Kuwaiti government officials better go slow in their efforts to get their country prospering again after the Persian Gulf war and keep an eye on the policies that affect expatriates and Kuwaiti citizens.
So says Calvin M. Boardman, associate dean of executive education and academic affairs in the University of Utah's College of Business, who helped organize a joint conference between the university and Kuwait University in 1989."Those two groups are going to need special attention paid to their job satisfaction needs and any reorganization of the business community should be based on lessons learned in the past," Boardman said in an interview.
The effort to integrate Kuwaitis into their own business and government institutions so the people have a bigger role in their own destiny is called Kuwaitiazation. In instituting this policy, Boardman said, it is done at the expense of the non-Kuwaitis who had a good share of the prewar jobs.
Prior to the war, Kuwait citizens were only 40 percent of the population and a big portion of the population was 20 years and younger. "Those two factors meant that Kuwait had to rely on the skilled and unskilled labor of expatriates and others who were Kuwait citizens," Boardman said.
Any attempt at Kuwaitiazation will result in less efficient operations, a reduction in productivity and a lowering of morale as jobs are lost, he said.
In the postwar era, Kuwait government officials will attempt to increase the number of Kuwait citizens in the work force from 14 percent by keeping outsiders from returning to the country. He said the expatriates and others should receive special attention as the business community is reorganized, Boardman said.
Boardman has been to Kuwait several times and taught at the Institute of Banking Studies in addition to participating in the 1989 conference. He continues to do research on the Kuwait banking system, examining the financial profile of Kuwait companies before and after their stock market crash of the early 1980s to see if those companies can tap capital markets more efficiently at home and abroad.
As Kuwait starts to rebuild after the Iraqi devastation, Utah has an opportunity to help the government, which might increase Utah's exports to the country, Boardman said. In 1987, Utah exported $64 million worth of goods and services to the world and of that amount, only $53,000 went to Kuwait and $2 million to Saudi Arabia, an indication of the potential for Utah firms.