Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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  • In a matter of only 12 years, Dubai went from the picture to the left, taken around 1990, to the picture to the right, taken around 2002. This road is known as “Sheikh Zayed Road” named after the primary founder of the United Arab Emriates and was President of the UAE for 30 years. It took only 12 years to raise Dubai from a small patch of desert to an emerging cosmopolitan metropolis. Therefore, the appropriate metaphor for Dubai is ….
  • The Skyscraper! When one (in the United States) imagines a skyscraper, one remembers the Empire State Building and the skylines of New York City and Chicago; essentially American icons. However, within the last 10-20 years, Dubai has adopted this symbol of American power and capitalism and adopted it to their culture. As a result, in a span of only that time period, Dubai had pulled itself into an emerging economic power. It started this trend in the early 1990s when many businesses moved their corporate operations from various places in the Gulf region to Dubai due to the Gulf War. However, as time came about, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum opened up the city to outside investment, allowing foreigners to purchase property (NOT LAND) in Dubai. He wanted to diversify out of the oil industry since they had a low oil reserve and wanted to keep the region prosperous. Today, Dubai is considered a Global City by the World Cities Study Group and Network, and rated a Beta +, meaning that the city is instrumental in linking the United Arab Emirates, and generally the entire Gulf region to the world economy. The Skyscraper denotes two things: Power and Excess.
  • Dubai has a number of large ambitious projects. The most highly prominent project is the Burj Dubai, topped off on January 17, 2009, and is the undisputed tallest man-made structure in the world (2,684ft), surpassing even the CN Tower of Toronto (1,822ft) and even the former Warsaw Radio Mast (2,120.67 ft, collapsed in 1991). The Palm Islands is a set of Artificial Islands dredged from the ocean to become shapes of well… palm trees. Finally Dubai Marina is the last one to be brought up – there are so many projects to list – as it is the second largest marina surrounded by a number of skyscrapers. With all these building projects, it is no wonder it it displays a large of power and wealth. It does take billions of dollars to raise these large buildings straight from the desert sands. It tends to be awe inspring to those that are not used to seeing such tall structures. It does display the High Power Distance rating up close and personal. Many South Asian wrokers are brought in to build these behemoths, often for low wages. It even jolts some the locals who are used to seeing wealth disparity as a normal part of life as simply “too decadent.”
  • Excess is also evident in the skyscraper. Such disparity is very evident and is quite similar to the Ivory Tower idea, but simplified. Those on the top of the “shiny new towers of wealth” are of the elite, the haves. However, those on the bottom are with nothing, or the have nots. With economic upturn in late 2008 and the year of 2009, the story of homes on the sand vs. homes on the rocks comes right to mind. Dubai was obviously not immune to the global economic panic with the real estate bubble in Dubai popping during that time, leaving many vacancies. Many high-powered people that came to the country for work are leaving, with many debts unpaid, as in Dubai, they do have a debtor’s prison. It is expected that recovery will eventually come, but it will be slow.
  • G. Holfstede lumped all the Arab countries into a single score due to the shared religion of Islam giving them all similar or same traits with each other. This includes the United Arab Emirates.
  • The Power Distance is 80, which is large due to inherant cultural restrictions in upward mobility. However, the general populace does not see any issue with it and in fact is expected and accepted in the community. The wealthy and well off, however, do have a responsibility to take care fo the poor through Zakat, one of the five pillars of islam. It is simply a “tax” that sets aside income for alms to those in need.
  • The Uncertainty Avoidance rating is a 68 with indicates a low level tolerance for uncertainty. In Dubai, as well as most of the other Arabian states, strict laws are the name of the game here. Sharia law– Islamic religious codes for living– is strictly enforced whether or not you are Muslim. This ultimate goal is to rid or avoid the unexpected, and as a result, does not readily accept change in culture. This IS despite the fact that they built a metropolis out of the sands of a desert, but still keep strict cultural standards.
  • Believe it or not, the masculinity index (or aggressiveness) is only a “52” with the average rating of a 50.2 throughout the world. Women are indeed limited in their rights, but this is likely due to the Muslim religion rather than the culture itself. However, they do have a very low individualistic rating at 38, which indicates very close knit collective groups. Families, tribes, and extended relationships are very important in arabian life, and this does not change in Dubai. Loyalty is very important, and this rating can be related to the high UA rating that the region has.
  • There is no Long Term Orientation rating in this Holfstede’s study. However, it is expected that there is a fairly high rating. It is from the continuing use of Muslim Sharia law and continuing operations as a “going concern” basis, meaning that despite the downturn in the economy, it is considered that they will keep functioning without a complete collapse for the foreseeable future. The switch from an oil export economy to a diversified economy also shows the use of a long term orientation viewpoint. Finally, another prominent thing that is being seen as a “Long Term” Orientation outlook is locals and long-time residents of Dubai and of the United Arab Emirates see the downturn as only temporary and only a low cycle. Even though foreigners and others are leaving the country due to the problems in the global economy, Dubai has its believers that it will recover. When? No one really knows, but with Dubai only being considered “20 years old” or so, it does have a long life ahead of it.
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    1. 1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    2. 2. <ul><li>In only a matter of 12 years, Dubai went from the picture to the left, to the picture of the right. </li></ul><ul><li>This is the road known as “Shikh Zayed” Road, today a main throughfare in Dubai. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore the approriate metaphor for Dubai is … </li></ul>
    3. 3. Dubai Metaphor Skyscraper <ul><li>Originally an American icon </li></ul><ul><li>Dubai started its trend from the early 1990s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many businesses moved operations to Dubai due to Gulf War I </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum opened up the city to outside investment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wanted to diversify out of the oil business (reserves were low) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Considered a Global City by the World Cities Study Group and Network </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rating is a “Beta+” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>instrumental in linking their region/state to world economy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Displays both Power and Excessiveness </li></ul>
    4. 4. Skyscraper - Power <ul><li>Very large ambitious projects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Burj Dubai – Becoming undisputed tallest man-made structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Palm Islands – Artificial Islands the shape of a palm tree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dubai Marina – Second Largest Marina with many skyscrapers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Symbolizes Power by display of wealth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Takes billions of dollars to raise buildings out of sand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Awe inspiring by those who are not used to seeing such tall structures </li></ul></ul><ul><li>High Power Distance rating is very evident by physically seeing these structures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many South Asian ex-patriates are brought in for low wages to work on these projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Locals who are used to high disparities even say it is “way too decadent” at times </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Skyscraper - Excessiveness <ul><li>Economic disparity is very evident </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Similar to the Ivory Tower metaphor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Those in the tops of the skyscraper are elite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Those that are on the bottom are with nothing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Story of Homes on the sand vs. Homes built on Rocks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dubai real estate bubble collapsed along with the rest of the economy in late 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many buildings left empty. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many people that came to the country for work are leaving, with many debts unpaid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recovery is expected but slow </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Holfstede Model <ul><li>Shared scores to other Arab Countries due to shared religion (Islam) </li></ul><ul><li>Large Power Score Distance – 80 </li></ul><ul><li>Uncertainty Avoidance – 68 </li></ul><ul><li>Masculinity Index – 52 </li></ul><ul><li>Individual Ranking – 38 </li></ul><ul><li>Long Term Orientation – (Not Scored) </li></ul>
    7. 7. Power Distance (80) <ul><li>Large due to inherent cultural restrictions in upward mobility </li></ul><ul><li>Not something the population finds a problem -- expected and accepted in society </li></ul><ul><li>Rich do have a responsibility to take care of the poor through Zakat </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One of the five pillars of Islam. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>setting aside income for alms to those in need </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Uncertainty Avoidance (68) <ul><li>Indicates a low level tolerance for uncertainty </li></ul><ul><li>Strict laws, very legalistic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharia law (Islamic religious codes for living) strictly enforced regardless of background </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ultimate goal is to rid or avoid unexpected </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does not readily accept change in culture </li></ul>
    9. 9. Masculinity Index and Individual Rating <ul><li>Masculinity Index (52) – Average rating is “50.2” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Women are indeed limited in their rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Due to Muslim religion rather than culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Low Individualistic Rating (38) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Very close knit groups – families, tribes, or extended relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loyalty is very important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Related to the high Uncertainty Avoidance rating </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Long Term Orientation <ul><li>Not created in Hofstede’s study </li></ul><ul><li>Expected to be a fairly high rating from </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The use of Muslim law and continuing operations as a “going concern” basis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diversification from oil industry to other industries (from the massive building projects) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global economic recession burst Dubai’s real estate bubble but long-residents see it as a low cycle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reenforces the Long Term Orientation rating as they only see the global economic problem as “temporary” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. While in Dubai… <ul><li>Even thought it is hot … most of the body must remain covered </li></ul><ul><li>Abide by standards of modesty but don’t wear traditional clothes </li></ul><ul><li>Women – Good idea to keep a headscarf, no pants/pants suits </li></ul><ul><li>Alcohol, pork, and items relating to dogs are to be avoided </li></ul><ul><li>Friday is the day of rest in the Muslim World </li></ul><ul><li>Never Thumbs up! (A Japanese friend I know learned the hard way ^_^! ) </li></ul><ul><li>The customary greeting is s alaam alaykum (Peace be upon you) and responding with wa alaykum a salaam. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Source information <ul><li>http://www.dubai.ae/en.portal?topic,Article_000240,0,&_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=home </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/uae.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_arab_world.shtml </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/Zakat/ </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.religioustolerance.org/islsharia.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://sothisisdubai.com/2009/07/ </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/gawcworlds.html </li></ul>

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