Signing up for Happiness: An Exploratory Study of Workforce Changes in the UAE Market in Response to the National Program for Happiness and Wellbeing

Omneya Omar

Abstract


In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there is a notable, widespread cultural fascination around happiness and wellbeing, given its promotion by the government’s Minister of Happiness and Wellbeing. As such, the purpose of this paper is to explore changes in the local workforce and job market in response to the UAE National Program of Happiness and Wellbeing. A qualitative content analysis of 200 LinkedIn profiles was conducted, utilizing timelines of changes to profile information to explore the relationship between government happiness programs, changes within the UAE workforce and consequent educational qualifications. The results suggest the implementation of happiness programs to the business sector has been significant; yet, no relationship was found between educational qualifications and the increased number of employees reporting happiness roles. This study is part of an ongoing project focusing on the UAE Happiness and Wellbeing policy implementation. If any recommendations can be drawn at this stage, it is for UAE policy makers to ensure that the fidelity of the National Happiness Program be upheld and implemented, such that they effectively impact the roots of happiness, rather than enacting superficial policy objectives.

Keywords


Happiness; Wellbeing; UAE; LinkedIn; Policy implementation

Full Text:

PDF

References


Al Maktoum, M. B. R. (2016). Why ministers for happiness, tolerance, youth and the future? Retrieved from http://wam.ae/en/details/1395292124434

Al Maktoum, M. B. R. (2017). Reflections on happiness & positivity. Dubai, UAE: Explorer Publishing & Distribution.

Anderson, R. (2017a, March 3). Happiness in the GCC. Gulf Business. Retrieved from http://gulfbusiness.com/happiness-in-the-gcc/

Anderson, R. (2017b, March 20). UAE climbs to 21st in 2017 World Happiness ranking. Gulf Business. Retrieved from http://gulfbusiness.com/uae-climbs-21st-2017-world-happiness-ranking/

Baldwin, D. (2017, November 8). UAE strives to be among top five happiest countries. Gulf News. Retrieved from https://gulfnews.com/news/uae/society/uae-strives-to-be-among-top-five-happiest-countries-1.2121228

Bok, D. (2010). The politics of happiness: What government can learn from the new research on wellbeing. United Kingdom: Princeton University Press/Kindle.

CIA. (2018). Middle East: United Arab Emirates: The World Factbook. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ae.html

CIPD. (2017). Healthcare provider to appoint ‘happiness officers’ across its business. Retrieved from https://www.cipd.ae/people-management/news/healthcare-happiness-officers

Cooper, C. (2018, June 4). Happiness officers and ping-pong tables are not the answer. Times of Malta. Retrieved from https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20180604/business/happiness-officers-and-ping-pong-tables-are-not-the-answer.680834

Davies, W. (2015). The happiness industry: How the government and big business sold us wellbeing. Brooklyn, NY: Verso/Kindle.

Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Beyond money: Toward an economy of wellbeing. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 5(1), 1–31.

Diener, E., & Tov, W. (2012). National accounts of wellbeing. In K. C. Land, M. J. Sirgy, & A. C. Michalos (Eds.), Handbook of social indicators and quality of life research (pp. 137-157). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Dubai Statistics Center. (2017, June 10). “Dubai Statistics Center” enhances happiness of its employees with motivational cards. Retrieved from https://www.dsc.gov.ae/en-us/DSC-News/Pages/happiness.aspx

Duncan, G. (2010). Should happiness-maximization be the goal of government? Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 163-178.

Duncan, G. (2014). Politics, paradoxes and pragmatics of happiness. Culture, Theory and Critique, 55(1), 79-95.

Export.gov. (2018, April 23). United Arab Emirates labor policies & practices. export.gov. Retrieved from https://www.export.gov/article?id=United-Arab-Emirates-labor

Fisher, C. D. (2010). Happiness at work. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12, 384-412.

Gulf News. (2016, July 30). UAE Minister launches training programme for 60 chief happiness and positivity officers. Gulf News. Retrieved from https://gulfnews.com/news/uae/government/uae-minister-launches-training-programme-for-60-chief-happiness-and-positivity-officers-1.1870548

Gunnell, B. (2004, September 6). The happiness industry. New Statesman. Retrieved from https://www.newstatesman.com/node/160445

Gyem, T., Dorji, M., & Phuntsho, T. (2013). Infusion of Gross National Happiness in education. Paper presented at the Indo-Bhutan International Conference on Gross National Happiness, Bhutan. International Journal of Business Intelligents, 2, 239-244.

Hamad, E., Savundranayagam, M., Holmes, J., Kinsella, E., & Johnson, A. (2016). Toward a mixed-methods research approach to content analysis in the digital age: The combined content-analysis model and its applications to health care Twitter feeds. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(3), e60.

Happiness Agenda. (2018). Make Dubai the happiest city on earth. Retrieved from http://en.happinessagenda.ae/#overview

Happy.ae. (2018). Toolkit handouts. Publications. Retrieved from https://www.happy.ae/en/download/handouts-1

Haziq, S. (2017, June 30). Employee happiness is the priority. Khaleej Times. Retrieved from https://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/dubai/employee-happiness-is-the-priority

HCT. (2017). SJW Happiness Ambassadors spread joy of “Onshuri Al Sa’ada” on World Happiness Day. HCT News. Retrieved from http://news.hct.ac.ae/en/2017/05/sjw-happiness-ambassadors-spread-joy-onshuri-al-saada-world-happiness-day/

Helliwell, J. F., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (eds.) (2012). World happiness report, 2012. The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA.

Helliwell, J. F., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (eds). (2013). World happiness report 2013. New York, NY (USA): Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Helliwell, J. F., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (eds). (2015). World happiness report 2015. New York, NY (USA): Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Helliwell, J. F., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (eds). (2018). World happiness report 2018. New York, NY (USA): Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Helliwell, J.F. & Wang, S. (2012). The state of world happiness. In J. F. Helliwell, R. Layard & J. Sachs (Eds.), World Happiness Report (pp. 10-57). New York, NY: The Earth Institute, Columbia University.

Hirschauer, N., Lehberger, M., & Musshoff, O. (2015). Happiness and utility in economic thought—or: What can we learn from happiness research for public policy analysis and public policy making? Social Indicators Research, 121(3), 647-674.

Hsieh, H.-F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277-1288.

Insights, H. (2018). What about the United Arab Emirates? Retrieved from https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country/the-united-arab-emirates/

Kacker, M., & Perrigot, R. (2016). Retailer use of a professional social media network: Insights from franchising. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 30, 222-233.

Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P., & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54(3), 241-251.

Knight, L. (2016). Problematising ‘happiness’: A critical explanation of the UK’s happiness agenda. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from http://repository.essex.ac.uk/20044/1/Laura%20Knight%20PhD%20Thesis.pdf

Layard, R. (2016). Promoting happiness ethics: The greatest happiness principle. In J. F. Helliwell, R. Layard, & J. Sachs (Eds)., World happiness report, 2016 (pp. 51-55). New York, NY (USA): Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Li, X., Cox, A., & Wang, Z. (2018). How do social network sites support product users’ knowledge construction? A study of LinkedIn. Online Information Review, 42(3), 304-323.

Malek, C. (2016, February 2). New UAE Cabinet ministers sworn in. The National. Retrieved from https://www.thenational.ae/uae/government/new-uae-cabinet-ministers-sworn-in-1.211140

NHS England. (2012). Reducing health inequalities: Key legislation. Retrieved from https://www.england.nhs.uk/about/equality/equality-hub/resources/legislation/

Oswald, A. J., Proto, E., & Sgroi, D. (2015). Happiness and productivity. Journal of Labor Economics, 33(4), 789-822.

Papacharissi, Z. (2009). The virtual geographies of social networks: A comparative analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld. New Media & Society, 11(1-2), 199-220.

Robinson, S. D., Sinar, E., & Winter, J. (2014). Social media as a tool for research: A turnover application using LinkedIn. The Industrial Organizational Psychologist, 52(1), 133-141.

Saeid, A. G., Arifin, Z., & Hasim, M. (2012). The cultural tourism in Abu Dhabi. Journal of Applied Sciences Research, 8(6), 2888-2896.

Schwartzstein, J., Hall, B. J., Chang, T. Y., Sameh, K., & Thapar, A. (2018). Happy UAE. Retrieved from https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=54383

Sgroi, D. (2015). Happiness and productivity: Understanding the happy-productive worker. Retrieved from https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/dsgroi/impact/hp_briefing.pdf

Skeels, M. M., & Grudin, J. (2009). When social networks cross boundaries: A case study of workplace use of Facebook and LinkedIn. Paper presented at the ACM 2009 International Conference on Supporting Group Work, Sanibel Island, Florida, USA. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1531689

Sutton, M. (2017, October 28). UAE launches world's first Happiness Policy Manual. Retrieved from http://www.itp.net/mobile/615514-uae-launches-worlds-first-happiness-policy-manual

UAE Cabinet. (2018a). Prime Minsiter’s initiatives. Retrieved from https://www.uaecabinet.ae/en/prime-ministers-initiatives

UAE Cabinet. (2018b). UAE ranked 28th happiest country in the world. Retrieved from https://uaecabinet.ae/en/details/news/uae-ranked-28th-happiest-country-in-world

Vision 2021. (2010). UAE Vision 2021. Retrieved from https://www.vision2021.ae/en/uae-vision

Wright, T. A., & Bonett, D. G. (2016). Job satisfaction and psychological wellbeing as nonadditive predictors of workplace turnover. Journal of Management, 33(2), 141-160.

Zakaria, S. (2017, March 19). Residents celebrate happiness with Dubai Canal parade. Khaleej Times. Retrieved from https://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/happiness-times/residents-celebrate-happiness-with-dubai-canal-parade


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2018 Omneya Omar