Doing business: Taking account of the Arab culture
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As well as meeting the challenges and responsibilities that come with starting a new job, expatriate Australian project managers working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also have to adjust to a new and unfamiliar social and business climate as well as a new culture. There are certain Arabic cultural characteristics that should be studied by expatriates so that they will be appropriately prepared before starting business in the UAE. These include many things such as the circular approach to meetings and debate, polychronic time management activities and timing, the emphasis on hospitality, the importance of networking and the preference for making use of contacts. These aspects should be learned, understood, appreciated and followed carefully. An online 49-question survey was developed and implemented using SurveyMonkey. Western project managers working in the UAE were targeted. The online survey was followed by six case studies. The recommendations made in this paper could potentially help organisations understand how to help their expatriate project managers to succeed; in return, this will save the organizations thousands of dollars as well as the organization's and the project manager's reputation.
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