UAE Management Style

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

Free Download

Overview

The United Arab Emirates is still predominantly dependent on oil revenues but, having said that, represents the most diversified economy in the Gulf region. All the Emirates have made concerted efforts over the past couple of decades to develop a future in which the country could continue to prosper in a post-fossil fuel world.

As a result of this drive for economic diversification, the UAE has become a magnet for international companies looking to develop new markets and increase their global footprint. As an affluent society, the UAE offer good opportunities across a wide-range of both consumer and industrial areas and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

However, the UAE is a Gulf state and needs to be approached with a degree of caution. Things work differently in the UAE than they probably do ‘back home’ and if you are considering doing business in the United Arab Emirates then it is essential to do some homework in advance. Do not be fooled by the fact that the country is home to a large number of expatriates from all over the world – the decision-makers are Emirati and you need to understand their local culture and business mentality if you are to have any hope of success.

Remember that relationship -building is the key but that it takes time and patience to build those relationships. Don’t try to rush things and don’t expect immediate results – you may be lucky but usually patience is an essential trait when working in the UAE.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Emirati business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

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