the communication sector. The objectives of our research project were as follows:

  1. To identify key factors affecting EIP within the organisation, through measuring and analyzing the level, degree, scope, and form of the EIP.
  2. To review literature related to EIP and organisation performance.
  3. To determine whether EIP has any impact on the organisation productivity and outputs.
  4. To determine to what extent can management support the implementation of EIP approach.
  5. To make recommendations on how to improve EIP in the organisation.

How did you find working as a virtual team?

As business professionals and working in multinational companies, we are used to having virtual meetings and conference calls with colleagues operating in different countries. As for the research project, it was challenging to handle discussions and conflicting views virtually, but we always focused on delivering a useful research project. In terms of the project logistics, it is normal nowadays to work remotely using applications and tools that allow you to share information, such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Blackboard for the Global MBA, so we did not experience any issues.

What were the top-level recommendations?

While the results are confidential, below is a general list of the top-level recommendations that would help an organisation to enhance its EIP, which will consequently leverage its operational performance:

  1. Ongoing communication of the company’s strategies and goals to all employees.
  2. Give employees the chance to share ideas and feedback on how the business operates.
  3. Training & development should be an integral part of employees’ working environment.
  4. Empower employees with authority to take decisions and to be held accountable.

What was your biggest challenge?

We faced many challenges, including having a common understanding of the industry, accessing literature that supported different arguments, and encountering resistance from interviewees. Due to the sensitivity of the research topic, interviewees were reluctant to share their views and answers, and we had to reassure each of them that no names would be disclosed and responses would be anonymous.

Nevertheless, the biggest challenge we faced was the conflicting views we had amongst ourselves – driven by our diversity of backgrounds and experience. Thankfully, we were five and we adopted a voting mechanism to be able to move forward and take timely decisions.

Would you have been able to do this project before the Global MBA?

Definitely not. We all share a common view that the MBA programme is designed academically in a coherent way with integrated modules that explain the dynamics of any organisation. Learnings can be applied easily to students’ daily activities in a way that creates value for both the student and the

Within our research project, we applied many academic frameworks. For example, we utilised frameworks from the Advanced Strategic Management module, and we studied the People, Management and Organisation module deeply to understand different types of organisational structures and their impact on businesses. Following this, we assessed the impact of employee involvement and participation on the two products that were the subject of our research project.

Throughout our journey, we were also fortunate to get great networking opportunities, especially when we visited other AMBS centres like Hong Kong, Shanghai and Manchester where we experienced working with different nationalities and dealing with other cultures.

How did you find your project supervisor?

Our supervisor was nominated by the University to look after our project given his vast experience in the same research field. We were fortunate to have him with us. He supported and guided us from the very beginning and played a vital role in directing us when we had conflicting directions.

How has the MBA helped the team to further their careers?

All of us have either moved up the career ladder with our current employer or joined a new employer at a higher position.

  • AH moved from Assistant VP in Kuwait to CFO with a new employer in UAE;
  • AB moved from a managerial position at a consulting company in Kuwait to Global Strategy and Development Manager at a multinational conglomerate in Qatar;
  • AS was promoted from VP of Operations to SVP of Finance and Operations in an investment
  • MY got promoted to handle ERP and IT Applications at a multinational media conglomerate;
  • MA was promoted to a senior level in a multinational construction firm.

Find out more about The Global Part-time MBA >>