Academic staff retention at Higher Education Institutions in the Sultanate of Oman: the impact of incentives

Al-Qarshoubi, Amal (2020) Academic staff retention at Higher Education Institutions in the Sultanate of Oman: the impact of incentives. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis examines the drivers of staff retention at Omani higher education institutions (HEIs), an important issue for any organisation wishing to function well and one of specific policy interest in Oman, where staff retention in the higher education context is under-researched. The topic choice was informed by the author’s experience as a civil servant in the Ministry of Higher Education in the Sultanate of Oman. The study pays particular attention to the role of incentives in staff retention as this is a domain over which policy-makers have some control, at least in principle.
Oman is an interesting case to study as the education system has developed rapidly from a low base over the last five decades, relying substantially on foreign expertise, but with an increasing interest in developing and appointing local talent. The extant theoretical and empirical literature on staff retention has emerged from research in Western high-income contexts, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Whilst there is also some work on staff retention in low-income contexts, particularly in Africa, there is a lack of research on the high-income non-Western context of the Middle Eastern Arab Gulf states - a lacuna this study aims to fill, drawing on the case of Oman.
The theoretical framework for this study is based on three theories. The first is the two-factor theory (Herzberg, 1959, 1966), which was helpful in extracting the independent variables for the study and for understanding and interpreting the findings. The other theories that played a key role in helping to understand and interpret the findings were equity theory (Adams, 1965) and expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964).
This study adopts a mixed-methods approach, with both quantitative and qualitative methods used to gather the data. A questionnaire survey was administered via a convenience sampling technique to academic staff at public and private HEIs in Oman. This yielded an effective sample of 317 respondents. The questionnaire combined modules on personal background, work context, work experiences, attitudes, and aspirations. The data were used to compare groups within the sample, particularly those intending to stay in their work and those intending to leave.
The quantitative survey was followed by semi-structured interviews with academic staff. Employing non-probability sampling techniques with the survey respondents, 16 academic staff members were selected to be interviewed. The selection criteria considered including academic staff with different demographic characteristics to ensure effective comparisons could be made between the different groups of the sample and to enrich the study with a broader range of perspectives.
Overall, the results of this work suggest that financial and non-financial incentives both play important roles in the retention of academic staff. There is no single recipe for staff retention, suggesting that a combination of both types of incentives is beneficial. The study concludes that better communication with academic staff to explore their expectations and perceptions and to develop an effective retention strategy could save higher education institutions time and effort resulting from the loss of qualified academic staff and the need to replace them with new personnel. Moreover, ensuring there is equity between Omani and non-Omani academics when providing incentives could prove to be more important for retaining staff than the incentives themselves.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Hermannsson, Dr. Kristinn and Lesley, Dr. Doyle
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Ms Amal AL-QARSHOUBI
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81626
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2020 07:59
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2022 08:54
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81626

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