University of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Organisational effectiveness of Saudi seaports : critical factors and implications for seaport management

posted on 2023-05-28, 09:33 authored by Alghaffari, S
The seaport sector has been changing continually over the last few decades due to increasing global trade, outsourcing and consumption, all of which create pressure for seaports to be more competitive, active and dynamic and to grow sustainably. These changes have also created a need for seaports to manage and monitor their performance to achieve organisational objectives. For business entities, organisational effectiveness (OE) is an important managerial concept necessary for strategic planning, implementation and monitoring their performance. While this concept has been applied to many industries and organisations, this is not the case for the seaport sector. The current study aims to identify and explore the critical factors of OE for seaports and investigates the application of OE in the Saudi Arabian seaport sector given their role in promoting the national economy and international trade. To achieve the research objective, a mixed method approach combining quantitative and qualitative analysis was applied. The Delphi method was employed to collect data from a two-round interview survey of Saudi Arabian seaports. A total of 43 participants were interviewed to explore the role, strategies and challenges in Saudi seaports' organisational effectiveness. In the first round, participants were mainly interviewed face-to-face, and in the second round they were mostly interviewed via telephone. The quantitative analysis has identified 31 factors important to the seaport organisations' effectiveness, which were grouped into six dimensions, namely (i) operational, (ii) market, (iii) customer, (iv) human resource management, (v) financial and (vi) learning and growth. The qualitative analysis based on the interviews surveys found that Saudi seaports use various methods to monitor and manage their organisational effectiveness, such as the use of performance indicators, the National Transformation Plan 2020, and the master plan for development. On the other hand, competition has been found as one of the key challenges facing Saudi seaport organisations. Moreover, to manage organisational competitiveness and accommodate demand growth, there is a need for extensive investments in port infrastructure and to enhance logistics services through partnership with private companies. Further, there is a need for flexibility in the customs clearance procedure. Another issue is delay in making decisions because the Saudi Ports Authority is responsible for the management of more than nine seaports as well as the regulatory and administrative management roles. Additional challenges are those relating to human resource management including recruitment, management, training and retaining employees. Several implications can be drawn from the analysis results. Investment opportunities would benefit the local and international market and there is a need for a reform of the sector through policy, governance and empowering the Ports Authority to work and manage all relevant seaport activities. Another implication is to improve the human resource management policy. In addition, the seaport sector may focus on marketing their services through the use of technology, active attendance at international exhibitions and conferences and increasing all the hospitality services for pilgrimages. The study contributes to the application of the OE concept by identifying and exploring its critical factors and dimensions. The study introduced the OE concept for the first time to Saudi Arabian seaports given their strategic role, regulatory, administrative and cultural settings. It helps to improve seaport organisations' understanding and application of OE. The approach used in this study can be applied to seaports in other countries or other sectors in the maritime industry.


Publication status

  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Copyright 2018 the author Chapter 2 appears to be, in part, the equivalent of a pre-print version of an article published as: Alghaffari, S., Nguyen, H.-O., Chen, P. S.-L., Enshaei, H., 2016. Organisational effectiveness and its implications for seaports, (Version 10005845). The open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. ( Chapter 4 and 5 appear to be, in part, the equivalent of a pre-print version of an article published as: Alghaffari, S., Nguyen, H.-O., Chen, P. S.-L., 2018. Critical factors in organisational effectiveness: The case of Saudi Arabian seaports, Journal of sustainable development of transport and logistics, 3(2), 49-65. The open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license. (

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Usage metrics

    Thesis collection


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager