Confused in Abu Dhabi: Do MBA Textbooks Actually Matter?


This is a short case about human resource practices in an American company operating in the Gulf. It is often the case that Human Resource Management (HRM) is a secondary or even tertiary matter for firms, though this can vary by company, geography, industry, etc. This is often because many managers think of it as an impediment to flexibility and even profitability. It is this notion that this case examines, weighing financial and operational priorities against personnel concerns.

Best practice of Human Resource Management (HRM) dictates that alignment must exist across recruitment, performance management, and training and development. The underlying discussion that this case provokes is whether firms in general and HRM in particular can be successful if this alignment is lacking. In this case, which concerns an oil company headquartered in Houston, but operating in Abu Dhabi, can the ‘People Strategy’ be insufficiently supported and the company still be successful longer term as it gains more international acclaim?

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

2023 Sage Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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