As with most strongly hierarchical cultures, teams tend to be thought of as a group of individuals working to a strong leader.
The leader tells individual team members what to do and the team members report back directly to the leader. Therefore teams tend to work vertically rather than horizontally.
In any case, for a team to work well together, everybody needs to have formed a strong bond. Traditionally teams would have consisted of extended family members working together – and so the bonds were already formed. It can be difficult to bring a group of locals together who do not know each other and expect them to work easily as a team from the beginning. In such a situation, people tend to display suspicion of one another and progress can be slow.
Within any gathering of Emiratis hierarchy will always be present and even if you wish to develop a flat system within the team it is likely that traditional class and family issues will result in an unofficial hierarchy developing very quickly indeed.
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 the United Arab Emirates. 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 the United Arab Emirates 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: