Main Cultural Differences Between Arab and Us Managers

ISCTE – SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT COMPARATIVE INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT Similarities and Differences between Arab and American Managers Predominant Characteristics 1 2 3 Leadership Style Arab Stereotype Egalitarian, emphasis on peer approval and gain personal acceptance. Consultative Ritual, display a high desired for long-term relations, affective, e. g. , appeals to emotions and feelings, concession seeking. Hard work is a virtue in the light of the needs of man and the necessity to establish equilibrium in one’s individual and social life. Family and work are the center of life. Necessary to avoid chaos and to build a family-type environment.
American Stereotype Materialistic likes “wheeling and dealing,” emphasis on opportunities to get ahead. Participative Direct, seeking short-term relations, emphasis on facts and logical analysis,; concessions are made on occasion. Decision Style Negotiation Style 4 Work Orientation Hard work is a virtue by itself, work is the center of life. 5 Attitudes Toward Organizational Authority Important to the extent that it facilitates work, less emphasis on hierarchical relations and rules. Impersonal, emphasis on results, thriving on competition, gamesmanship, calculated risks, and maneuvering, documentation is highly valued.
All directions written, routine, formal, engages in manipulation of facts, which is justified through the manipulative “flexible ethics. ” Seniority increases in pay are not as effective as merit, incentive awards, opportunity for advancement, and money is extremely important because it’s the “name of the game. ” 6 Business Conduct Highly personalized, emphasis on honesty, moral aspects, and verbal commitment, documentation is not highly regarded. Face-to-face, informal, urgent, emphasis on human interest, and stress actual case studies or examples of how programs have benefited the people.

Accept longevity and seniority oriented pay increases, emphasis on recognition by the superior for a good job by the group and personal growth as a part of humanity . Motivation comes from social relations, interpersonal transactions, egalitarian value, and opportunity to get paid for helping other. Informal, generally judgment based, emphasis on human relations aspect of the individual performance. Highly subjective, selection depends on personal contacts, nepotism, regionalism, and family name. A sign of something is going wrong, used only in crisis situation. 7 Communication System 8 Reward Systems Motivational System Motivation comes from high achievement, hierarchical advancement and material gains. 10 Performance Appraisal A goal-oriented and wrapped into the organization’s planning system, generally objective-based and emphasis on immediate feedback. Relatively objective, standard developed, merit and experience are considered. 11 Recruitment of Personnel Use of Management Consultants 12 Highly regarded and used frequently. Abbas Ali (1988): “A CROSS-NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE OF MANAGERIAL WORK VALUE SYSTEMS” In Advances in International Comparative Management, Vol. 3, pages 151-169. 5

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