Doing business: Taking account of the Arab culture

Sabina Cerimagic, Jim Smith

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


As well as meeting the challenges and responsibilities that come with starting a new job, expatriate Australian project managers working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also have to adjust to a new and unfamiliar social and business climate as well as a new culture. There are certain Arabic cultural characteristics that should be studied by expatriates so that they will be appropriately prepared before starting business in the UAE. These include many things such as the circular approach to meetings and debate, polychronic time management activities and timing, the emphasis on hospitality, the importance of networking and the preference for making use of contacts. These aspects should be learned, understood, appreciated and followed carefully. An online 49-question survey was developed and implemented using SurveyMonkey. Western project managers working in the UAE were targeted. The online survey was followed by six case studies. The recommendations made in this paper could potentially help organisations understand how to help their expatriate project managers to succeed; in return, this will save the organizations thousands of dollars as well as the organization's and the project manager's reputation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of RICS COBRA 2013 (online)
EditorsC Eriksson
PublisherRoyal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventRoyal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, COBRA 2013 - New Delhi, New Delhi, India
Duration: 10 Sept 201312 Sept 2013


ConferenceRoyal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, COBRA 2013
Abbreviated titleRICS COBRA 2013
CityNew Delhi


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