Tuesday, 30 October 2012

My kid loves to learn through fun

In our culture, parents start teaching kids Arabic, English and Dhivehi letters in a conventional way as early as possible. Some times during the first year. We tried a program called ‘Brillkids’ to teach our son English and our local language (Dhivehi) letters and words. He took interest in the program until he turned two. We noticed that learning through play, maximizing fun is the only way that works for him. We realized that to teach him, we need to be artistic and creative, and most importantly we should have the patience. I lack all of these characteristics but my wife is creative enough to teach him through play, focusing on what he likes the most. The following diagrams are some of the examples. At the moment, he is obsessed with vehicles, especially cars. So, that's the main theme. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The status of migrant workers in the Maldives: 'precarious workers' or 'labour aristocrats'?


The number of migrant workers has increased significantly in the Maldives over the last two decades. The obvious explanation for the increase is the high demand for labour and skills to sustain the economic growth (Ministry of Planning and National Development, 2006). This view, which seems to have been taken for granted, has been accepted without the exploration of the implications for the migrant workers, the local labour market and the wider society. Notwithstanding the contributions made by the migrant workers to the economy, the large presence of migrant workforce in the country appears to be creating several social problems and in some ways yielding more negative social and economic impacts than positives (Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, 2009). The notion of labour shortage or skill shortage and the over-dependence on migrant workers raise more questions than answers. It says little about why employers turn to migrant workers rather than local employees for jobs which are suitable for, and willing to be taken up by locals. More importantly, it leaves unexamined how migrant workers are treated by their employers and the society at large.

Using face-to-face in-depth interviews with migrant workers, employer
representatives, local workers and their representatives and government officials, and data collected from various documentary sources, this study explores the status and experience of migrant workers in the Maldives. In doing so, this study further examines whether the status and experience of migrant workers differ across sectors and occupational levels. The first section provides an overview of the labour market in the Maldives within which migrant workers are placed. Second, theoretical concepts concerning the status and experience of migrant workers are discussed. After a brief account of research methods, this study goes on to present the findings on the status and experience of migrant workers. Finally, the findings in relation to theoretical concepts are discussed, outlining the implications and suggestions for future research.

The empirical sections of the paper examine the status and experience of migrant workers based on sectors and occupational levels. It begins by placing this research in the context of employers’ perceived preference for migrant workers in the Maldives. Employers prefer migrant workers over local workers due to the perceived usefulness of migrant workers that they are more committed, equipped with the right attitudes and work ethics, less problematic and easy to handle, less costly and fit for purpose. However, as the next section in the empirical analysis shows, both unskilled and professional migrant workers in most sectors are subject to varying degrees of abuse and maltreatment. The final section of the empirical analysis depicts a different picture regarding the migrant workers in resorts. Most of the professional positions in resorts are held by migrant workers and they enjoy better terms and conditions than their local colleagues.


Full text: Employment Relations Record (2011), vol.11, no.2.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Rich picture!!!!

A rich picture provides details of the problems in the form of a graphical drawing. It is often used to learn or explain about complex problems. My undergraduate managment students were asked to analyse an organisation based on a managment issue and write a case study. They were also asked to present the case study findings to the class. They wrote a case study report (2000 words) and did 5-8 minute presentation. They were instructed to use only a single slide to present the case study in order to test their creativity. They developed rich pictures which are creative, and reflect the major content of the managment issues. The diagram above is one of the rich pictures presented by a group. The group's case organisation is Qantas.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Mind mapping - what makes a leader great?

Here is a mind map developed by one of the teams in my tutorial groups of 100 level introductory management course. It took just 15 minutes for the students to come up with this wonderful map. Students are imaginative and creative, and they are well equipped with communication skills. This could be attributed to the high level of emphasis on these skills in the primary and secondary education system.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

HRM in paradise: similar or different? A study of tourist resorts in the Maldives

Employment Relations Record, 2011, vol.11,  no.1.


Since Huselid (1995) stimulated the HR debate, empirical research on HRM has been conducted for more than a decade. However, little is known about how HRM is shaped in organisations (Boselie, 2009; Paauwe, 2009). HRM scholars attribute the lack of understanding about HRM decision making to the lack of theory development in the field (Keegan & Boselie, 2006). Among the contemporary theories in the field of HRM, the resource-based view of the firm has most widely been used to gain insight into the shaping of HRM in organisations. It considers external product market and competition in the shaping of HRM (Paauwe, 2004), but neglects the contextual and institutional factors (Oliver, 1997). Thus, it represents only one side of the coin (Boselie, 2009), and alternative theories are needed to develop HRM as a field of academic enquiry. New institutionalism which looks at the institutional mechanisms is a viable alternative theory to study the shaping of HRM in organisations in different settings (Paauwe, 2004).

The study of HRM in hospitality is essential to both HRM and hospitality research. HRM has gained importance in the hospitality industry in recent years (Alleyne, Greenidge, Corbin, Alleyne & Devonish, 2008). However, knowledge about HRM practices in hospitality is limited. As the recognition of the need to include the context of hospitality in theory development has increased, and as HR practices begin to increase in importance for hospitality firms, more literature has begun to appear on HRM in the hospitality industry. The extant research on HRM in hospitality treated all sectors in the industry as a generic unit, viewing them in a relatively homogeneous manner (Knox, 2002). As a result, HRM practices in the industry has been characterised as "adversarial and ad hoc" (Knox, 2002, p. 60). Given the differences that exist within the sectors of the hospitality industry (Knox, 2002), there is a need to explore HRM in relation to specific sectors of the industry in order to recognise the differences.

The aim of this study is to generate new empirical data on the shaping of HRM practices in resorts in the Maldives, thereby shedding light on a context which has attracted little research to date. The study adopts a multiple-case study approach to explore HRM practices and examine factors that shape managerial decisions on the adoption of HRM practices through the lens of institutional theory.

The research setting is tourist resorts in the Maldives. Resorts represent the largest sector in the hospitality industry in the Maldives. They are developed based on the one-island-one-resort concept with an inbuilt infrastructure for providing products and services for tourists. As resorts are isolated from the community, only tourists, managers and employees are found in resorts. Over the years, this unique resort concept has attracted a large number of international hotel chains.

This paper is organised as follows: first, the literature on new institutionalism and HRM is briefly reviewed. Second, the methodological approach used in the research is described. Third, the findings are presented. Finally, the findings are discussed in light of relevant literature. Theoretical and practical implications are also identified within the discussion, acknowledging the limitations and providing suggestions for future research in this area.


Institutional theorists argue that "organisations compete not just for resources and customers, but for political and institutional legitimacy, for social as well as economic fitness" (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983, p.150). This implies that organisations not only need to be effective and achieve financial success, but also have to be legitimate in order to survive in the long run (Greenwood & Hinings, 1996; Scott & Meyer, 1994). Various stakeholders determine whether they perceive organisations as legitimate. Organisations are embedded in the institutional environment in which they operate, thus, organisational practices (e.g. HRM practices) are often either a reflection of, or responses to the expectations of the institutional environment (Paauwe, 2004). Hence, to receive support and achieve legitimacy, organisations need to conform to these requirements (Scott & Meyer, 1994), even though conformance is not the best option (Jaffee, 2001).

The institutional pressure on organisations towards conformance forces them to become similar in structure and form with the competitors within the organisational field--i.e., "key suppliers, resource and product consumers, regulatory agencies, and other organizations that produce similar services or products." (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983, p. 148). Institutional theorists refer to this process as homogenisation (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). The concept that best captures this homogenisation is isomorphism (Paauwe, 2004). Isomorphism is "a constraining process that forces one unit in a population to resemble other units that face the same institutional conditions" (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983, p. 149). There are two main types of isomorphism: completive and institutional. The latter is of interest in this study as it can explain the "institutional pressure on organisations" (Boon, Paauwe, Boselie & Den Hartog, 2009, p. 494). There are three different types of institutional isomorphism: coercive, normative, and mimetic isomorphism.

Coercive isomorphism could result from both formal and informal pressures exerted on organisations upon which they are dependent and by cultural expectations in the society within which they operate (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). Organisations can receive these pressures as force, persuasion or invitation to join in collusion (Meyer & Rowan, 1977). They are mainly "embedded in regulatory processes, which can manifest themselves in different forms, and differ in their degree of enforcement" (Paauwe & Boselie, 2003, p. 63). Related to HRM, coercive isomorphism includes influence of social partners (trade unions and work councils), employment legislations and the government, including their policies and other influences (Paauwe & Boselie, 2003). Coercive isomorphism may be visible at international, national and industry levels. International level pressure may include different ILO conventions, national level regulatory pressure may include employment laws, and industry level regulatory pressure may include sector-wide collective bargaining agreements (Paauwe & Boselie, 2003). Organisations may have to bring changes to their HRM policies and practices in response to the coercive pressures (Tsai, 2010). .....

Full text of this article is available on employment relations record journal, 2011, volume.11, no 1.