Local management style will be directive and paternalistic. Managers are expected to give clear and direct instructions to their subordinates and the subordinate will be expected to carry out the instructions to the letter.

Lack of clear directional leadership will be seen as confusing (at best) and at the extreme, as very poor management. As a result of this approach, it can appear to outsiders that local managers are overly abrupt or even rude with their staff.

It is important to think of these internal relationships in terms of a family. The boss is the ‘father’ and the employees are the ‘children’. The father tells the children what to do but also looks after them and cares for them. The ‘children’ do as they are told and show their father ‘respect’. It is a two-way relationship in which all parties benefit.

One of the by-products of this paternalistic management style can be a lack of initiative. Employees do what the boss tells them to do but no more. To do more than you are told would be to disobey your boss. Therefore, make sure that any instructions are delivered clearly, precisely and comprehensively. If you don’t, things might not get done at all.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in the United Arab Emirates

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

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:

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