I don't think that the floppy drive on Dell is operated specifically, floppy is "too standard" so that the floppy should be operated the same way on all machines. Some additions are possible but the basis should be the same. I suspect the floppy drive geometry. Explanation:
It happens sometimes that a diskette formated in one drive is unreadable in another drive, like Warpcafe has said. In this case, you will get "drive not ready" and similar errors even if the diskette is okay. The sys0031 and sys0049 belong to this kind of errors.
You can detect whether it is the case the following way:
1. Get some DOS system diskette somewhere and start the Dell from the diskette. Or, if you have some operating system on the Dell then use the (current) operating system.
2. Start DOS from the diskette (or from the current operating system) and try reading the first OS/2 diskette. The "dir" command is enough for the test. The first and second OS/2 diskettes are normal DOS readable FAT16 diskettes.
3. If you get "drive not ready" like errors then try the diskette in another machine.
4. If the diskette is now readable then it is the geometry most likely. If the diskette is unreadable again then the diskette is bad most likely.
If it is the geometry and you are installing from diskettes, then you will need to find a "bridging machine", where you can read your OS/2 diskettes and where you can format diskettes, which are readable on your Dell. If you succeed then prepare heap of new diskettes and create a new set of installation diskettes using the "bridging machine" by means of duplicating them.
IIRC, the loaddf.zip from hobbes contains the needed programs for duplicating, that means, savedsk.exe and loaddskf.exe (or how they are called). One of them creates a disk image of a diskette on your HD, the second copies the image on a diskette. I am not sure whether they are DOS programs and not OS/2 programs. Let's hope they are. Perhaps, somebody knows more.
If you are lucky enough and have a CD then you can create installation diskettes using makedisk.exe (or .bat?) from your CD, both the needed images and loadskf.exe are on your CD. Prepare needed diskettes, start DOS on your Dell somehow, start makedisk from the CD, and create a new set of installation diskettes. You don't need any "bridging machine". You can do that no matter whether the geometry is too different or whether the original diskettes are bad.