Most Egyptian companies tend towards extremely hierarchical structures and this is reflected in the management style most frequently witnessed within these companies.
This approach is often described as managing authority consultatively which implies the need for discussion without any loss of perceived status or power.
Thus Egyptian managers (who are on the whole men) will consult widely with colleagues but be expected to make the final, firm authoritative decision. This decision will rarely, if ever, be delegated to a subordinate – even if the subordinate is a member of the family.
After a decision has been reached, subordinates are expected to follow it to the letter and dispute or criticism are not expected or appreciated. Thus consultation has a socialising aspect within an organisation, but questions have to be asked as to the true extent of its impact on any final decisions.
Management is expected to be cautious and not take too many risks – thus decision-making can seem extremely slow and cumbersome by US standards. It is also important to remember that religious considerations could form an important element in the final decision – something Western businessmen often forget within the negotiating process. It is important to factor this into any negotiating stance.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Egypt. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.
With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Egypt and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.
Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics: