As might be expected in a culture where organisations are run along strongly hierarchical lines, managers tend to be very instructional in their approach.

Subordinates view it as the boss role to take decisions and to convey those decisions down the chain for implementation. However, the leader will often include his group in a consensus-style discussion with the final decision being taken by the leader.

One of the by-products of the belief that leaders lead and followers follow is that those things which are not specifically requested are likely to remain undone. It is, therefore, imperative that all instructions given should be clear, unambiguous and complete.

It is important to the boss that his position is respected and subordinates may show extreme levels of deference. It is of course important to remember that this deference is probably not only being shown to the organisational position of the boss but also to his family status, class connections and age.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Saudi Arabia

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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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 Saudi Arabia. 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 Saudi Arabia 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:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips