Sample Research proposal for Employee turns-over at ADNOC


Established in 1971 in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has grown to become the biggest dealer in oil and gas exploration and production in the Middle East thanks to its diversification strategy. ADNOC has 15 subsidiaries that ply their trade in oil and gas exploration and production, refining and processing, petrochemicals, oil and gas transportation, and product distribution in the Middle East (ADNOC, 2010). By 2010, ADNOC was producing over 2.7 million barrels of oil per day thanks to its sound business strategy (ADNOC, 2010). Besides business diversification, ADNOC has also leveraged on business process re-engineering and Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) to create a high competitive edge against the market competition. However, despite its success, ADNOC has not grown without challenges. One of the main challenges that ADNOC have had to overcome is the external threat posed by Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC). ENOC is a wholly owned Dubai government entity that plies its trade in oil and gas with over 30 conglomerates. Such a mammoth sized organization is a real threat to the survival of ADNOC.

Besides ENOC, there are other market competitors such as Partex Oil & Gas, Gulf Oil & Gas Limited (GOGAS), Dubai Petroleum Company, Stevens Supply International and RTE Group among others (Research and Markets, 2012). Besides market competition, employee turnover is a major internal problem in ADNOC’s human resource practices. The company has struggled to keep turnover below 10% to no avail (ADNOC, 2010). This has been occasioned majorly by ADNOC’s “emiratization” policy, which seeks to give the local Emiratis a preferential employment treatment against its foreign expatriates, who form the bulk of its employees. Emiratization is a popular policy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that aims at replacing expatriate employees with local Emiratis. While it is desired by the UAE governments, it has its related costs since many expatriate employees would leave their employers when they perceive that they are treated unfairly as compared to their local counterparts. Employee turnover is a major problem that can affect the performance of an organization in a competitive market environment. According to Latif et al. (2013), employee turnover is positively related with poor organizational performance. ADNOC has not been able to control employee turnover despite having one of the best human resource policy that creates the best environment for employees to work. Thus, if continued, turnover might affect the performance of ADNOC. According to the best knowledge of the author of this proposal, emiratization policy is the main cause of the high rate of employee turnover at ADNOC. Therefore, this research proposal aims at validating the hypothesis that emiratization is positively correlated with employee turnover at ADNOC.


Research rationale

The rationale of this research is to establish the correlation between the implementation of emiratization policy and employee turnover in ADNOC. The research findings will help in the review of the emiratization policy for ADNOC. It is worth noting that the United Arab Emirates’ government has an interest in the emiratization process as it aims at freeing its economy from its current over-reliance on foreign labour-force. Therefore, the research findings will not only be useful to the Abu Dhabi based ADNOC but also to many other industry players advocating for the policy.


Research problem statement

In a competitive business environment, employee retention is an intricate component of a competitive strategy. High employee retention implies high employee satisfaction and commitment to the organization (McElroy,Morrow,& Rude, 2001). On the contrary, high employee turnover implies dissatisfaction which is associated with low productivity. A satisfied employee is more productive than his dissatisfied counterpart and thus the overall organization will be more productive. It is therefore in the best interest of all business organizations to ensure high employee productivity through various motivational strategies that enhances high retention and satisfaction levels. ADNOC’s business philosophies are based on high profitability which can be affected by its high employee turnover. Therefore, the research question is to find the correlation between employee turnover and the company’s emiratization policy.


The research objectives:

The main objective of this research proposal is to establish the correlation between emiratization policy and employee turnover at ADNOC.

Specific objectives include:

  1. To establish the effectiveness of emiratization policy in driving ADNOC’s business mission, vision and objectives
  2. To determine flaws in the implementation of emiratization policy at ADNOC
  3. To establish the rationale of emiratization policy
  4. To develop a review framework for effective implementation of emiratization policy while decoupling it from employee turnover


The research design

The research design will be a cross sectional study of the employees’ reaction to the implementation of the emiratization policy and its relationship to turnover intends. That is, the tendency of employees to want to leave ADNOC. The research study will employ a standard employee satisfaction survey questionnaire to capture information relevant to the study. The researcher will target a research response of at least 500 completed questionnaires that meet the set analysis criteria to ensure high validity and reliability of the research findings. In this case, only completed questionnaires will be analysed. The researcher administration approach is preferred to ensure complete and accurate filling of the questionnaires. The research sample population will comprise of ex-employees of ADNOC as well as the current employees. The challenge will be contacting ADNOC’s ex-employees but the researcher expects the human resource management to provide e-mail contacts that would necessitate the research since the outcome will help in the re-formulation of emiratization policy to the benefit of ADNOC.

Where e-mail contacts are provided, the researcher will e-mail the research questionnaire to ADNOC ex-employees upon their consenting to the research voluntarily. Such a questionnaire will aim at soliciting views as to whether their leaving ADNOC was informed by emiratization policy or not. For the current ADNOC employees, researcher questionnaire administration will be employed to ensure effective completion of the questionnaires to meet analysis threshold.


Sampling technique

Random probabilistic sampling technique will be employed to ensure that every employee has an equal chance to participate in the research. Random sampling reduces the researcher’s bias which can affect the integrity of the research findings.


Data collection method

A researcher administered questionnaire will be used in the collection of the research data. Researcher administration is preferred because it allows clarification of information where it is required to ensure completion of the questionnaire to meet analysis threshold.

Generally, questionnaires are preferred in this research because they are (1) practical; (2) allows collection of large amounts of information for statistical analysis; (3) easy to implement and (4) allows for scientific analysis of collected data both qualitatively and quantitatively (Popper, 1934).


Data analysis


In this research, simple regression analysis will be used to find out the relationship between employee turnover as a dependent variable and emiratization policy as an independent variable. A positive relationship implies that the implementation of emiratization policy at ADNOC is a contributing factor to employee turnover. Frequency tables will also be used to display the research responses. That is, the response from the two sub-groups: ex-employees and current employees.


Research timelines

The whole research will take a total of eight months starting from January 2016. The activities in the first two months will include reconnaissance to gain familiarity with the actual research environment and acquisition of relevant permits to carry out the research. In this case, the researcher will have to acquire permission from ADNOC to research on its employees. Clear communication of the purpose and importance of the research is required to gain permission. Also involved in the first two months is collection of all the research requirements and materials including preparation of the research questionnaires. The actual research will be carried out between March and May 2016. Then results analysis presentation and reporting will be accomplished between May and August 2016.



A few challenges are envisioned in the implementation of the research. The first challenge is non-cooperation from ADNOC current employees. The researcher will navigate this challenge by going through the company’s human resource department to aid to communicating to the employees on the importance of participating in the research. A key highlight is that the research findings will be used to review the HR policy that would make ADNOC a better place to work to the benefit of employees. The second expected challenge is non-corporation from the ex-employees of ADNOC. It is likely that many people in this group might not want to offer information. However, the researcher will try the best possible to explain to them the importance of participating in the research since the findings will be used in the review of emiratization policy to improve the working conditions of ADNOC. Another envisioned challenge is cost implications. The researcher has chosen the use of questionnaires and limited the response to 500 participants to ensure that the research is manageable at a low cost.


This research proposal aims to establishing the correlation between the implementation of emiratization policy at Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and employee turnover. It is reported that preferential treatment of local Emiratis at ADNOC is linked with the high employee turnover at the company. Employee turnover can derail the competitive edge of a company in a competitive business environment. The research findings of this survey will be used in the reformulation of emiratization policy to ensure that it does not result in employee turnover.  Random probabilistic sampling technique will be used in the research to avoid bias and enhance high accuracy of the findings. The researcher will also target a minimum response of 500 to ensure high validity and generalizability of the fin



ADNOC. (2010). Developing our Natural Resources Responsibly: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) 2010 Sustainability Report. Abu Dhabi: Supreme Petroleum Council of Abu Dhabi.

C.McElroy, J., C.Morrow, P., & N.Rude, S. (2001). Turnover and organizational performance: A comparative analysis of the effects of voluntary, involuntary, and reduction-in-force turnover. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(6), 1294-1299.

Latif, M. S., Ahmad, M., Qasim, M., Ferdoos, A., Mushtaq, M., & Naeem, H. (2013). Impact of employee’s job satisfaction on organizational performance. European Journal of Business and Management, 5 (5), 166-171.

Popper, K. (1934). The Logic of Scientific Discovery. London: Routledge.

Research and Markets. (2012). Uninted Arab Emirates Oil and Gas Report, Q1 2012 Report. Dubai: Research and Markets.