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Bridge the cultural gap: How Dutch expatriates perceive the emirati culture

Hamzasb, Addis (2021) Bridge the cultural gap: How Dutch expatriates perceive the emirati culture.

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Abstract:In the past decades, where globalization of business has widely increased, culture became an important factor in affecting business internationalization and the decision-making of a company regarding doing business abroad. In the case of the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands, both countries have recently signed a bilateral agreement to increase their mutual business trade and globalization. As no studies have been conducted yet to explore how Dutch expatriates in the UAE perceive the Emirati cultural behaviors and cultural standards in personal and professional areas, this master study seeks to explore the Emirati culture from the perspective of Dutch expatriates by answering the following research question: “How do Dutch expatriates in the UAE perceive the Emirati culture during daily interaction with Emiratis?” In order to answer this research question, this paper follows the qualitative theoretical framework of Thomas (1991), where cultural standards of a specific culture are indicated based on possible cultural clashes. For this reason, the qualitative research interviewing technique of “critical incidents” (Urquhart, et al., 2003) has been used by the researcher of this paper to explore Emirati cultural standards based on how Dutch interviewees living in the UAE and working with Emiratis daily perceive/have perceived Emirati culture during their interaction with Emiratis on personal and professional levels. The findings of this study identified thirty cultural behaviors clustered in the following twelve Emirati cultural standards: highly indirectness, politeness, collective society, social division, the principle of Wasta, showing off social status, helpful and generous in hospitality, social life separation between genders, tolerance and acceptance towards other cultures and beliefs, fluency in business, high hierarchy, and the acceptance of strict rules and bureaucracy. Surprisingly, the critical incidents mentioned by the interviewees have led to new findings regarding possible cultural standard differences within Emiratis themselves. These differences are due to different social and demographical factors, namely, study abroad or locally, gender of the manager/employee, and the emirate they live in or come from. Moreover, the following tentative values may be the underlying source that impacts the way Emiratis behave on both the personal and professional aspects: interdependence, keeping harmony, Bedouin pride, and inshallah. Keywords: Emirati cultural behaviors, Emirati cultural standards, tentative cultural values.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:02 science and culture in general
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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