Cross-cultural training: The importance of investing in people

Sabina Cerimagic*, Jim Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
239 Downloads (Pure)


Major international companies have established themselves in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market by setting up their regional headquarters in Dubai. These international companies want to be in a growing market in a country where their companies are recognised and affiliated with a positive image. In addition, many companies have moved to the UAE for financial reasons as well. The UAE is an expanding regional market with the potential for future growth. However, there are cultural differences between Australia (and western countries generally) and the UAE (Middle Eastern). It is easy to have genuine and honest misunderstandings and, hence, it is simple to make innocent and sometimes mistakes. What those companies do not realise is that if they do not appropriately train and prepare their expatriates for their overseas assignments the expatriates are more likely to experience difficulties that can have a serious impact on their employees' effectiveness and on the company's activities. This study considers project managers in the UAE, their experiences, their training and their needs and requirements. A survey of 100 Australian project managers based in the UAE was carried out to discover the dimensions of the cultural business environment. The survey was followed by six case studies of senior management in large companies involved in project management, construction and property in the UAE. The results of these research investigations are summarised in this paper and recommendations on overcoming the deficiencies identified are discussed. Developing cross cultural training programs in line with the recommendations made in this research could lead companies to gaining a greater market share in the UAE and being recognised as an industry leader. Hence, investing in people is more likely to give the greatest return.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCOBRA 2011 - Proceedings of RICS Construction and Property Conference
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherRoyal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781907842191
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventRoyal Institution of Chartered Surveyors International Research Conference, COBRA 2011 - Salford, Salford, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Sept 201113 Sept 2011


ConferenceRoyal Institution of Chartered Surveyors International Research Conference, COBRA 2011
Abbreviated titleCOBRA 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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