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Cultural competence for doing business in The Middle East


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A brief description of importance of cultural competence in doing business and its effect on the Business etiquettes
This presentation is about cultural competence in doing business while in the Middle East or dealing with Middle Easterns

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Cultural competence for doing business in The Middle East

  1. 1. Cultural Competence<br />Doing Business in The Middle East<br />Prepared by:<br />Sahar Consulting<br />For <br />L.A.W.A<br />1<br /><br />
  2. 2. Diversity<br />Advances in technology and the advent of a global economy bring the people of the world closer together than ever before <br />Diversity is considered to be inclusive of everyone<br />It is about learning from others who are not the same, about dignity and respect for all, and about creating environments and practices that encourage learning from others and capture the advantage of diverse perspectives<br />2<br /><br />
  3. 3. What is Diversity<br />"Diversity includes all characteristics and experiences that define each of us as individuals.“ It is an entire spectrum of dimensions of an individual, including Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Age, Religion, Disability, and Sexual orientation, communication style, work style, organizational role/level, economic status, and geographic origin. <br />Diversity should be viewed as a business opportunity<br />3<br /><br />
  4. 4. What is Diversity<br />Building upon differences among team members can strengthen the bonds formed with clients and customers throughout the world. Ethnicdiversity in the workplace enables businesses to serve a broader base of clients with ease.<br />Diversity can also be grounds for making wrong assumptions about another person’s culture and commit to grave mistakes that could be avoided provided knowing these differences beforehand<br />4<br /><br />
  5. 5. Cultural Competence<br />Cultural Competence leads to either success/ failure in face-to-face cultural interaction<br />It comprises: Cultural, Linguistic & Spatial Intelligence<br />Cultural Intelligence<br /><ul><li>Ability to engage in a set of behaviors that uses skills (Language, international skills), and qualities (tolerance for ambiguity and flexibility)
  6. 6. Tuned to the culture based values and attitudes with the people with whom one interacts</li></ul>5<br /><br />
  7. 7. Cultural Competence<br />Linguistic Intelligence<br /><ul><li>Being able to interact successfully with different cultures where English is not their native language.
  8. 8. Genuine interest to bridge the language barrier</li></ul>Spatial intelligence<br /><ul><li>Understanding the proper behaviors that would facilitate a proper introduction without embarrassments e.g. Japanese see it polite to bow a little where it could sound silly to some
  9. 9. Ability or failure to adapt to spatial behaviors could make our international counterparts comfortable or ill at ease</li></ul>6<br /><br />
  10. 10. Cultural Diversity Training<br />Points to be discussed about each Country:<br /><ul><li> Summary of each culture
  11. 11. Business Structure
  12. 12. Management Style
  13. 13. Teams/ Meetings
  14. 14. Dress Code
  15. 15. Communications
  16. 16. Interacting/ Entertaining/ Gift Giving
  17. 17. Women in business
  18. 18. Cultural tips: what to do/ what not to do</li></ul>7<br /><br />
  19. 19. Middle East Countries<br />The Middle East countries are divided by cultural differences which consists of:<br /><ul><li>Religion
  20. 20. Traditions
  21. 21. Social Culture
  22. 22. Dress Codes
  23. 23. Communications
  24. 24. Depending on their geographical locations as follows</li></ul>8<br /><br />
  25. 25. Middle East Countries<br />Levant Countries:<br /><ul><li>Iraq
  26. 26. Israel
  27. 27. Jordan
  28. 28. Lebanon
  29. 29. Syria</li></ul>North Africa:<br /><ul><li>Algeria
  30. 30. Egypt
  31. 31. Lybia
  32. 32. Morocco
  33. 33. Tunisia</li></ul>Persian Gulf Area<br /><ul><li>Bahrain
  34. 34. Iran
  35. 35. Kuwait
  36. 36. Oman
  37. 37. Qatar
  38. 38. Saudia Arabia
  39. 39. U.A.E.</li></ul>Done by Alphabetical order<br />9<br /><br />
  40. 40. General common Culture in M.E.<br />Do’s<br />Do not’s<br /><ul><li>Agree on the first offer of the price – bargain!
  41. 41. Shake hand of the woman, unless she offers her hand and Vice-versa
  42. 42. Question absence on workplace when there is praying time (5 times a day)</li></ul> Give as a present chocolates with liquor / <br /><ul><li>pork chops, gold jewelry to men, silk shirts/ ties to men in certain countries
  43. 43. Always negotiate and be patient, time pressure and agreed deadlines doesn’t mean anything fixed
  44. 44. Consider deal as closed once it is signed black on white on the paper (In some areas verbal agreements are as good as written ones)
  45. 45. Respect elders and senior people to you
  46. 46. Proper follow up after meeting and get top </li></ul>management involved<br />Some more specifics<br />Traditions<br /><ul><li>Get used to answer on your request, which is: “Inshallah” (In God’s will). It means nor yes, nor no.
  47. 47. Executives, local owners are part of the family and don’t spend much time in the office – they have more of the representative function
  48. 48. Nepotism is looked at favorably because of family ties
  49. 49. Friday, Saturday are weekend days
  50. 50. Social connections are often more important than business relationship or expertise
  51. 51. During Ramadan fasting don’t touch (handshake) the man, when you are woman, be ready to have late night meetings during Ramadan
  52. 52. Use only right hand when eating without cutlery
  53. 53. Question: “How is family doing” is very common</li></ul>Common salutations in the whole Middle East: “Assallam-u Aleikum”, except in Israel it is “Shalom” and they mean the same: Peace<br />10<br /><br />
  54. 54. Cultural Diversity<br />What to watch for?<br /><ul><li>Org. structure and processes
  55. 55. Decision making levels
  56. 56. Body Language, & communication style</li></ul> *********************<br /><ul><li>Time perception
  57. 57. Age importance – seniority factor
  58. 58. Personal honor, saving face</li></ul> ***********************<br /><ul><li>Time value/ Entertainment
  59. 59. Religious influence in daily life
  60. 60. Meeting & Corporate culture</li></ul>Cultural Identity<br />Being aware of cultural diversities, knowing how to deal with shows respect and creates an ambiance of trust which is crucial to do business in the Middle East<br />Core Values <br />Customs & Traditions<br />Diversity is more than tolerating differences, it is respecting, appreciating and understanding the different characteristics of different cultures<br />11<br /><br />
  61. 61. Doing business in the M.E. (Except Israel)<br /><ul><li>The Middle East is an area that carries many stereotypes, myths, and great diversity in the region, However, a common religion, language and culture make the highlighting of general characters and aspects of the region valid. Through knowledge of these differences, stereotypes are broken and barriers to communications are reduced.
  62. 62. Middle East can not be discussed in a cultural sense without mentioning Islam. Islam permeates all levels of society. It provides guidance, values and rules for personal life, community relations and ways of doing business.
  63. 63. Muslims are obliged to pray 5 times a day, meetings to be fitted around those times. Friday is the congregational prayers and it is obligatory for all males to attend, they don’t drink alcohol or eat pork .</li></ul>12<br /><br />
  64. 64. Doing business in the M.E. (Except Israel)<br /><ul><li>Avoid trying to do business in the M.E. during the month of Ramadan. Muslims fast from dawn till dusk which involves refraining from eating, drinking or smoking.
  65. 65. The traditional Islamic greeting is 'Asalamualaykum' (peace be with you). As a non-Muslim you would not be expected to use it, but if you did you would receive the reply 'waalaykumsalam' (and peace be with you).
  66. 66. Handshakes are always used and can last a long time. Islamic etiquette recommends that one waits for the other to withdraw their hand first before doing the same.
  67. 67. Always use the right hand.
  68. 68. Do not be surprised if your hand is held while you are led somewhere. Holding hands among men is common and does not carry the same connotations as it does in the West.</li></ul>13<br /><br />
  69. 69. Doing business in the M.E. (Except Israel)<br />Women in Business<br /><ul><li>Role of women in business vary from one country to the other in the Middle East, but generally:
  70. 70. A male should wait and see if she extends her hand first
  71. 71. Avoid touching and prolonged eye contact with women
  72. 72. In certain countries do not ask about any female colleague/ relative/ spouse etc…
  73. 73. A big percentage of the women in the M.E. are veiled to different degrees.
  74. 74. Western women should wear conservative business suits preferably skirt suits below the knee never above it, cover most of the arms, and neck
  75. 75. Western women should not extend her hand to a male from the M.E. unless he does first </li></ul>14<br /><br />
  76. 76. Doing business in the M.E. (Except Israel)<br /><ul><li>Middle Easterns do not separate professional/ personal life. Doing business revolves more around personal relationships, family ties, trust and honor. There is a tendency to priorities personal matters above all else. It is crucial that business relationships are built on mutual friendship and trust.
  77. 77. Doing favors is very common, never forgotten and always reciprocated
  78. 78. Value on someone's word is greater than a written agreement. A person's word is connected to their honor. Contracts are considered only as MOUs . Be sure to promise only things you can deliver. Failure to do so will result in loss of honor/ face
  79. 79. Local companies are family–oriented/ owned. Nepotism is a way of life and is actively encouraged. Decisions are made by the head of the family/ company- The senior / older member.</li></ul>15<br /><br />
  80. 80. Doing business in the M.E. (Except Israel)<br /><ul><li>Meetings should not be made far in advance . Confirm it verbally with the person you will meet a few days before.
  81. 81. Initial meetings are all about relationship building. Building trust and compatibility which are key factors. Meetings can be chaotic, no agenda is followed. Be prepared to exercise patience. Phone calls are taken, people bulge in and discuss their issues.
  82. 82. Punctuality is not really observed in the M.E. fashionably late is acceptable
  83. 83. Middle Easterns are traders and very good negotiators. Use of high pressure tactics will be counter-productive.
  84. 84. Decisions are mad e very slowly- Patience is required
  85. 85. Personal space is not observed don’t step back as considered rude, direct eye contact invokes trust, emotions and loud heated discussions are common and show interest</li></ul>16<br /><br />
  86. 86. Doing business in the M.E. (Except Israel)<br /><ul><li>It is common for business associates to greatly praise each other as part of the all-important relationship-building phase of doing business, return the favor
  87. 87. People do not like to say ‘no’ or deliver negative news
  88. 88. Management style is directional and employees expect managers to lead in a fairly authoritative manner. This can mean that instructions are given in a very direct abrupt way.
  89. 89. When in meetings, avoid pointing the soles of your shoes at your counter parties as this could be seen as rude. It is also best to pass any documents, refreshments etc. with your right hand.
  90. 90. Accept coffee/ tea when presented if not you will be considered rude
  91. 91. Dress conservatively, but very smartly. You will be judged partly on your appearance</li></ul>17<br /><br />
  92. 92. Doing business in the M.E. (Except Israel)<br /><ul><li> Commonalities and differences of doing business with each country listed on slide 7 will be discussed individually
  93. 93. Role of women
  94. 94. Entertaining
  95. 95. Languages used
  96. 96. Traditions and culture
  97. 97. Different dress codes
  98. 98. Family importance
  99. 99. Corporate Cultures
  100. 100. Degree of influence of religion and past colonies
  101. 101. Gift Giving</li></ul>18<br /><br />
  102. 102. Doing business in Israel<br /><ul><li>Israel is a Jewish state, Israeli society is a polychronic culture(relation-oriented),In the Israeli culture feelings and emotions are primary then comes intuition.
  103. 103. First meeting dress conservatively then you can dress casually once the relationship is built
  104. 104. Israelis are a very close, touchy, feely society - as in a close family, but if they don’t shake hands don’t be offended
  105. 105. Maintain direct eye contact, personal space is not observed
  106. 106. Use their first name, they might call you “Mr.” ask them to call you by your first name
  107. 107. Don’t plan any business on Friday/ Saturday : It is Shabbat
  108. 108. Israelis are ready for immediate action, wanting things now
  109. 109. Meetings can be spontaneous, with relaxed punctuality</li></ul>19<br /><br />
  110. 110. Doing business in Israel<br /><ul><li>Israelis are great business men/ negotiators
  111. 111. Contracts are crucial to agreements, verbal is not enough
  112. 112. Israelis Jews are Kosher i.e. they don’t eat pork, poultry separated from dairy, meat should be blessed by a rabbi etc.
  113. 113. Meetings are informal and can be interrupted by phone calls
  114. 114. Emotions and loud voices can be used in meetings just a show of interest
  115. 115. Do not speak about Israel government, politics or religious issues. If they bring it up - be a good listener!
  116. 116. They are very direct to the point and consider “Takhless”
  117. 117. which means the bottom line in their discussions
  118. 118. Israelis can be curious and not shy to ask about your salary is, if you're married or other intimate questions. Respond in a general, kind and polite manner such as "not enough" or "comfortable". </li></ul>20<br /><br />
  119. 119. For more information on Cultural Competence and Business Etiquettes in the Middle East Contact<br />Sahar Andrade<br />Sahar Consulting, LLC<br />(818) 861 9434<br /><br /><br />21<br /><br />