Since the economic boom in the oil industry in the 1970s, local workers in the United Arab Emirates have comprised less than 1% of the private sector workforce. Foreign workers dominate the private sector payrolls while most Emirates chose positions in government organizations. This imbalance poses economic and social risks to the country; and the government has strived to increase the numbers of local workers in these settings (called Emiratization) through aggressive legislation and regulation. To date, Emiratization has been largely unsuccessful by most accounts. This study aimed to identify and understand the success factors that might be associated with Emiratization programs and determine the role that knowledge management systems may play in increasing local worker representation. It gathered survey and interview data from Emirati workers, leaders, and managers to gauge their views on public and private sector employment and Emiratization to date. The key findings propose that the government take a more collaborative approach with private sector organizations, create a supportive knowledge management system related to Emiratization, create a government entity to coordinate Emiratization with private sector organizations, and form a transorganizational system comprised of the various stakeholders.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Research projects (MSOD); United Arab Emirates; Labor supply; Foreign workers

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Worley, Christopher G.;