Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s Management Challenges


Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has gained the reputation of one of the most successful companies in the UAE. The firm has been operating in the realm of the oil and gas industry, which is currently one of the most profitable industries in the global economic realm. ADNOC has been exploring a range of innovative approaches toward managing the available resources, which has made it one of the leading organizations in the UAE economy realm.

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However, the firm has been experiencing difficulties associated with the Human Resource Management (HRM) processes, as well as Project Management (PM). The issues can be attributed to the lack of focus on the reasons for the staff members, as well as its remote contractors, to refuse from working late hours. As a result, the current project schedule of ADNOC leaves much to be desired.

The identified concern can be resolved when combining the HRM approaches based on cultural sensitivity and enhanced communication. As a result, opportunities for an open dialogue with the target population are created.

Introduction: The Essential Details

Creating the environment in which successful management of innovative projects becomes a possibility is crucial for large companies to retain their influence in the context of the global market. The specified issue is especially important for the organizations that operate in the realm of the oil and gas industry, where competition rates are becoming increasingly high, and where challenges associated with the acquisition of raw materials and the use of the available information pose a consistent threat to the efficacy and organizational success.

Therefore, studying the cases that require dealing with the issues associated with the management of employees;’ needs, and especially the needs of the remote staff members, is a crucial step toward improving the quality of PM and the associated processes. Seeing that the ability to use the available information and the skill of motivating staff members are the primary elements of efficient HRM in the realm of the global economy, scrutinizing the problems faced by global companies in the identified area and exploring the opportunities that can be pursued to enhance the efficacy of information transfer and communication with employees is essential to the further progress.

Particularly, a study of the relevant scenarios will help introduce new principles and values into the context of global firms, such as the importance of investing in staff members and promoting the principles of lifelong learning among them. It is assumed that the identified approach will help reduce the relevance of reluctance and resistance toward change among the target population since it will show that organizations view their staff as individuals with unique needs and are willing to meet their needs in a manner as efficient and expeditious as possible.

Studying the problems that ADNOC, a UAE company working in the oil and gas industry, has faced recently will allow defining the avenues for addressing the issues mentioned above successfully and, therefore, improving the performance of global organizations.

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Apart from the problems associated with communication, the issues linked to time management will also have to be addressed. Because of the necessity to realign the roles and responsibilities in the organization during the management of a project, one is likely to face the need to assign staff members with the tasks that may be new to them. Thus, the employees may face the workload and schedule that they might find very challenging. Therefore, an appropriate tool for maintaining the staff’s motivation levels high and creating the environment in which the time management issue could be addressed successfully should be deemed as the primary areas of concern.

ADNOC: Company Background

ADNOC has been known as a company operating in the oil and gas industry for several decades. The firm has made quite a name for itself in the identified realm, mostly due to the innovative approach toward enhancing the productivity of the crucial processes associated with obtaining and processing oil and other raw materials. Founded in 1971, ADNOC has been exploring the opportunities for enhancing the process of obtaining and processing oil, thus, delivering the product of the finest quality to its end customers.

When it comes to detailing the unique characteristics of ADNOC that set it aside from the rest of the organizations operating in the oil and gas domain, one must mention the emphasis that the firm places on the safety and security of its staff members. Particularly, ADNOC leaders specify that the safety and well-being of their staff are the primary issues with which they are concerned when creating an appropriate workplace environment.

The current performance of the company can be defined as stellar. Indeed, according to the recent statistical data, ADNOC has been showing increasingly high-performance levels, maintaining the quality standards at the same high level as it always does. According to the official statistics, the company currently produces over 3,150,000 barrels per day; thus, remaining an essential component of the UAE energy infrastructure (ADNOC group sustainability report, 2015). Although the fact that it is currently viewed as one of the primary organizations on which the economy of the UAE hinges puts significant pressure on the firm, ADNOC remains increasingly efficient and surprisingly sustainable in the context of the competitive oil and gas industry of the UAE.

Case Description: The Problem of Remote Management of Contractors and Staff

Despite the attempts of ADNOC to retain its position as the most influential company in the oil and gas industry, it has been experiencing significant issues in the context of the competitive environment. While other companies cannot be viewed as the rivals of the equal power and opportunities, the internal issues that the firm has been facing may tear the company asunder. The increasingly large number of problems associated with project management, particularly the organization of staff’s work, should be viewed as one of the primary factors that define ADNOC’s slow descent.

Particularly, the dilemma regarding the management of the issues associated with the communication with staff members and especially remote employees, including contractors, needs to be listed at the top of the concerns that ADNOC has to face on a regular basis. Indeed, according to a recent report, the firm has been striving to address the conflicts linked to the management of its staff’s performance for quite a while.

The lack of tools for communicating with the employees and especially contractors, should be viewed as the key impediment to the successful handling of the emerging conflicts and misconceptions, as well as the completion of projects. A closer look at the issue will reveal that the misunderstandings that occur during the communication lead to delays and errors, as well as an increase in the amount of produced waste (Kiyasudeen, Ibrahim, & Quaik, 2015).

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Furthermore, the fact that the performance of the employees, especially ADNOC’s contractors, has been dropping due to the problems with the schedule, must be mentioned. The rapid increase in the workload leads to a rise in workplace burnout rates among the staff members. Furthermore, the necessity to work late hours appears, which employees, in general, and contractors, in particular, see as a less than thrilling change.

The unwillingness of the staff, coupled with a drop in their levels of performance, is bound to trigger a significant drop in the organization’s performance levels. However, when considering the negative outcomes of the specified phenomenon, one must keep a closer focus on the implications of the issue for the project management since the latter is going to be affected to the greatest degree. Indeed, with a decrease in responsibility and motivation levels among contractors and employees, ADNOC is likely to face major delays when handling its essential projects.

Seeing that the identified projects are linked directly to the promotion of innovative strategies and techniques within the context of the company, the problems associated with their completion are bound to affect ADNOC very negatively. Particularly, the quality levels are going to reach their lowest threshold unless appropriate management tools are introduced into the environment of the firm. Moreover, relationships with customers will presumably become increasingly worse.

The latter effect can be explained by not only a sharp drop in the levels of product quality, which is expected to occur in the company unless proper actions are taken but also the problems related to the communication with clients and potential customers. Coupled with the inability to maintain the quality of the end products at the required high level, the issues regarding the communication process will inevitably have their toll on the image of the firm in the context of the UAE and global markets, thus, triggering an inevitable downfall.

Last but definitely not least, the issue associated with innovations and project management must be brought up. With a reduction in the efficacy of communication between managers and staff members, a gradual drop in the degree of innovativeness of the organization is expected to occur. The specified change will have a detrimental effect on ADNOC and its very existence in the context of the UAE market. Indeed, with the rise in the levels of reluctance and the following drop-in the motivation and quality of performance among the staff members, the opportunities for producing innovative ideas and implementing them successfully will also shrink significantly.

Seeing that innovativeness of the production-related decisions and the unique solutions that ADNOC uses to manage the processes associated with obtaining oil and processing it is the elements that define the firm’s competitiveness in the UAE and global markets, it is imperative to maintain the rates of innovativeness high within the organization. Therefore, a radical change in the management of HR issues is strongly recommended.

Solutions and Recommendations: What Can Be Done to Manage the Crisis

When considering the process of managing the current issues at ADNOC, one must mention that the lack of opportunities for creating a proper environment for the staff members and especially for the contractors that work remotely to excel in their performance, is what defines the very existence of the problem in ADNOC. Indeed, as

Seeing that the issue is linked directly to the management of human resources, it will be reasonable to consider the existing HRM theories as to the foundation for the enhancement of the current PM technique. Particularly, Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory as the foundation for exploring the needs of the staff and the factors that motivate and demotivate them will have to be applied (Saeed, 2016).

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The reconsideration of the schedule that is currently used to manage the work of the staff members should be viewed as the primary step toward improving the issues within the organization. Furthermore, one must consider the increasingly high turnover rates in the company. While it is important for ADNOC to maintain the quality of the employees’ performance consistent and, thus, make sure that only the most competent and highly educated people work on its projects, it is also necessary to make sure that the firm has an adequate number of employees to work on its projects.

Thus, issues associated with defaulting on deadlines and especially mismanaging the available information can be avoided successfully. According to a recent report, the current turnover rates at ADNOC leave much to be desired (“Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC cutting 5,000 jobs – report,” 2017). Therefore, it is crucial to reconsider the firm’s policy toward the promotion of learning among the employees. First and most obvious, the active promotion of lifelong learning as the foundation for the successful acquisition of the required information and regular improvement of skills should be viewed as a necessity. Afterward, ADNOC project managers will have to consider providing the team members with opportunities for improving their skills.

Particularly, training sessions and courses during which the members of corporate projects will be able to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge, as well as apply them to solve actual problems, will become a possibility. As a result, a massive improvement in the overall level of competency among the employees is expected. The specified change will allow maintaining the levels of product quality consistently high. Furthermore, the specified approach will help invest in the staff. As a result, the employees will recognize the company’s attempt to promote their professional growth and, thus, will develop loyalty toward ADNOC. Consequently, a drop in turnover rates is expected to occur, leading to a significant improvement in the company’s performance in the target market.

Additionally, seeking opportunities in the remote management of employees with creating e-services should be viewed as a crucial step for ADNOC in enhancing its current performance rates. As stressed above, the issues associated with the communication process are currently viewed as paramount to the firm’s success in the global market. Therefore, it is crucial for the company to use the available e-tools as the means of encouraging the staff members to share the available information more efficiently and, thus, prevent the instances of misrepresenting certain facts and creating impediments for the workplace processes.

Finally, it is strongly recommended that ADNOC should revise its current Code of Conduct. As stressed above, it is crucial to make sure that the staff members are provided with a strong and positive corporate philosophy, as well as a set of rigid and clear ethical standards based on which they should make company-related decisions. While the current Code of Ethics and Conduct used at ADNOC seems quite legitimate, it seems to be lacing several essential principles, the issues associated with the corporate values and investing in key stakeholders, including the employees (“Code of conduct,” 2016).

Finally, it is strongly advised that ADNOC explores the opportunities for increasing its sustainability levels. While the company has been known for its endeavors at reducing the negative impact on the environment, the principles of sustainability do not seem to have been implemented in other areas of the firm’s operations. Particularly, the management of the company’s human resources should be listed among the primary areas where the concept of sustainability should be used. As stressed above, ADNOC has been cutting jobs significantly due to the drop in the motivation levels among the employees, as well as their unwillingness to meet the corporate standards.

Therefore, the workload that the rest of the staff is currently experiencing has been growing exponentially. Thus, the redesign of the way in which roles and responsibilities are distributed among the staff members should be viewed as a necessity (Rao, 2015).

However, the introduction of a more efficient communication tool that will allow ADNOC to hart eh voices of its staff members and meet the needs of both employees and contractors should be viewed as an absolute necessity. Because of the inability to communicate directly with the company and its managers, the remote employees at ADNOC have been experiencing significant pressure that has led to a rapid rise in their dissatisfaction rates and their following resignation.

To address the problem and prevent the occurrence of similar instances in the future, ADNOC should shape its current approach toward managing the communication process during the project management process. The active use of innovative technologies, as well as the consistent promotion of innovative thinking among the staff members as the foundation for the further change, must be deemed as a crucial; step toward addressing the situation.

The approach described above aligns with the primary tenets of Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation (TFTM). While seemingly simple, the specified approach allows distinguishing between the factors such as job enlargement, job enrichment, and empowerment. By reconsidering the roles and responsibilities within the organization, ADNOC managers will be able to give their staff an opportunity to try new roles and, therefore, develop new abilities and skills.

In accordance with the primary tenets of the theory, the change in the roles and responsibilities of the staff, particularly the change toward assigning employees with new tasks and stressing the importance thereof, will help the ADNOC personnel realize that they are valued by the company, and that their contribution is recognized. Therefore, the loyalty levels among the employees are expected to rise. The specified change is bound to help reduce the number of conflicts occurring in the workplace since it will allow resolving a range of misunderstandings that currently take place because of the employees’ reluctance to accept change.

The concept of job enrichment as a crucial element of TFTM, in turn, will help create the environment in which the employees will be eager to acquire new information and develop the relevant skills. Because of the current low engagement and motivation rates, the staff members are unwilling to explore innovative tools for skills and knowledge acquisition; however, as soon as ADNOC changes its values toward the recognition of the employees’ significance for the organization, a rapid rise in the personnel’s attitude toward the idea of the consistent learning in the workplace is expected to take place.

Finally, the phenomenon of empowerment as an integral part of Herzberg’s framework will be observed once the staff of ADNOC will develop the level of responsibility that is required to make strategically important decisions in the environment of the organization. The specified change is an admittedly difficult one since it implies putting significant pressure on the company’s members.

Lessons Learned: Creating a Flexible Environment for the Staff

An overview of the existing issues associated with the remote management of employees at ADNOC, as well as the control over the work of contractors, has revealed that there are significant issues associated with handling the process of remote employee management, maintaining the communication process consistent, and keeping the motivation arte among the target population high. The specified factors define the quality of the end product, which means that strategies for the active promotion of employee engagement must be deployed in the context of the organization.

The case under analysis also points to the fact that the introduction of remote management tools leads to a drop in the levels of control exerted by a company; as a result, a firm must rely heavily on the staff and their ability to meet the company standards. Thus, it is imperative to make sure that the ethical principles promoted at the organization, the standards for decision-making, and other important principles are followed closely by the employees. Otherwise, a rapid drop in performance levels and motivation rates is expected, as the case of ADNOC shows.

The significance of getting the company’s priorities straight when managing a project is another essential lesson that has been learned in the scenario described above. As the case of ADNOC shows quite clearly, even in the environment that can be described as extremely competitive and hostile, a company must keep the focus on meeting the needs of all stakeholders involved. The specified issue concerns not only keeping customer satisfaction levels high but also making sure that the staff members feel comfortable in the workplace environment.

The increasingly high tension levels within the organization, the rise in the amount of responsibilities assigned to the target population, and the lack of any guidance that could have helped ADNOC employees manage the communication process and the available time more efficiently has led to rather deplorable outcomes. The latter need to be addressed in a manner as efficient and expeditious as possible; otherwise, the threat of ADNOC losing its current position in the context of the global market will become a reality (Weinberg, ‎Sutherland, ‎& Cooper, 2015).

The necessity to invest in the staff members and promote the active acquisition of the relevant knowledge and skills among them is another lesson that has been learned during the management of the issue. As the overview of the situation at ADNOC shows, it is crucial to make sure that the employees are aware of the firm’s willingness to support them throughout their professional growth in the organizational environment.

In other words, a company must invest in its staff and their professional growth by providing them with an opportunity to acquire and train new skills. Designing training sessions is an important part of managing a project since some of the employees may require additional training. Furthermore, the active promotion of the lifelong learning principles should be viewed as the key to the further success of the project management process. Thus, the idea of the consistent learning must be implanted into the very corporate philosophy of an organization along with the focus on employees’ well-being. At this point, the importance of viewing the needs of the staff through the prism of Herzberg’s TFMF deserves to be mentioned.

As stressed above, the model focuses extensively not only on the issue of employee motivation but also on the goal of employee empowerment, whereas other frameworks seem to overlook the specified issue. The importance of employee empowerment must not be glanced over, however, since it provides the foundation for the successful management of the crucial project management processes. A closer look at the notion will reveal that the specified concept implies introducing staff members to the idea of independence.

When carried out in the realm of rigid corporate quality standards, positive corporate philosophy, and high levels of corporate social responsibility, the idea of employee independence affects the quality of the performance immensely. It provides staff embers with the agency that they need to make important decisions in the context of the organization. The specified change will allow reducing the time taken to complete certain operations.

In the environment where the information management process is arranged flawlessly and where the employees make decisions and take actions on behalf of the organization, the specified framework is bound to trigger a rapid increase in the success of project management. Herein lies the significance of promoting communication between employees and managers. The specified step will allow communicating the crucial corporate values to the target population, at the same time keeping their loyalty levels high.


The suggested approach will allow for a significant increase in the productivity levels within the organization since the opportunities for changing the staff’s attitude toward their roles and responsibilities will become an opportunity. Furthermore, the rearrangement of the organizational time management (TM) framework is bound to have a massive positive effect on the PM process.

Creating the environment in which employees understand the importance of cooperation, as well as where they are provided with opportunities for efficient work is a critical step toward a gradual improvement of the company’s performance. For this purpose, the reconsideration of the current approach toward the key PM processes, including a change in the current code of conduct, the enhancement of the organizational values, and a redesign of the existing time management framework. Thus, a rapid improvement in the efficacy of the PM is expected. Particularly, the goals set to be achieved in the process are expected to be attained, and a gradual progress in the communication process within the company will occur.

The introduction of the necessary changes is bound to face certain resistance from the staff due to the possible increase in the number of responsibilities and the change in the roles that they play in the company. The unwillingness of the employees will ostensibly be resolved with the help of rewards and a change in the company’s communication policy, as well as the reinforcement of the key corporate values. Thus, the foundation for a rapid progress of the company and a more efficient management of projects in the context of its organizational environment will be created.

The specified steps are bound to lead to a massive improvement in the relationships between remote workers and ADNOC managers. Furthermore, the opportunities for managing the schedule more efficiently will be created. Finally, conflicts between remote staff and managers will be handled in a constructive and efficient manner.


Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC cutting 5,000 jobs – report. (2017). Web.

ADNOC group sustainability report. (2015). Web.

Code of conduct. (2016). Web.

Kiyasudeen, K., Ibrahim, S. M., & Quaik, S. (2015). Prospects of organic waste management and the significance of earthworms. New York, NY: Springer.

Rao, P. V. (2015). Time management for new employees. New York, NY: Packt Publishing Ltd.

Saeed, M. (2016). Critical assessment of intrinsic and extrinsic employee motivational factors in the Libyan oil and gas sector. New York, NY: GRIN Verlag.

Weinberg, A., ‎Sutherland, W., ‎& Cooper, C. (2015). Organizational stress management: A strategic approach. New York, NY: Springer.

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