Proceedings of 20th International Business Research Conference

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Proceedings of 20th International Business Research Conference
4 - 5 April 2013, Dubai, UAE, ISBN: 978-1-922069-22-1
The United Arab Emirates’ Business Context: Theory vs.
Practice
André de Waal* and Miriam Frijns**
In most managerial publications, and even in quite a few academic ones,
warnings are given about the different and difficult business environment
which exist in Arab countries. This environment is allegedly characterized
by a high religious influence, centralization of power, strong family culture
and a strong role of wasta which makes doing business arduous. However,
the context of the UAE is not typical Arab as it is very much multicultural
with many expatriates working in both local and foreign companies. Based
on an extensive literature study and subsequent interviews with Emirati and
Western and Eastern expat managers working in Dubai, we show that
much of the current literature on the UAE business context seems to be
outdated and should be replaced with new notions. These notions are
especially important in the light of the strong drive for excellence and high
performance in UAE organizations.
Track: Management – International business
*Dr. André de Waal, Associate professor Maastricht School of Management, the Netherlands & Academic director
HPO Center, the Netherlands. Email : [email protected] Website: www.hpocenter.com
**Drs. Miriam Frijns, Director/owner Nihil Admiraria, the Netherlands. Email: [email protected]
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