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United Arab Emirates Business Etiquette & Culture

United Arab Emirates etiquette and manners                    UAE etiquette and manners  

United Arab Emirates Introduction

The United Arab Emirates is considered one of the Gulf countries. The Gulf countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They are located on the Arabian Gulf – it is important NOT to refer to it as the Persian Gulf.

 

United Arab Emirates Fun Fact

When holding business meetings in the United Arab Emirates, some foreign businesspeople suggest holding the meeting in the lobby of an international hotel rather than in an office. The advantage of this is that there will be fewer people wandering in and out of the meeting. Also, your counterpart’s willingness to come to you demonstrates a true interest. You will also have access to refreshments that may be more to your taste.



Geert Hofstede Analysis for
United Arab Emirates


The Geert Hofstede analysis for the United Arab Emirates is almost identical to other Arab countries their Muslim faith plays a large role in the people’s lives. Large power distance and uncertainty avoidance are the predominant characteristics for this region. This indicates that it is expected and accepted that leaders separate themselves from the group and issue complete and specific directives.

The Geert Hofstede analysis for the Arab World, that includes the countries of Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, demonstrates the Muslim faith plays a significant role in the people’s lives.

Large Power Distance (PDI) (80) and Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) (68) are predominant Hofstede Dimension characteristics for the countries in this region. These societies are more likely to follow a caste system that does not allow significant upward mobility of its citizens. They are also highly rule-oriented with laws, rules, regulations, and controls in order to reduce the amount of uncertainty, while inequalities of power and wealth have been allowed to grow within the society.

When these two Dimensions are combined, it creates a situation where leaders have virtually ultimate power and authority, and the rules, laws and regulations developed by those in power reinforce their own leadership and control. It is not unusual for new leadership to arise from armed insurrection – the ultimate power, rather than from diplomatic or democratic change.

The high Power Distance (PDI) ranking is indicative of a high level of inequality of power and wealth within the society. These populations have an expectation and acceptance that leaders will separate themselves from the group and this condition is not necessarily subverted upon the population, but rather accepted by the society as their cultural heritage.

The high Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) ranking of 68, indicates the society’s low level of tolerance for uncertainty. In an effort to minimize or reduce this level of uncertainty, strict rules, laws, policies, and regulations are adopted and implemented. The ultimate goal of these populations is to control everything in order to eliminate or avoid the unexpected. As a result of this high Uncertainty Avoidance characteristic, the society does not readily accept change and is very risk adverse.

The Masculinity index (MAS), the third highest Hofstede Dimension is 52, only slightly higher than the 50.2 average for all the countries included in the Hofstede MAS Dimension. This would indicate that while women in the Arab World are limited in their rights, it may be due more to Muslim religion rather than a cultural paradigm.

The lowest Hofstede Dimension for the Arab World is the Individualism (IDV) ranking at 38, compared to a world average ranking of 64. This translates into a Collectivist society as compared to Individualist culture and is manifested in a close long-term commitment to the member 'group', that being a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules.

The predominant religion for these countries is Islam, the practice of the Muslim faith.

The combination of these two high scores (UAI) and (PDI) create societies that are highly rule-oriented with laws, rules, regulations, and controls in order to reduce the amount of uncertainty, while inequalities of power and wealth have been allowed to grow within the society. These cultures are more likely to follow a caste system that does not allow significant upward mobility of its citizens.

When these two Dimensions are combined, it creates a situation where leaders have virtually ultimate power and authority, and the rules, laws and regulations developed by those in power, reinforce their own leadership and control. It is not unusual for new leadership to arise from armed insurrection – the ultimate power, rather than from diplomatic or democratic change. More Geert Hofstede Details

Written by Stephen Taylor - the Sigma Two Group

 

Religion in the United Arab Emirates


* WORLD FACTBOOK 2011

 

An Imam explains Islam
By IMAM SHAMSHAD A. NASIR

Islam is the name of the religion that was founded 1,400 years ago by the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Islam is an Arabic word which means peace, love and complete submission and obedience to God. There is no difference between Islam and Muslims. Islam is the religion that a Muslim follows, just as Christianity is the religion which a Christian follows.

A Muslim is someone who has accepted Islam and lives his whole life according to the teachings of Islam. A true Muslim is one who is loving and caring, promotes peace, and is fully obedient and submissive to the will of God.

Islam demands from its believers that they establish peace in the world, promote love and make such examples of themselves that others, knowing that they are Muslims, feel at peace and harmony in that knowledge. This is the true Islam and what it means to be a Muslim.

The Holy Prophet of Islam has said that a true Muslim is one whose actions and words do not harm his fellow man.

ISLAMIC GREETINGS
When Muslims greet each other, instead of saying, “good morning” or “hello” they say “Assalamo Alaikum,” which means “May peace be upon you and may God's blessings be with you.” This greeting makes a Muslim aware that he has to spread love and peace wherever he goes.

ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
There are many attributes of God, one being “AsSalam” meaning “the Bestower of peace and love.” Man has been created to fashion himself to the attributes of God and Muslims must try to adopt this attribute of God.

If someone calling himself a Muslim and a follower of the Holy Prophet does not promote peace and love in his actions and does not follow this teaching, he cannot be a true follower of the Holy Prophet.

A MUSLIM'S PRAYERS
Muslims pray five times a day, asking God for his love.

They pray, “Oh God! You are Peace and from you, is Peace; Blessed are you, O Lord of Majesty and Bounty.”

THE RELIGION OF ISLAM
Islam is a religion from God for the whole of mankind and the name Islam was given to the Muslims by God himself in the Holy Quran.

“This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed my favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion.”

The Holy Quran has been sent for the guidance of mankind. It is full of wisdom and commands.


United Arab Emirates Appearance

International Business Dress and Appearance   Visitors are expected to abide by local standards of modesty however, do not adopt native clothing. Traditional clothes on foreigners may be offensive.

International Business Dress and Appearance   Despite the heat, most of the body must always remain covered.

International Business Dress and Appearance   A jacket and tie are usually required for men at business meetings. Men should wear long pants and a shirt, preferably long-sleeved, buttoned up to the collar. Men should also avoid wearing visible jewelry, particularly around the neck.

International Business Dress and Appearance   Women should always wear modest clothing in public. High necklines sleeves at least to the elbows are expected. Hemlines, if not ankle-length should at least be well below the knee. A look of baggy concealment should be the goal, pants or pant suits are not recommended. It is a good idea to keep a scarf handy, especially if entering a Mosque.

 

United Arab Emirates Behavior 

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Avoid admiring an item to an excess, your host may feel obligated to give it to you. When offered a gift, it is impolite to refuse.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Often shoes are removed before entering a building. Follow the lead of your host.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Alcohol and pork are not consumed by those that observe the Muslim religion.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  There are several styles of greetings in use, it is best to wait for your counterpart to initiate the greeting. Men shake hands with other men. Some men will shake hands women, however it is advisable for a businesswoman to wait for a man to offer his hand. A more traditional greeting between men involves grasping each other’s right hand, placing the left hand on the other’s right shoulder and exchanging kisses on each cheek.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  The left hand is considered unclean and reserved for hygiene. Gesture and eat with the right hand. Do not point at another person.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Men walking hand in hand is a sign a friendship.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  In the Muslim world, Friday is the day of rest.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Do not cross your legs when sitting, showing the bottom of your shoe or foot is offensive.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  The "thumbs up" gesture can also be considered offensive by some.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Gifts are not necessary, but appreciated. If you do give a gift, it will be open in private.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Gifts to avoid giving include:

- alcohol
- perfumes containing alcohol
- pork
- pigskin products
- personal items such as underwear
- knives
- toy dogs or gifts that picture dogs
- images of nude or partially clad women (even in paintings or sculptures with artistic merit)

 

United Arab Emirates Communications 

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Do not discuss the subject of women, not even to inquire about the health of a wife or daughter. The topic of Israel should also be avoided. Sports is an appropriate topic.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Names are often confusing. It’s best to get the names (in English) of those you will meet, speak to, or correspond with. Learn both their full names and how they are to be addressed in person before you meet.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Communication is slow, do not feel obligated to speak during periods of silence. "Yes" usually means "possibly".

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Meetings are commonly interrupted by phone calls and visits from friends and family.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  The person at a meeting who asks the most questions is likely to be the least important. The decision maker is likely a silent observer.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  A customary greeting is salaam alaykum. Shaking hands and saying kaif halak follows.

 

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