Talentsage, Sunday 30 August 2020
If you’re an entrepreneur setting up in, say, Saudi Arabia, you won’t get far without meeting people face-to-face and a little ‘wasta’. It’s important to invest time in building relationships. In Kuwait, family matters: business is preferably done with known and trusted people. Leaders are accessible, with a widely-adopted open-door approach in the Arab business world. If you’re visiting someone based in Bahrain and they are unexpectedly called away to consult on a pressing matter, be prepared to wait.
In the UAE, 80% of the population are expatriates with large groups of Europeans, Asian Muslims, as well as people from around the Arab region. “The nature of the diverse and multicultural society there means that many western business leaders can run their organisations without fully understanding local customs and values,” says Randall S Peterson, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Academic Director of the Leadership Institute at London Business School. “But it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.
“Arab Middle Eastern culture is rooted in trust. People are generally guided by tenets of the Quran: they respect their culture, uphold their traditions and value relationships.” What’s more, he says the Arab Middle East leadership style can teach people worldwide lessons in teamwork.