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Brief Description of the Situation
A woman from a Western culture is intended to work in a non-western, Arabian culture. It is important to consider the intercultural communication theory and understand how it contributes to the successful business running in strange environment.
The difference in the Western and Arabian cultures is great, especially in the relation to women, so the manager is going to face numerous challenges while implementing the ideas she has. To avoid more conflicts which may appear because of the woman’s unawareness of the cultural peculiarities, a manager should consider the following pieces of advice.
Introduction to the Arabian Culture
Most of the Western business models are efficient and successful but their use in Arabian countries may be insufficient. Thus, contrary to the Western tradition, Arabian corporate culture is characterized by collectivism rather than by individualism.
The organization structure in Arabian countries is different as the division of human resources is not like in the Western countries where the decisions are made by the top managers. The decision making in the Arabian countries may be made by the simple workers (Anwar & Chaker 2003).
It is inadmissible to cause an Arab person lose face, as well as interfering into personal space if one does not desire it. At the same time, close communication is prominent in Arab life (Moran, Harris & Moran 2007). A woman has a lower position in the Arab society, and she is placed on a special position.
Only 10% of the working force represents women, this shows the specific relation of Arab culture to them (Rice 2004). It is important to realize that those women who visit Arabian countries with business purposes should try to follow the cultural traditions of the country to be accepted there.
Key Cultural Issues
One of the key issues in the Arabian culture is religions. It should be mentioned that most of the cultural differences which appear and influence business running are considered from religion. Trust is one more cultural issue which should be taken into account. Arabian managers never start business if they do not trust a companion (Rice 2004).
Family is central for Muslim religion which functions in the Arabian world, and this concept influences business relations (Jandt 2009). A specific place of a woman in the society may create a number of inconveniences for a Western female manager, but a close consideration of the law, polices and the traditions may be considered as a good start for running successful business.
Brief Review of the Chosen Theory
Intercultural communication theory is chosen as the central theory for dealing with the problem of making Arabian human resources agree to work with Western female manager.
Being one of the most developed and successful theories in the modern world, it should be mentioned that Communication Accommodation Theory as a part of intercultural communication theory can explain the strategies used for interaction, motivation of the members and “explain the dynamics of intercultural interactions” (Ward, Bochner & Furnham 2001, p. 61).
Communication Accommodation Theory in the framework of the intercultural communication theory may be considered as the combination of the following elements, sociohistorical context and immediate response to the situation. Sociohistorical context involves accommodative operations, intrapersonal and interpersonal factors, and initial orientation.
Immediate response presupposes the collaboration of the following issues, sociopsychological states, goals and addressee focus, sociolinguistic stages, behaviour and tactics, labelling and tactics, and evaluations and future intentions (Ward, Bochner & Furnham 2001).
It is really important to consider the intercultural communication theory from two perspectives, as a form of communication, and as a non-essentialist view of culture, when culture is considered as something rooted or deep-seated (Verschueren 2008).
Considering the problem of intercultural communication theory in the framework of the language and culture, it can be stated that “the interrelationship between language and culture is both broad and complex” (Liddicoat 2009, p. 131). It is insufficient just to know the language of the Arabian country, it is important to be culturally aware of its proper usage (Liddicoat 2009).
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Recommendations for Managers
Thus, taking into account the chosen theory and the peculiarities of the considered culture, a Western female manager should be offered the following pieces of advice in running business in the strange Arabic environment. She should get familiarized with unique Arabian culture and management style (Anwar & Chaker 2003).
It is important to visit the country as a tourist before getting down to work, as cultural shock is one of the central feelings western people experience. Arabian world is too complicated for Western people, so it is important to consider some peculiarities of the behaviour of women in the country a manager wants to work in.
The peculiarities of running business in Arabian countries should be considered. Planning working days, a manager should be aware of the cultural peculiarities in the Arabian countries and make Friday a day off, as it is a holy day. Most Muslims work from Saturday up to Wednesday. The working hours should be reduced while Ramadan (Rice 2004).
Using the intercultural communication theory, it is important for a female manager to communicate with the staff in the company. The explanation of the personal cultural awareness should become the way to make Arabian employees understand how difficult for a woman-manager to work in their environment, but not the reason to ignore the cultural heritage of the country.
Keeping in mind the information that trust is extremely important for running business in Arabian countries, a western female manager should be ready to work with men and gain their trust. The elements of the national dress-code or at least the reduction of the unacceptable cloths for Arabian women may be one of the ways to reduce the cultural discrepancy (Carté & Fox 2008).
Dealing with employees, it is important to be autocratic. When simple employees provide some decisions, a manager should perceive them. At the same time, if personal decisions become great solutions of the company president, one should remain calm (Carté & Fox 2008).
Anwar, S & Chaker, M 2003, ‘Globalisation of corporate America and its implications for management styles in an Arabian cultural context’, International Journal of Management, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 43-55.
Carté, P & Fox, C 2008, Bridging the culture gap: a practical guide to international business communication, Kogan Page Publishers, London.
Jandt, FE 2009, An introduction to intercultural communication: identities in a global community, SAGE, New York.
Liddicoat, AJ 2009, ‘Communication as culturally contexted practice: a view from intercultural communication’, Australian Journal of Linguistics, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 115-133.
Moran, RT, Harris, PR & Moran SV 2007, Managing cultural differences: global leadership strategies for the 21st century, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Rice, G 2004, ‘Doing Business in Saudi Arabia’, Thunderbird International Business Review, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 59-84.
Verschueren, J 2008, ‘Intercultural communication and the challenges of migration’, Language & Intercultural Communication, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 21-35.
Ward, CA, Bochner, S & Furnham, A 2001, The psychology of culture shock, Routledge, Oxford.