Male and Female Branches Performance of Saudi American Banking the Riyadh Region Comparative Study

Introduction to the Research Problem

The Saudi Arabian economy remains one of the strongest in the region and the world. According to a 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Saudi Arabia was ranked at position 17 out of 21 in 2010-2011 (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2011). The Saudi Arabian economy has in the past been characterized by resilience in the global economic slowdown. While this show of strength highlights the effectiveness with which the government mobilized its reserves to support economic activities, the show of influence also reflects the Kingdom’s increasingly diversified economy, resulting from years of proactive initiatives and a relatively stable banking sector (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2011). However, despite the efforts to diversify its economy, the Saudi Arabian economy continues to be highly reliant on the production and export of crude oil to other countries.

Oil prices and production levels are still major drivers of the Saudi economy. According to EDC Report (2011), Saudi Arabian government revenues are directly tied to oil prices and production levels. The oil production sector accounts for 85% of total government revenues and 45% of the gross domestic product. The Saudi Arabian economy is oil-based; having the largest crude oil reserves in the world, which amounts to 266.7 billion barrels. The Saudi Arabian oil reserves also account for 57% of the Gulf Corporation Council reserves, 29% in OPEC, and approximately 20% of world oil total reserves. The country is the largest oil producer and exporter of petroleum plays a crucial and leading role in OPEC. In OPEC’s total oil production, the country produces approximately 28%. In recent years, oil production levels in terms of barrels have been increasing. Between the years 2009 and 2008, the number of oil barrels produced per day increased from 8.055 million to 9.113 million (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, n.d).

In Saudi Arabia, segregation by sex is a norm in the public. Men and women who are non-mahram should ensure low social interactions. In offices and more specifically in banks there are separate entrances and exits for men and women. The Saudi Arabian law indicates that there should be visually and physically separate sectors for males and females in all meetings and workplaces. However, according to an Al-Masah Capital Report (2011) women are currently holding pure cash of up to $11.9 billion. Banks have been increasing women branches so as achieve and sustain a competitive advantage. However, financial experts argue that there are challenges that need to be dealt with on financial markets and investments of women in the gulf world (Al-Masah Capital Report, 2011).

Saudi American Bank (SAMBA)

The Saudi American Bank (SAMBA) was established in 1980 by taking over branches of Citibank in Jeddah and Riyadh. The takeover was by a notification program in Saudi that was forcing foreign banks to change their branches to obtain an affiliation with Saudi nationals. Citigroup got into a technical management agreement to manage the newly formed bank. Istanbul’s branch of the bank opened doors back in 1985 only to be closed ten years later (1994). Despite this closure, Beirut and Geneva branches were not closed. In the 1980s, SAMBA opened another branch in the UK (London). In 1999, SAMBA joined up with United Saudi Bank forming the largest bank in the Middle East.

In 2003, SAMBA changed its name to Samba Financial Group, removing all Saudi Arabia references. The name was changed after Citibank decided to withdraw from Saudi Arabia. Citibank sold its shares, which by then were 20%, to the General Organization for Social Insurance (Saudi Economic Report, 1996).

Saudi American Bank Ladies banking

Ladies banking is offering personalized banking services to ladies to enable them to conduct their businesses in a homely environment while avoiding queues and other constraints encountered in other conventional banks (SAMBA, n.d). SAMBA ladies banking pioneered ladies banking in Saudi Arabia. SAMBA offers a comprehensive and distinctive world-class range of privileges designed to give flexibility, financial solutions, and convenience to ladies. The bank offers accessible, dedicated, and reliable ladies branches, automated teller machine cards made specifically for ladies, well-trained ladies staff, unlimited accessibility to accounts through ATM cards, Samba.com, and Samba phone among other services (SAMBA, n.d).

Research problem

Presently, the status of women in Saudi Arabia is being discussed and assessed regarding their education and responsibilities in the process of national development. Furthermore, historic problems regarding the responsibilities and rights of Saudi women in national economic, political and social sectors are controversial amongst both progressives and conservatives in Saudi society (Hamdan, 2005).

Currently, institutions of higher education are producing young professionals who include females and males, taking positions in diverse ranges of fields. One of the major objectives of the Saudi Arabian kingdom is to equip women with education and skills to develop their professional careers (Hamdan, 2005).

In a male-dominated environment, women experience a lot of difficulties in getting positions that fit their careers. Further, women find it difficult to identify with success, an issue that seems to hamper their career and professional development. Due to the challenges that women face in economic, political, and social sectors, their satisfaction, financial outcome, and their quality of management are thought to be lower as compared to those of men (Schweitzer et al., 2011). Further, in Saudi Arabia, more men get better education compared to women, and hence their performance is expected to be higher than that of women. In the banking sector, bank operations have been changing rapidly due to changes in technology. Because men in Saudi Arabia are more educated (Belanger, 2011), they have more knowledge of banking systems than women, and hence their performance is expected to be higher.

The Saudi Arabian banking industry in the recent past has experienced a period of innovation and growth. However, there are no known studies that have been done to compare the performance of male and female branches in the Saudi Arabian banking industry (Ahmed & Khababa, 1999). Nevertheless, it has been reported that the experience of banking in women’s branches is sometimes frustrating since bank services are usually limited. Complicated transactions are therefore available in men’s branches only. When women are referred to these male branches for such complicated transactions, they are usually treated embarrassingly and rudely. The service is hastened to ensure that the female client leaves the premises in the shortest time possible (Malik, 2011). Unprofessionalism and informality are particularly characteristic of the female branches (Ford, 2007). The author is therefore interested in studying and comparing the performance of the male and female branches of the Saudi Arabian Bank (SAMBA). For this study, performance is operationally defined as a financial outcome, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and quality of management. The author will therefore seek to identify differences in the financial outcome, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and quality of management between male and female banks in the Riyadh region as measures of difference in performance in the two sets of banks.

Service profit chain theory

The service-profit chain theory was developed by Haskett et al. (1997) at Harvard University. They established that there is a relationship between employee satisfaction, customers’ loyalty, profitability, and productivity. Haskett et al argue that customers’ satisfaction and loyalty stimulate organizational profits and growth. Customers’ loyalty comes as a result of customers’ satisfaction and service provided by the employees to customers stimulates satisfaction. Value in a firm emanates from the employees’ satisfaction level since they develop loyalty. The satisfaction of the employees results from quality management practices, policies, and support services that enable them to satisfactorily serve the customers. A service profit chain is a special leadership tool that emphasizes employees’ satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and quality management practices that lead to a firm’s productivity and increase in its performance.

Kalimullah et al. (2010) argue that rewards increase employee satisfaction, which subsequently influences their performance. Kalimullah et al. further assert that a reward is a management tool that contributes to the effectiveness of the firm by influencing group and individual behaviors. A common practice of most organizations today is to use promotions, pay bonuses, and other rewards to encourage and motivate high levels of employees’ performance. The service profit chain theory is therefore important in this study in that it will help identify the level of customer satisfaction through identifying employee performance and service delivery. These are essentially measures of performance for both male and female branches of banks.

In July 2011, the Saudi Arabian government banned salaries based on discrimination of gender between women and men working in related jobs. The ministry of labor in Saudi Arabia estimated that approximately 28 percent of the unemployed people in the kingdom are women (El-Shenawi, 2011).

The purpose of this study is to compare the Performance of Male and Female Branches of Saudi American Bank (SAMBA) in the Riyadh Region. This study will also seek to determine if there is a relationship between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and the economic performance of SAMBA branches. A secondary goal of the study is to determine if there are any statistically significant differences between the male and female SAMBA branches.

Haskett et al., (1997) stated that there is a relationship between employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, profitability, and productivity. Both profitability and productivity are measures of performance.

Justification for research

The objective of this study is to provide information to the management of SAMBA on the difference between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and quality of management practices between male and female branches. The management may use the findings of this study to improve employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and management practices at both types of banking branches.

To the government of Saudi Arabia, the research findings may be useful in the formulation of policy to protect customers and employees working in banks. The government might also use the findings to formulate policies that can boost the performance of banks in Saudi Arabia.

To researchers and academicians, the study may offer a base for secondary material about performance differences between Saudi male and female banking branches. The study may also expand upon the existing literature about the performance of male and female branches of the Saudi Arabian Bank. To the general academic fraternity, the study may form a base for further studies on male and female banking.

Hypotheses

Below are the null and alternative hypotheses based on each guiding question.

  • H1o. There is no difference in the economic performance between the male and female branches of SAMBA located in the Riyadh region.
  • H1a. There is a difference in the economic performance between the male and female branches of SAMBA located in the Riyadh region.
  • H2o. There is no difference in the level of employee satisfaction between the male and female branches of SAMBA located in the Riyadh region.
  • H2a. There is a difference in the level of employee satisfaction between the male and female branches of SAMBA located in the Riyadh region.
  • H3o. There is no difference in the level of customer satisfaction between the male and female branches of SAMBA located in the Riyadh region.
  • H3a. There is a difference in the level of customer satisfaction between the male and female branches of SAMBA located in the Riyadh region.
  • H4o. There is no difference in the quality of management practices between the male and female branches of SAMBA located in the Riyadh region.
  • H4a. There is a difference in the quality of management practices between the male and female branches of SAMBA located in the Riyadh region.
  • H5o. There is no difference between the performance of male and female branches of SAMBA in the Riyadh Region.
  • H5a. There is a relationship between the performance of male and female branches of SAMBA in the Riyadh Region.

Literature review

According to Musselwhite (2011) research studies analyzing the relationship between employee satisfaction, productivity, financial performance, and customer satisfaction have been existence for several decades now. Musselwhite (2011) further added that some of the earliest studies include a survey by Benjamin Schneider who studied the level of satisfaction of bank’s employees and customers. From a study conducted by Development International Dimension back in 1997, it was realized that a positive correlation is found in how satisfied employees are in a relationship and their retention. These events lead to increased profitability since customers end up becoming loyal since they are satisfied.

Biswas (2011) highlights a model indicating that workforce capability, loyalty, and satisfaction make customers perceive value. When customers perceive value in services provided, they become more satisfied and loyal. In the end, the firm attains profits in addition to growth. The study established that there was a correlation between employees’ capability perception, satisfaction, and customers’ satisfaction. Bradshaw (2010) also mentioned a model linking business performance measures and employee opinion with the exclusion of customer satisfaction measures. The study found that organizations’ employee satisfaction results affect business financial results, which subsequently affects organizations’ financial results. However, the study also found that organizations’ financial metrics could also affect employees’ satisfaction results. This allowed the model to show a correlation between the different areas that were being considered.

Majer (2011) has found out that employees’ empowerment and leadership styles could be used strategically to increase employees’ job satisfaction. If employees feel satisfied, it is expected that the customers would also get satisfied. They further analyzed the effects of empowering employees on customers’ satisfaction and service quality and found that there is a correlation.

Biswas (2011) found that employees of companies with strong financial performances often report high employee satisfaction while companies performing poorly in their financial performance often reported a high level of employees’ dissatisfaction. Firms should therefore come up with their models since firms differ in the way they define customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction cannot contribute to productivity directly. Other than employee satisfaction, other proactive measures of productivity include brand engagement and motivational levels (Grossman, 2011).

Research methodology

A research method refers to the procedure of collecting and analyzing data in a manner that combines the research purpose with the economy (Babbie, 2002). Different types of research methods include surveys, experiments, case studies, descriptive research, and cross-sectional research. Further, Kothari (2004) argues that research design refers to the blueprint of the research project that comprises of research operations that make the research efficient to yield maximum information while reducing the expenditure of money, effort, and time. A quantitative research method is a systematic investigation of a social phenomenon through mathematical, statistical, or computational techniques (Kothari, 2004)

This study will employ a quantitative research method. The quantitative research design involves determining relationships between independent variables and dependent variables in a given population (Mugenda and Mugenda, 2003). Surveys will be used to collect quantitative data in this study. Quantitative data collection is the most economical in terms of energy, finances, and time as compared to other data collection methods. However, it does not allow the participants to express their feelings, behaviors, or attitudes about the objectives of the study.

Target population and sample size

The target population of this study will include all the employees working in all levels of management of SAMBA female and male branches located in the Riyadh region. A population refers to a group of items or individuals with a common attribute under consideration in a field of inquiry. There are three levels of management in every female or male branch of SAMBA located in Riyadh. The researcher in this study will use purposive sampling to select the top management level in SAMBA female and male branches. Purposive sampling is a non-random sampling method that helps the researcher to select a sample of people, events, or settings that have predetermined characteristics. The researcher believes that the top management level in SAMBA branches has the required information on their banks. The top management level of each SAMBA branch has 5 staff, 12 staff in the middle-level management, and 18 staff in the low-level management. There are 27 branches of SAMBA bank located in the Riyadh region. The population of this study will therefore be 945. The researcher will use questionnaires to collect data from the top-level, middle-level, and low-level management. The researcher will further use a sampling formula by Ewens (1972) to calculate the sample size of the study.

Sampling formula:

n=N/ (1+N (e2))

Where:

n = sample size

N= Target population

e= Degree of freedom

n=945/ (1+945*0.052))

n=945/3.3625

n=281

The target population is 135 management staff in the 27 Samba branches located in the Riyadh region plus 146 lower-level management staff. The researcher will use a simple random sampling to select 41 top management staff from all the banks and administer questionnaires to them (Babbie, 2002). The researcher will also randomly select 94 middle-level management staff and 146 low-level management staff for questionnaires.

Data sources rights of the participants

This study will use primary data in answering the research questions. As noted by Creswell (1994), data collection methods used in collecting primary data comprise questionnaires, observations, focus group discussions, and interviews. This study will use questionnaires only. According to Mugenda and Mugenda (2003), a questionnaire can be close-ended, open-ended, or both. Close-ended questions specify the types of responses expected while open-ended questions give the respondents a chance of expressing what they wish or feel about the subject. The researcher will use questionnaires since they are the most economical in terms of energy, finances, and time as compared to other data collection methods. Questionnaires also majorly concentrate on quantitative data that can be easily collected and analyzed.

Validity and reliability

The accuracy of data collected mostly depends on the validity and reliability of the data collection instruments. Validity is the extent to which the results obtained after analyzing the data represent the study’s phenomena. Validity of the questionnaires will be achieved by pre-testing them to identify any ambiguous, offensive, or awkward questions and make changes where necessary. Reliability measures the degree to which a research instrument yields consistent results. The researcher will ensure the validity and reliability of the questionnaires by carrying out a pilot study in one female SAMBA branch and one male SAMBA branch. These SAMBA branches will represent 4% of the sample size in this study. The researcher will conduct the pilot study to verify the clarity of the research tools.

Data collection procedure

In the data collection procedure, the researcher will email the survey to the senior managers in both male and female SAMBA branches since they are less available compared to middle and lower-level managers. The researcher will then use a drop-and-pick method to collect data from the middle-level management staff in both Male and female SAMBA branches.

Data analysis

In analyzing the collected data, the researcher will use appropriate statistical data analysis tools such as descriptive and inferential statistics in analyzing quantitative data.

About the quantitative analysis, Miller (1991) argued that the most commonly used sets of statistics include meaning, frequencies, standard deviation, median, and percentages. The researcher will code and enter the quantitative data into Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 17). Using SPSS, the researcher will use cross-tabulation to compare economic performance, level of employee satisfaction, level of customer satisfaction, and quality of management practices between the male and female branches of SAMBA branches. The researcher will also use descriptive statistics such as mean, standard deviation, percentage, and frequencies to describe the properties of the target population. ANOVA will be used to determine the variance between the dependent and the independent variables. Further, the researcher will use tables, figures, and charts to present the findings of the study.

Legal issues

The researcher will seek permission to collect data from the management of SAMBA. Kerridge, Lowe, and McPhee (2005) define ethics as making a judgment on right or wrong behaviors. Further, Minja (2009) argued that ethics is a norm that governs human conduct and has a significant impact about human welfare. In this research study, confidentiality will be of concern since the relevant information is of strategic importance. In this regard, the names of the respondents in this study will not be disclosed. In addition, where a response will be attributed to specific individuals or bank branches, the said information will be maintained in strict confidence.

GANTT Chart for Project Plan chronologically
GANTT Chart for Project Plan chronologically

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