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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is one of the most influential countries exporting oil in the world. This nation’s seaports play a significant role in exporting and importing cargo, which offers a positive contribution to the GDP of KSA. The KSA has nine main ports, which are operated by the Saudi Ports Authority. These nine seaports have achieved 95% export and import of goods. On the other hand, 55% of the cargo operation is for export. In addition, Saudi Ports Authority handles more than 5 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) yearly, besides 1,000 ships visit to the ports per year. In other words, the Saudi Ports Authority offers 45% of the country’s GDP. Nevertheless, Saudi Ports Authority faces a challenge in the cargo operation section, which has decreased the positive contribution to GDP since 2015 compared to other ports such as Salalah and Dubai. Salalah and Dubai ports offer a higher positive contribution to the GDP of their countries than Saudi Ports Authority; 45% from Salalah port (the sultanate of Oman) and 56% from Dubai port (United Arab Emirates). The lack of and inappropriate human resource practices cause low job satisfaction among employees, which then results in low performance, and thus overstock is present in Saudi Ports Authority. Human resource practices play a significant role in each organisation in terms of increasing net profit, performance, loyalty, commitment, and job satisfaction. In line with this, there is a growing interest in studying numerous predictors of employees’ performance, such as human resource practices and employees’ job satisfaction. Hence, this study aims to investigate how employees’ job satisfaction mediates the relationship between human resource practices and employees’ performance at Saudi Ports Authority, especially in the cargo section. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Adams’ equity theories were used to explore the relationship between the study variables. A research questionnaire was designed to collect data from the target population selected using convenience sampling. Data were obtained from 285 employees working in the cargo section at Saudi Ports Authority. The analysis was performed using SPSS version 22 and SmartPLS. After confirming via the measurement model assessment that the construct measures were reliable and valid, the structural model assessment was carried out to test the direct and indirect hypotheses. Out of 22 direct and indirect hypotheses, 17 were supported. More specifically, the results of this study showed that human resource practices had a significant effect on employees’ performance except for training and development. In addition, human resource practices had a significant effect on job satisfaction except for employee relationship. On the other hand, job satisfaction had a significant effect on employees’ performance. Job satisfaction also had a significant role as a mediator of the relationship between human resource practices and employees’ performance, except for recruitment and selection, social support, and employee relationship. This study’s findings will be useful as a guide for human resource policies and employability programmes, specifically in public service sectors such as Saudi Ports Authority that could focus on stimulating the workplace to concurrently enhance employees’ job satisfaction and performance.