The Saudi Arabian Clothing Industry’s Administrative Obstacles

Subject: Industry
Pages: 9
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Study level: PhD

Model of work organization

Malinowska-Olszowy (2012) argues that the need for innovation in the apparel industry is one of the greatest concerns for business administrators because in this way enterprises try to strengthen their competitiveness. This is why these organisations pay attention to new business models that can “both facilitate and represent innovation” (Teece 2010, p. 176). The challenges encountered by these businesses can be attributed to several factors. For instance, the clothing industry in Saudi Arabia struggles with administrative and regulatory obstacles (Niblock & Molic 2007). Furthermore, these companies have to cope with economic downturn. This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about the Korean textile industry that had to struggle with the declining demand for the services. Therefore, the performance of businesses can be influenced by various external stressors.

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Yet, factories which have not been able to develop innovation plans, are less likely to retain their sustainability in the long term. More importantly, these organisations may not withstand the rivalry of businesses that can adopt more efficient technologies, business models or production methods (Utkun & Atilgan, 2010).

Innovation is particularly relevant if one speaks about product development. For instance, one can mention such a company as Yesim Tekstil that has been able to manufacture goods that can appeal to clients in Europe, Asia, and the United States. It should be mentioned that they manufacture the so-called smart fabrics which enjoy significant demand in the market. This example indicates that the willingness to adopt new models can be vital for success.

Admittedly, the adoption of innovative approaches is critical for improving the performances of various businesses; however any these models cannot work in an industry in which employees are unwilling to comply with new rules and standards. These issues can be examined from organizational and human perspectives. Researchers highlight the necessity to “identify factors that have been impediments in using the textiles and garments industry as platform for growth and development” (Mytelka & Lal 2004). This study should throw light on this question.

Overall, the success of innovation and different business models depends on the actions of management. In particular, the management has to motivate employees by providing rewards to the employees (Foxall 2014, p. 149). These people should see that their improved performance can be compensated in some way. This policy can foster the adoption of the new practices and eventual improvement in the performance of various businesses.

Apart from that, it is important to consider the training of workers who need to have sufficient skills for complying with new standards; otherwise, employees may not understand how the initiatives of the management can be implemented (Simons 2011, p. 115). They can even perceive these innovations as a threat. Finally, much attention should be paid to the role of management supervision (Simons 2011, p. 115). This procedure is important for identifying possible mistakes in the work of employees. Furthermore, managers should provide encouragement to workers who have been able to able to improve their performance. This approach is useful for identifying role models that should be emulated by other workers.

Overall, this reasoning is compatible with the principles of TRA (theory of reasoned action) according to which the behavioral intent of a person depends on attitudes and subjective norms. In particular, this model implies that a person is more likely to adopt a certain behavior, if other people, who act as role models, also believe that this behavior is beneficial (Hagger 2005). The activities that have been described enable female workers to see that innovative practices can and should be adopted. Furthermore, these strategies are useful for influencing the individual opinions of female workers. For instance, it is necessary to convince them that they have sufficient skills to reach new standards.

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Admittedly, the performance of an enterprise depends on various external forces such as the demand for a certain product or intensity of competition. Nevertheless, innovation can strengthen the resilience of a company to various stressors.

Human factors

In many cases, leading companies strive to adopt new practices and strategies that can improve the performance. The management of these businesses insists that employees should be able to make use of innovative approaches. Additionally, they should be versed multiple disciplines in order to cope with different daily challenges (Ersun & Karabulut, 2013). Thus, employees can be viewed as the primary source of organizational strength and long-term competitiveness (Muduli, Govindan, Barve, Kannan & Geng 2013). It should be kept in mind that in many cases, the capability to do a job is not synonymous to the willingness to perform. A leader must remember that a person may have the capacity to perform a certain task but he/she can be unwilling to do so. Thus, the motivation is one of the factors that should be considered by the management.

Therefore, it is possible to say that employees’ attitude is one of the factors that shapes the functioning of organisations. This factor affects the ability of the company to cope with day-to-day problems and achieve strategic goals. This argument is relevant to the apparel industry of Saudi Arabia. These businesses try to find ways of increasing their productivity.

Nevertheless. the management should remember that the commitment of workers should not be taken for granted. The critical task of business administrators is to shape the attitudes of employees. Therefore, leaders need to be able to direct human resources processes so that they support the emotional empowerment and cognitive development of employees (Simons 2011). These components are essential for motivating workers. Additionally, managers should change the way in which innovation is perceived by employees. Moreover, it is important to use the principle of rational behavior since this method is useful for determining the motivational drivers affecting women. Furthermore, this approach is important for devising strategies that can change workers’ attitudes. For instance, this method is important for constructing organizational cultures in which women feel more empowered (Carrillo and Gromb, 2006). Thus, the attitudes of female workers can be vital for the success of innovation in textile industry. According to TRA framework, it is critical to examine such aspects as behavioral intention and attitudes toward a certain behavior since they are important for predicting the actions of an employee.

Admittedly, in some cases, the attitudes of workers can depend on their professional level and education. If this level is very low, he/she may never accept the innovations of the management. Moreover, such individuals may believe that new rules are just imposed on them. Sometimes, the termination of such employees can be the only tool available to the management. However, such cases are not very widespread. In turn, more attention should be paid to the workplace environment which influences a person’s behavior and performance. In particular, managers need to concentrate on training, job design, technologies, and so forth (Dauda 2009, p. 28). In this way, they can make new rules more understandable and acceptable. This view on this problem can be of great use to companies working in the textile industry.

Behavioral factor

Researchers argue that identifying the gap between competence and behavior is of crucial importance for managers who need to change workers’ attitudes, especially their views on the new norms. Moreover, Muduli et al. (2013) note that many individuals are uncomfortable with changing their patterns of behavior. Thus, the adoption of new practices requires creation, planning, or modification of existing behaviors. This insight can be a valuable guideline for business administrators who try to introduce new policies.

Indeed, resistance to change can be a widespread phenomenon in the clothing industry. Arguably, non-compliance with new systems of management takes its origins in the beliefs and attitudes of workers. Moreover, in many cases, disobedience can be explained by the negative perceptions of a certain phenomenon such as workplace rules. Therefore, the most important task is to influence the way in which people can regard innovations.

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Furthermore, TRA will be applied in this study in order to investigate the way in which the attitudes of female workers can be shaped. It is important to distinguish the following tasks:

  1. Understand the factors that prompt female workers to act in a particular way.
  2. Examine the obstacles that prevent female workers from changing their behavior and improving their performance.
  3. Describing factors underlying the behaviors of employee.
  4. Analyse interactions between different factors which influence female employees’ behaviors.
  5. Exploration of other factors that can influence Saudi female employees’ behaviors.

It is important to remember that that a person’s behavior can be affected by a wide range of external influences. In turn, TRA model may not capture of the complexity of these factors. In particular, it may not be applicable in those cases, when a person has to choose among different options. Furthermore, behavioral intentions do not always translate into distinct actions such as the adoption of new practices. There are other alternative theories that should be considered. For instance, one can mention social cognitive theory and human capital theory. Nevertheless, despite its limitations, this model is the most applicable approach because it can be used to predict the behavior of a person regardless of his/her age or gender.

Theory of Reasoned Action and the behavior of female workers
Figure: Theory of Reasoned Action and the behavior of female workers

This chart demonstrates how theory of reasoned actions should be applied during the research examining organizational behavior. In particular, it is critical to demonstrate how different factors are related to one another.

Intention factor

Researchers argue that behavioral intention is the most important factor which contributes to the change in a person’s outward behavior. This viewpoint is compatible with Islamic philosophy and ethics (Sayings of Prophet Muhammad, n. d). Behavioral intention is influences by internal influence and external influences. The first group covers emotions, skills, stress, abilities and information. The second group covers environmental or situational factors that are often very stressful (Ajzen 1988).

It is important to mention that the impact of these factors can vary significantly. In particular, they can lead to conflicting attitudes and beliefs. This limitation can undermine the initiatives of the management. One should also pay close attention to the impact of the industry factors such as scheduling, training, or empowerment of employees. These influences can be controlled by the management, and in this way, they can mitigate a great number of risks.

Overall, the desired behavior of employees should be linked with the intentional determinants since this task is important for changing the actions and performance of an employee. Provided that this goal is not attained, an organization will not succeed in adopting innovative practices which can be crucial for sustainability of the entire clothing industry during the following decades.

Admittedly, it may not be easy to control various factors affecting the behaviorial intent of female workers. Nevertheless, business administrators should eliminate the negative influence of organizational factors. The most important task is to make sure that workers do not perceive innovation as a threat. This is the main pitfall that should be avoided by the management; otherwise, their attempts to bring innovation practices can be doomed to failure.

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Attitude factor

Ajzen and Fishbein (1980) argue that attitudes are the first indicator of behavioral intention. This notion can be defined as the extent to which a person’s beliefs about a certain behavior are either positive or negative. In some cases, an individual’s intention to act in a specific manner is strongly influenced by perceptions of other people who act as role models for employees.

In the TRA, attitudes and beliefs are considered to be driving forces of intentional and purposive behavior which is directed to achieving certain desirable outcomes. Furthemore, researches note that attitudes and beliefs can be the product of early education, cultural background, and age (Muduli et al., 2013). But, these influences can be mitigated through a well-designed training program which reduces the resistance to innovation.

Attitudes and beliefs can be directly linked to the motivation of a person, and it is one of the most important managerial tasks. Female workers should be convinced of the importance of their roles. Furthermore, they should believe that they can do their duties successfully. Another important element of effective innovation management is the correct identification of the intended audience through respective employees. Business administrators should clearly explain the concept of innovation to them. Moreover, one should identify the rationale for adopting innovations. In addition to that, it is necessary to assess the degree of their skills in order to understand potential obstacles.

In turn, Muduli et al.(2013) state that most people feel uncomfortable when they have to change their patterns of behaviour. Therefore, managers shoudld expect resistance which can lead to conflicts in the organisation. Moreover, they should help employees overcome this resistance by changing their cognitive schemas, attitudes and convictions.

For instance, managers should attach to the processes of commnunication which is important for reinforcing positive attitudes. The studies of psychologists suggest that people are very likely to rely on the opinions of other while forming their attitudes and beliefs.

Thus, attitude is one of the factors that impacts a person’s willingness to comply with the instrucations of management. however management can change employees’ attitude towards innovation. In some cases, managers may not be able to gain full insights into the behavior of workers. In some cases, they can misjudge the intentions and attitudes of workers. For instance, they can concentrate on rewards and punishment without considering the need for fullfillment.

(Culture and religion) Belief factor

The main premise that should be considered is that people’s beliefs are usually reflect in their behavior. Therefore, the managers, who want to implement innovation, should understand how the attitudes of workers are formed. Nevertheless, one should examine a wide range of influences that form a person’s attitude toward innovation. To a great extent, the problems encountered by Saudi women working in the apparel industry can be attributed to their culture. This factor can be incorporated in the theory of reasoned action. This chart can illustrate the way in which culture influences the behavior of a person.

Belief factor to TRA theory
Figure: Belief factor to TRA theory

In some cases, culture can be make Saudi female workers more conservative and less open to change. Therefore, they can be less likely to follow new standards and rules. It should be kept in mind that in Saudi Arabia, businesses are dominated by males, while female workers struggle to occupy the positions of leadership (Ramady 2010, p. 200). Furthermore, their innovative practices may not be recognized. As a result, these people cannot easily accept new business models. One should note that innovative methods can be effectively applied if employees can perceive themselves as independent agents. They should not be afraid of taking initiatives (Lee 2008). In many cases, females in Saudi Arabia cannot achieve this goal because their leadership roles are not encouraged (Ali 2005).

Rewards and punishment

Rewards and punishment are the tools that can be used by management in order to modify the behavior. According Muduli et al (2013), a wage reward is an appropriate way to motivate employees. Additionally, rewards can incorporate tokens of appreciation, promotion if available, training opportunities, and increased break time. Similarly, punishment can also be viewed as a powerful stimulus that can prompt a person to change his/her behavior. For instance, monetary fines or the threat of employment termination can be used by the management. In some cases, this approach can be useful for reducing the risk of non-compliance with the new rules, established by the management. These tools have been adopted by many modern organisations (Daft, 2009, p. 454). In many cases, this strategy is applied by leaders who prefer authoritative style of management.

Nevertheless, business administrators should keep that the use of rewards and punishment may not be effective in the long term. The problem is that an employee’s performance can be only driven by the desire for reward and the fear of punishment (Daft 2009). They will not be able to find inner motives for improving their performance. This is why business administrators should consider such issues as job design, opportunities for professional growth and creativity. In some cases, these stimuli can be even more powerful for improved performance of a worker. This detail should not be overlooked by the management of companies representing the apparel industry.

The most important goal is to make sure that female workers do not have to rely on external influences such as rewards and punishments. This is one of the aspects that should be distinguished.

Managers should be very careful while using punishment because it may completely stifle the motivation of workers. Some mistakes do not necessitate punishment. This argument is relevant if one speaks about the errors committed during training. Thus, the use of these tools requires considerable knowledge of people’s motivation and attitudes. Sometimes, it is necessary to consider alternatives to rewards and punishment which can have profound implications for the performance of many employees who should not be driven by fear because its effects are very destructive.

Sufficient resources

Scholars believe that employees are more likely to feel engaged in their work when they have access to the necessary resources (Williams 2009). Conversely, if these tools are absent, workers could suffer from burnout, and these obstacles can limit the spread of innovative practices. Women working in the apparel industry should be able to access to the necessary technologies that can enable them to improve performance. For instance, they can provide smart sewing computers since these technologies can increase the volume of output. Furthermore, managers should make sure that female workers are able to use these technologies. Provided that these resources are absent, business administrators cannot expect people to comply with new standards (Williams 2009). Secondly, innovation may require the use of new software tools. Moreover, it is important to use inventory in a proper way. The workers should be able to locate the necessary tools and raw materials as quickly as possible. This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about the apparel industry which has to apply the most innovative technologies in order to remain competitive in the long term.

The managers should demonstrate that with the help of different resources female workers can improve their performance. In this way, they can address the concerns of many workers who may believe that a certain task is very difficult or time-consuming. These people should not believe that the company has left them to their own devices. This is one of the main pitfalls that should be avoided by the management.

On the whole, the availability of resources can be regarded as one of the main prerequisites for workers’ compliance with new rules. In particular, these people should see that senior executives genuinely care about their needs and professional growth. Additionally, they should know that the company does not simply set new rules. More importantly, the managers strive facilitate the work of employees (Wiserman 2014).

Periodic training

Certain employees lack characteristics or skills which are necessary for innovative practices. As a rule, they struggle with low self-esteem. Such employees can perceive organisational changes in a negative way. In many cases, well-designed training programs can address these challenges.

In turn, periodic training should focus on the development of technical skills and personal creativity (Byrne & Fayolle, 2010). This training can align the behavior of workers with organisational objectives (Muduli et al, 2013). In many cases, female workers can develop new skills and acquire new knowledge during group meetings. These events enable employees to discuss various technical problems and design issues. However, Byrne and Fayolle (2010) propose design training approach that considers community, traditional and religious issues which influence a person’s attitudes to his/her work.

Overall, it is important to mention the training should also address the cultural barriers that can prevent women from embracing innovation. Nevertheless, such programs can be rather difficult to develop because in many cases, business professionals consider technical aspects and overlook the cultural dimensions of a person’s performance. This is one of the main challenges that should be overcome by the management. Businesses that represent the apparel industry should try to empower women, and this approach to training requires a different view on the position of women in the workplace.

The literature review shows that training in innovation does not fully prepare female employees for the challenges associated with innovative practices. In addition to that, training designs should prepare them to play an active role in the workplace and currently this component is lacking (Byrne & Fayolle 2010). The clothing industry of Saudi Arabia should make sure that female workers can take more active control of their workplace activities.

This discussion suggests that the majority of training sessions cannot effectively translate the knowledge provided during workshops into real-life applications. In particular, too much attention is paid to formal procedures that cannot fully reflect the complexity of different challenges arising in the workplace. Furthermore, scholars note that the effectiveness of training programs in work situations can be questioned. Additionally, the textile industry should support the development of female workers’ skills in sewing centers. These organizations can help them understand the changing requirements of employers.

On the whole, without sufficient training, employees may lack either the capacity or the motivation to play their part in improving the work of the organisation. Well-planned training programmes make employees more aware of the need for high quality (Krosrow-Pour 2014). Additionally. In this way, workers can gain in-depth insights into organisational issues, and they can understand the need for change and become more adaptable to change that can be critical for the sustainability of the entire industry (Muduli et al. 2013; Han 2004). Thus, employees’ awareness of the need for change is important for companies (Patton & Marlow 2006).

Training is one of the main prerequisites that should enable women to accept new patterns of the workplace behavior. Furthermore, it should help workers transfer knowledge to their daily performance. In this way, they can cope with various difficulties. Management should bear in mind that the failure of innovative practices can often be explained by the inability of the management to assist workers who believe that their needs have been disregarded by senior executives and frontline managers (Rogers 2010). This is one of the main points that should be made since it has profound implications for the work of the company.

Conclusion

Saudi women have the ability to innovate and excel in the clothing industry. Nevertheless, behavioral factors, beliefs, customs and traditions can adversely affect their performance and professional growth; therefore, business administrators need to take a variety of steps in order to facilitate the adoption of new policies. It is possible to identify several tasks that managers should try to achieve. In particular, they need to show that innovation can be achieved by female workers who should have the skills and resources to adjust to the new requirements. Furthermore, they should empower employees who should be able to take control of their work. These people should perceive themselves as the agents that can implement innovation and benefit from these changes. These tasks are critical for ensuring that people can remain committed to organizational goals. By achieving these goals, businesses representing the textile industry can become resilient to external stressors that can be related to market trends or competition.

References

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