The Gulf Arab    The Gulf Arab Leadership Style    A source of global competitive advantage    Leadership Style        A s...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                     A source of global competitive advantageAuthorsProfessor William Scott ...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                        A source of global competitive advantageContentsIntroduction ..........
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                A source of global competitive advantageIntroductionOxford Strategic Consult...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style        A source of global competitive advantageIs there an‘Arab Management Style’?         ...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style       A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Why bother?   ...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Why b...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style              A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style        ...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style              A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Buildin...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                 A source of global competitive advantage     “I apply not my sword where my...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style              A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Creatin...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                 A source of global competitive advantage     “We come from a tough desert e...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style              A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Leading...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                 A source of global competitive advantage     The Gulf Arab Manager sees the...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style               A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Treasu...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                 A source of global competitive advantage     The Gulf Arab Manager sees tim...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style              A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Honouri...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                 A source of global competitive advantage     The Gulf Arab Manager feels a ...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style               A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management StyleTrading...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                 A source of global competitive advantage     want tourists, tourists want b...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style              A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Being t...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                A source of global competitive advantage     “We always set difficult challe...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style              A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Continu...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style                 A source of global competitive advantage     “What distinguishes us from ot...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style            A source of global competitive advantageExample Training ProgrammeTo gain compet...
The Gulf Arab Leadership Style          A source of global competitive advantage           Next Steps:         Your opport...
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The Gulf Arab leadership Style by Oxford Strategic Consulting

  1. 1. The Gulf Arab The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage1
  2. 2. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageAuthorsProfessor William Scott JacksonScott DruckBashar KariemAcknowledgementsThe authors would like to thank the postal services andother parties who provided feedback and commentson the complex nature of measuring performance inthe postal sector and the wide variety of socio-politicalcontexts within the G20. The feedback and advice fromvarious parties has proved valuable in producing thisreport and will certainly be useful for future editions.About Oxford Strategic ConsultingOxford Strategic Consulting provides bespoke research,strategic advice and implementation support tocorporations, organisations and governments worldwide.Blending academic insight with commercial expertise,Oxford Strategic Consulting helps its clients define andachieve their strategic goals.To discuss any aspect of this reportor to order further copies, pleaseemail reports@oxfordstrategicconsulting.comOxford Strategic Consulting34 St. John Street, Oxford UK All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitteed in any form by any means without a valid paid-for license or the prior written permission of Oxford Strategic Consulting. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this report, the authors and publisher accept no responsibility for any errors it many contain, or for any loss, financial or otherwise, sustained by any person or organisation using this publication.2
  3. 3. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageContentsIntroduction ..................................................................................................................... 4Is there an ‘Arab Management Style’?.................................................................... 5The Gulf Arab Management Style: Why bother?..................................................... 6The Gulf Arab Management Style: Why bother?..................................................... 7The Gulf Arab Management Style Project:The Gulf Arab Management Style..................................................................................... 8The Gulf Arab Management Style: Building Lasting Relationships...................... 9The Gulf Arab Management Style: Creating Bold Visions...................................11The Gulf Arab Management Style: Leading as Head of the ‘Family....................13The Gulf Arab Management Style: Treasuring Time.............................................15The Gulf Arab Management Style: Honouring Responsibility.............................17The Gulf Arab Management Style Trading with Respect....................................19The Gulf Arab Management Style: Being the Best..............................................21The Gulf Arab Management Style: Continuously adapting..................................23Example Training Programme..................................................................................25Next Steps: Your opportunities.....................................................................................263
  4. 4. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageIntroductionOxford Strategic Consulting is delighted to present its latest research into the Gulf ArabManagement Style. This contains important insight into using the Gulf Region’s unique attributesand capabilities to deliver sustainable competitive advantage.The Gulf Region is an increasingly important driver of global economic growth. It is a key tradinghub, with rapid growth in financial services, technology and other industries in addition to themajor petrochemical resources. With an increasingly educated, young and ambitious population,the Gulf Region will only gain strength and importance on the global economic stage.The Gulf is also home to unique cultures and peoples, with a correspondingly unique set of values,beliefs, actions and behaviours. It follows that these unique attributes create a Gulf-specifi c wayof doing business, yet this has never been studied or documented. It is assumed that Westernmanagement styles and practices are used and are appropriate in the Gulf Region, but this is notnecessarily the case.Research shows that organisations can achieve sustainable competitive advantage throughowning and deploying scarce but valuable resources that are difficult to copy. Human capabilitiesare extremely difficult to copy, often being interwoven with organisational history and culture,management style and many other factors that are difficult to replicate. Human capabilities are oneof the best strategic differentiators.So if we can identify and replicate the Gulf Management Style, we would have a key source ofcompetitive advantage for Gulf-owned global and local organisations.However, the Gulf Management Style has not been properly defined. Without a clearunderstanding of it, there is a risk that this style will become dissipated and a source of strategiccompetitive advantage lost.OSC therefore performed a research study to establish whether a distinct Gulf Arab ManagementStyle exists, whether it adds value to Gulf businesses, and how it can be replicated and developedto deliver further success. This paper presents the findings of the research, as well as some practicalrecommendations to build on the unique capabilities shown by successful Gulf Arab Managers andLeaders.The result is a clearly defined framework for the Gulf Management Style, from which we havebuilt a series of leadership and management development programs, change initiatives, strategyworkshops and other resources that help Gulf companies create value and build strategicadvantage.OSC welcomes your comments on this paper and the practical advantages that the GulfManagement Style offers. You will find contact details at the end of the document.We hope you find this valuable and look forward to hearing from you.Professor William Scott-JacksonOxford, UK May 20124
  5. 5. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageIs there an‘Arab Management Style’? Arab Management Levant Style Maghreb Management Management Style Style Gulf Arab Management Style KSA Qatar Bahrain Omani Management Management Management Management Style Style Style Style Emirati Management Style Abu Dhabi Dubai RAK Management Management Management Style Style Style5
  6. 6. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Why bother? The competitive market Firm C Firm B Firm X Competitive Advantage Firm A Firm D The ‘X’ factor: A differentiating capability Valuable (in relation E.g. innovative capacity, to the market) ability to exploit knowledge Rare The Gulf Arab Hard to imitate Management Style Hard to substitute Owned by you6
  7. 7. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Why bother? • he Arab Management Style has not been widely studied T • ny capability that is distinctive, valuable and hard to copy can be a source of A real advantage • t has elements that would be considered as advanced in Western management I • t could have particular relevance when dealing with a downturn IThe Gulf Arab Management StyleProject:PURPOSE • iagnose, for the first time ‘the Gulf Arab Management Style’ D • s seen by the Managers – aspirational, positive, valuable A • reate a range of training programmes for Ex-pat and Gulf Arab Managers C • romote and market the Gulf Arab Management Style worldwide PMETHOD (starting with Emirates and Dubai to date) • tructured interviews with a selection of Senior Managers S • urvey and interview staff and students S • eview previous writings and theories: History, culture, management R • nalysis of results to create a definition of the Gulf Arab Management Style A • ropose and challenge in forums, workshops and organisations P • xtend data collection into Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen E etc7
  8. 8. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style Trading With Respect Being Continuously the Best Adapting Building Culture Honouring Lasting Relationships Islam Responsibility History Creating Treasuring Bold Leading Time Visions as Head of the ‘Family’Drivers of the Gulf ArabManagement StyleHistory Culture IslamRecent past: boom and bust Hospitality What the Quran says about:Harsh desert nomad life Family and tribal loyalty - The value of workPearl fishing and impact of Curiosity and perseverance - Business and profitworld trade - Ethics of businessTrade always crucial - Treat others with respectAlways high foreign population8
  9. 9. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Building Lasting Relationships Trading With Respect Being Continuously the Best Adapting Building Culture Honouring Lasting Relationships Islam Responsibility History Creating Treasuring Bold Leading Time Visions as Head of the ‘Family’ “It is vitally important that people be loyal to their leaders, but it is even more important that a leader be loyal to his people. A leader and his people share a bond of faith in each other, which, if broken, is extremely difficult to fix.” H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum9
  10. 10. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage “I apply not my sword where my lash suffices, nor my lash where my tongue is enough. And even if there be one hair binding me to my fellowmen, I do not let it break: when they pull I loosen, and if they loosen I pull” Caliph Mu’äwiyah AD 661-680 in Muna :63 For the Gulf Arab Manager, relationships are extremely important in all aspects of life, including business, and the power of relationships sets them apart. • Actively seeks to build wide and influential relationships. • Operates in a manner that builds trust in others. • Is honest at all times and displays openness to colleagues and customers. • Respects other people’s views and customs (politeness). • Invests time in maintaining existing relationships. • Supports friends and family in all aspects of life - and gains support from them. • Demonstrates trust in others. • Sees long term relationship as more important than short term gain. • Values loyalty. • Adopts a ‘person-oriented’ rather than impersonal approach to business. • Shares knowledge and ‘discloses’ to those in close relationships. • Manages conflict10
  11. 11. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Creating Bold Visions Trading With Respect Being Continuously the Best Adapting Building Culture Honouring Lasting Relationships Islam Responsibility History Creating Treasuring Bold Leading Time Visions as Head of the ‘Family’ “The word ‘impossible’ is not in leaders’ dictionaries. No matter how big the challenges, strong faith, determination and resolve will overcome them…. A leader does not necessarily need to be the most intelligent member of his group ... rather he is the one with the clearest and most far-reaching vision.” HH Sheikh Mohammmed bin Rashid al Maktoum11
  12. 12. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage “We come from a tough desert environment so we are able to take the difficult challenging road to meet our goals. We have a strong ability to vision the future and we consider risks as a part of implementation, not so much part of the decision itself. Risks are always present but should not be an excuse for defeat.” HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem The Gulf Arab Manager seeks out and embraces challenge – always taking the tough road if it is the right one. • ees the ‘impossible’ as an enjoyable goal (like a mountain to climb or a race to S run). • reates and communicates a highly-stretching and bold vision for the future. C • ets long term goals and demonstrates unerring confidence that these can be S achieved. • ecognises risks but sees these as implementation challenges, not key decision R factors. • btains and clarifies information – understands the key decision issue quickly O without missing anything. • xpects success, but not destroyed by failure. E • njoys massive achievement against impossible odds – takes pride in visible E signs of achievement. • ees any failure as a learning experience but not as personal failure S • ries to get many different points of view and perspectives (does rely on single T source of advice) • as confidence in own decisions and ability to work through any mistake or H risk. • ptimistic and passionate – to believe in a higher vision with no boundaries. O • cts fast to take advantage of opportunities A “For example, we wanted to compete in modern container world so instead of waiting 18 months to build cranes we bought second hand from UK in 3 months. “ HE Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah Vice Chairman, DP World12
  13. 13. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Leading as Head of the ‘Family Trading With Respect Being Continuously the Best Adapting Building Culture Honouring Lasting Relationships Islam Responsibility History Creating Treasuring Bold Leading Time Visions as Head of the ‘Family’ “The relationship between the leaders and the people of the UAE is one of the secrets behind the nation’s success…Our leadership style is to make the organisation a family with a head whose job is to make the family strong and successful but also to look after the members of the family.” HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem13
  14. 14. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage The Gulf Arab Manager sees the company or their team as like their family - with the same obligations and responsibilities to those being led and leading. • eads the team as ‘head of the family’ with the same duties, responsibilities and L authority. • ecognises obligation to colleagues and duty to support, guide and nurture R team members. • emonstrates strong loyalty to their boss and expect strong loyalty from their D team. • Learn from our fathers’ – respect for experience, age and knowledge. ‘ • very employee made to feel part of the ‘family’ with obligations and benefits. E • eeks to be a strong role model for their people by gaining knowledge and S guidance from their leader and sharing it freely. • nformal constant communications both upwards and downwards. I • eeks to get to know the personal issues of their people and help them where S possible. • onsults extensively to understand the thoughts and feelings of colleagues and C create a sense of involvement. • alances duties to ‘work family’ with duties to ‘non-work family’ and other B communities. • as an ‘open door’ policy where people of various levels can gain access to the H ‘head’ at any time (re majlis). • upports the ‘head’ in public but also say what you really think in private S without implying disloyalty – it’s your decision but …14
  15. 15. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Treasuring Time Trading With Respect Being Continuously the Best Adapting Building Culture Honouring Lasting Relationships Islam Responsibility History Creating Treasuring Bold Leading Time Visions as Head of the ‘Family’ “Time is the most precious thing we have; if we let it slip away, we can’t get it back - there is a lot to be done and little time to do it all. Time is not neutral - it is either a close friend or an enemy … Waiting has never been our choice in the past, nor is it in the present. We are always striving, anticipating the future and preparing for it.” HH Sheikh Mohammed15
  16. 16. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage The Gulf Arab Manager sees time as a precious resource to be utilised and enjoyed. • o artificial time boundaries between work and life. N • hings have a time that is right – priorities control use of time, not vice versa. T • mportant to have a view (instinct) on the appropriate timing of things. I • ive in the moment (not the future or the past – Sheikh Mohammed says no L ‘tomorrow’ in our dictionary’). • ime is precious and should not be wasted. T • rioritise and maximise use of time – the Gulf Arab Manager manages time to P maximise achievement. • o for things, be proactive, make things happen but really make the most of G whatever you’re doing (even relaxation). • anage tensions and pressures on time and potential impacts on others. M • romises must be kept (i.e. deadlines) – no excuses. P • rocesses and plans are in order to achieve objective, not for their own sake. P • on’t over-plan – get on with it and manage problems that arise, design and D execute in parallel.16
  17. 17. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Honouring Responsibility Trading With Respect Being Continuously the Best Adapting Building Culture Honouring Lasting Relationships Islam Responsibility History Creating Treasuring Bold Leading Time Visions as Head of the ‘Family’ “To hold others responsible for failure is a way of escaping one’s own responsibility. Responsibility is a heavy burden and a great honour at the same time. Whoever shoulders responsibility must be worthy of it.” HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum “Coming from the desert, we have a natural sense of responsibility for our people and the environment” HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem17
  18. 18. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage The Gulf Arab Manager feels a great sense of shared responsibility to the family, tribe, company, country and the world including people, economy and environment. They feel (and have to feel) a strong sense of belonging to their various communities and always aim for sustained physical and psychological prosperity • cts responsibly in all aspects of life – work, home and community. Not A compartmentalised. • akes decisions on the basis of wider responsibilities, as well as ‘business case’. M • cts as a role model and encourages others to uphold their responsibilities to A their people, company and country. • emonstrates a sense of pride in their country and seeks opportunities to D promote and support it at all times. • ries to balance the needs of different communities to which they belong T (personal, business, world, environment, nature etc) but without seeing them as separate. • lways takes a long-term view to achieve sustainable prosperity. A18
  19. 19. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management StyleTrading with Respect Trading With Respect Being Continuously the Best Adapting Building Culture Honouring Lasting Relationships Islam Responsibility History Creating Treasuring Bold Leading Time Visions as Head of the ‘Family’ “For a dialogue to be fruitful, there must be mutual respect for each other’s humanity, culture and rights. A dialogue is not true if it does not lead to an understanding of one another.” HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President Ruler of Gulf Arab “We are open to other peoples and we are not fearful of difference. We know we can deal with all peoples and we know how to find out what they want and then give it to them. we19
  20. 20. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage want tourists, tourists want beaches so we build many kilometres for them. We ask them what they want so they will flock to our offerings” HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman Gulf Arab World “Today the Gulf Arab Manager exemplifies tolerance and a blend of cultures that is unique. In order to do the most, and best, business they expect to adjust to the customer – whatever nationality. They don’t wait for the other person to adjust.” HE Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah Vice Chairman, DP World The Gulf Arab Manager wants to do business, is open to others peoples’ views and not afraid of the differences. The Gulf Arab Manager is interested in what others want and strives to give it to them if possible. • eeks out solutions that are mutually beneficial. S • istens to the needs of customers of all nationalities and cultures in order to L understand what they want to achieve. • s hospitable and friendly to all people irrespective of culture or nationality. I • illing to learn from others of all backgrounds and nationalities. W • isplays an active interest in other cultures and nationalities. D • ulf Arab has always welcomed immigrant merchants and workers and G recognises their contribution. • he Gulf Arab Manager adapts behaviour to other cultural norms, but without T sacrificing the fundamentals. • s very well mannered - proper behaviour is infectious. I • xercises common sense and emotional intelligence. E20
  21. 21. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Being the Best Trading With Respect Being Continuously the Best Adapting Building Culture Honouring Lasting Relationships Islam Responsibility History Creating Treasuring Bold Leading Time Visions as Head of the ‘Family’ “A leader must take advantage of the opportunity when he sees it, and if the opportunity is not there, he should be prepared to make it…. If we were deer and stopped running, we would fall prey to lions, If we were lions and stopped chasing, we would die of hunger” H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum21
  22. 22. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage “We always set difficult challenges – especially if people say we’ll never do it or it’s impossible. We are proud of our achievements and work very, very hard to be the best” HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem The Gulf Arab Manager strives to be the best in everything – proud of achievements and aiming for long-term prosperity: • roud of being the best and being recognised as such. P • onscious of ‘booms and bust’, aims for sustainable prosperity through diverse C interests and continuous focus – act as if it could all disappear tomorrow. • ims for world-leading achievement in everything - ‘beyond best practice’. A • ommunicates that highest quality outputs are vital. C • rives a performance culture where individuals’ output is measured and D improved. • mproves work processes and implementing new technology to ensure detail I doesn’t cloud long-term vision and that quality is maintained and bureaucracy is minimised. • xceeds international standards and governance. E • e the best because they want to, not because of legislation or compliance. B • nsures that colleagues’ achievements are also recognised and rewarded. Don’t E take the credit but act modestly and acknowledge the help and support of ‘father’ figures. • Know through doing’ – (very similar to advanced learning ideas). ‘ • Know your own weaknesses but don’t see them as limitations’, just knowledge ‘ to acquire or experience to gain.22
  23. 23. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageThe Gulf Arab Management Style:Continuously adapting Trading With Respect Being Continuously the Best Adapting Building Culture Honouring Lasting Relationships Islam Responsibility History Creating Treasuring Bold Leading Time Visions as Head of the ‘Family’ “Change is the norm and every change brings benefits and risks. When changes are rapid and radical, they raise certain concerns … but it is a positive concern, that focuses on gaining the benefits of change and avoiding its risks. Yes, changes affect UAE society, but we have to direct these changes towards achieving further benefits for our society.” Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum23
  24. 24. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage “What distinguishes us from others is our passionate desire to adapt to a changing world rather than expecting it to adapt to us. When we needed foreign workers – we learnt their language – we didn’t expect them to learn Arabic. We needed to make our country attractive for employees – we have done that – we needed to make our country attractive for investors and we have done that also. Change is constant and rapid – we enthusiastically look for it and adapt to it to continue our prosperity.” Farid Ahmed. Secretary General Gulf Arab World The Gulf Arab Manager continuously adapts to others, to the environment and to the future, actively scanning the external environment to identify trends, new opportunities and potential threats. • trives to understand the impact of these changes on the business S • dentifies developments that need to take place in order to maximise I opportunities • akes appropriate measures to ensure benefits are realised T • onstantly reviews plans to adapt to external changes or slippage C • estless and not satisfied with ‘status quo’. Always looking to improve things. R • akes the best practice from the outside world – and then tries to improve. T • earns through exposure to other countries, organisations, cultures L • earns through wide ranging conversations with many different people L • ctively sifts immense sources of information to identify key factors A24
  25. 25. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantageExample Training ProgrammeTo gain competitive advantage through understanding,deploying and maximising the benefits of the Gulf ArabManagement Style Understanding: Developing: Sustaining: 1 day workshop for all 1 day workshop for 1 day workshop for Managers experienced Managers advanced Managers Workshop 1 Workshop 2 Workshop 3 Understanding Developing Sustaining The GAMS Your GAMS The GAMS • istorical context and H • elf Assessment S • eam Assessment T cultural influences • reas for A • reas for A • source of A Improvement Improvement competitive advantage • Development • evelopment Others D • ey Elements K Actions • ctions to sustain the A • ensions and Synergies T GAMS25
  26. 26. The Gulf Arab Leadership Style A source of global competitive advantage Next Steps: Your opportunities There are several practical ways to take advantage of the Gulf Arab Management Style within your business. Some example next steps: 1. Run a management development program – start with a pilot where you can refine the approach 2. Review, recommend and develop the optimum style for your organisation based on an assessment of your strategy, your market and the needs of your workforce 3. Benchmark your managers and prioritise improvement areas – consider using OSC’s Fast Assessment Tool 4. Hold a leadership workshop to define the highest priority areas where the Gulf Arab Management Style can add most value You are also welcome to contribute to further research into specific aspects of the Gulf Arab Management Style, such as how it can be best used in your industry or country. OSC has research sponsorship opportunities in these and other areas, all of which take forward the thought-leadership and present an excellent way to raise your profile and contribute to national growth. We welcome your views and input. Please contact OSC to discuss your requirements and ideas. You will find contact details at the end of this paper. Contact Professor William Scott-Jackson wsj@oxfordstrategicconsulting.com 0044 7785 11091026

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