Academic journal article SAM Advanced Management Journal

Human Resource Management in the Middle East: Lebanese HR Practices in NGOs and the Private Sector

Academic journal article SAM Advanced Management Journal

Human Resource Management in the Middle East: Lebanese HR Practices in NGOs and the Private Sector

Article excerpt

Most societies have three overlying sectors: the public sector (government), the private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The distinctions between these three can be vague, yet each sector has to work with one or both of the others to execute its own goals and objectives. In the past years, however, a discernible drift has been the relocation of governmental responsibilities and actions to the private sector and even to NGOs. As Haufler (2006) stated, "One of the most significant changes in recent years is that the 'who' in 'who governs?' must now be expanded to include the participation of nongovernmental and noncorporate actors."

Even though adding shareholder value may be regarded as the purpose of most businesses, a broader society perspective may be the desire to make a difference or improve lives or even reduce harm. While reward and wealth remain part of human desires, sharing and caring can also provide deep fulfillment (Nichols, 2014). No matter what the core purpose of an organization is, making changes for the better and upholding high performance levels cannot be attained in any organization in the absence of good human resource management (Martinez and Martineau, 1998).

As a base for communication and achieving organizational goals, strategies and practices that reflect acceptable working standards are essential. The human resources (HR) division that manages these practices ought to be customized to each type of organization, aligned with its mission and objectives. Apart from the private sector, NGOs are becoming major players in the local and international scene. They are becoming more diverse and visible, and the roles they play are given more attention, not only in the delivery of services but also in the human capital sector.

An effective policies-and-practices strategy does more than set boundaries, it also identifies and addresses individual needs. Not surprisingly, different people tend to respond differently to the need for policies and practices. A single approach by human resources is not appropriate because what applies to private companies may not be suitable for nongovernment organizations. Some people may be more motivated by making improvements for society than by making money. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to explore any differences in the levels of job satisfaction, development, and retention between employees in private companies and those in NGOs.

A substantial body of research has compared human resource management (HRM) in the public and private sectors (e.g., Elliott and Tevavichulada, 1999; Farnham and Horton, 2000). Other research has related HRM and NGOs (e.g., Padaki, 2007), or concentrated on Europe (e.g., Brewster and Lee, 2006) or on East Asia (e.g., Ya-Anan and Bunchapattanasukda, 2011). Research concerning HRM in the Middle East has also been conducted (e.g., Metcalfe, 2007; Moideenkutty et al., 2011), but not regarding the private sector with those of NGOs. This paper, therefore, contributes to the literature by comparing HR practices in the Lebanese private sector with those of NGOs and their impact on the employees in these organizations.

Literature Review

The function of HRM is to make the best use of employee performance to further the organization's strategic objectives (Johnason, 2009). HR focuses on policies and systems to manage individuals within organizations (Codings and Wood, 2009). Organizations in the private sector are operated by private individuals instead of the state and aim to make profit, while nongovernmental organizations occupy a domain of organizational orientation that is inimitable by private and governmental firms. NGOs comprise all organizations denoted as nonprofit, not-for-profit, self-governing, or charitable. The past decade has observed a remarkable growth in the numbers of nongovernment organizations around the world (Lewis, 2001).

Since organizations differ in their ultimate purpose, their staffs must be recruited and managed differently (Lewis, 2001). …

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