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Biasness: American Society vs. Saudi Society Essay



There are a number of differences between the American society and the Saudi society. The differences are in terms of religion, customs, respect for human rights, and social development. In the Saud society, people are united by Islamic religion and old traditions.

The American society focuses on development and respect for human rights and freedom (Barry 12). In terms of biasness, the two societies differ in three major ways. One of the differences is related to collectivism verses individualism. In the Saudi society, people are used to living together and sharing resources as compared to the American society whereby the spirit of individualism is valued (Crothers 21).

As compared to the American society whereby the populace is always consulted before formulating policies, a high power distance exists in Saudi Arabia. The third difference is related to uncertainty. The Saudi society has a high tendency of uncertainty avoidance as compared to the American society whereby uncertainties are common. In other words, the American society accepts change whereas Saudi society is adamant to changes.

These differences result to bias in a number of ways. Collectivism differentiates society based on social status. On the other hand, high power distance results to political bias. Uncertainty avoidance results to social bias. These biases are discussed in this paper. It is observed that social-economic and political organizations in the two societies result to biases that affect individual fulfillment (Manuel and Jackson 228).

Individuals are unable to fulfill their potentials because of the barriers erected by society. In both societies, individuals are unable to fulfill their potentials, even though the barriers differ in a number of ways. The differences and similarities of these barriers are discussed in this article.


In the Saudi society, collectivism is held in high esteem because it is believed to conform to the ideals of Islamic religion (Esposito 400). In the American society, collectivism is discouraged because it is believed to generate laziness. Saudi citizens prefer working in groups or teams as opposed to American citizens who believe in individual achievement.

In fact, the Saudi organizations reward groups and teams, not individuals. Instead of rewarding individuals, the Saudi organizations reward groups and teams. This is biasness because individuals could be performing well yet their efforts are not recognized. Individuals differ in terms of achievement and capability. Therefore, the reward system should reflect this fact.

The organizational culture of the Saudi companies encourages individuals to work in groups rather than accomplishing organizational tasks individually (Ardichvili and Kowske 300). In terms of investment, individuals in Saudi Arabia prefer financing businesses other than encouraging foreigners to invest in their organizations. This is biasness because individuals should be allowed to own businesses and invest in all parts of the world.

Saudi nationals have a tendency of discriminating foreigners, particularly in financial matters. Even in matters related to leadership, the organizations prefer employing Saudi nationals on claims that they understand local markets and customer dynamics. This is against the international labor standards, which state that individuals should be allowed to serve in organizations as long as they qualify.

Encouraging local investment and leadership is a form of biasness because it does not encourage other members of society to participate in economic development. Globalization has redefined the way people conduct business in the world. It is common to find a citizen with enough capital investing in foreign countries (Fisher 41). This would be affected by the collectivistic nature of Saudi organizational culture. Foreigners would not have chances of participating in the economic development of such societies.

On the contrary, American citizens prefer conducting their activities individually. An American would obtain a loan from a financial institution to finance a business rather than requesting the community to finance it. This would also amount to bias because individuals tend to be jealous when their colleagues and family members succeed.

It is not surprising to find one individual suing another for contravening business ethics in the US. In case an individual uses a brand name of a company without seeking permission, he or she is likely to pay damages. Individuals guard their businesses in the US and would do everything to ensure that they remain competitive in the market.

This is different from the business culture of Saudi Arabia because competition among individuals and companies is highly discouraged. In the Saudi society, people treat each other as brothers. This prevents animosity and conflicts. Even though companies might be in competition in the Saudi society, they would definitely help each other. In the American society, a competitor is an enemy who should be avoided under all circumstances.

In terms of decision-making, the Saudi citizens consult groups and teams extensively before arriving at conclusions. Decisions made should benefit all members of the team or the group. In the American society, decision-making is based on self-interest (Perry and Motleyz 200). Individuals make decisions that give them an advantage over others. However, both societies exercise some form of biasness in their decision-making processes.

Since the views of each individual must be incorporated, the Saudi society denies the most qualified individuals the chance to control the decision-making process. Extensive consultation results to time wastage. This is unfair to those charged with the responsibility of designing policies. Equally, formulating policies based on self-interest is unfair to other stakeholders.

In the Saudi society, there is a discrepancy in terms of development because wealth is accumulated in the hands of the few while the majority languishes in poverty. Moreover, the gap between the rich and the poor is ever increasing meaning that the rich are becoming richer while the living standards of the poor are deteriorating on daily basis.

Even though the American society has a considerable number of poor individuals, the society has always put in place measures to ensure that the gap between the rich and the poor is reduced. The biases in Saudi Arabia are caused by traditional customs and beliefs, which are held in high esteem.

The man is the head of the house in Saudi Arabia implying that women have no roles to play regarding decision-making. Women are expected to consult their husbands before they conduct any business. For instance, a woman cannot seek employment outside her country without seeking permission from her husband or other male members of the family. This is discrimination of the highest order because it reduces the financial power of women in society.

Men are allowed to make and implement important decisions touching on the family without necessarily consulting the woman. However, the Islamic religion does not encourage its members to exercise discrimination. The Islamic religion encourages all members of society to participate in development equally. In this regard, the traditional beliefs and customs could be blamed for discriminating women and causing gender based biases in the Saudi financial system.

The American society is very different because women are always incorporated in the economy as equal partners, unlike in the Saudi society whereby women are incorporated as underdogs. In the labor market, women are not supposed to head organizations because they are subordinates in society. The Saudi society believes that a woman is weak and emotionally dependent on a man. This is a perception that affects the live chances of women. Women are socialized to believe that they are supposed to serve men.

In the American society, a woman and a man are equal partners who must consult before making important decisions. However, the American society exercises some forms of biases to women because a man is allowed to divorce whenever he or she feels the relationship cannot withstand the taste of time.

Divorce affects women because they are forced to bring up children on their own. In most cases, men run away to urban places and leave their families behind, without a stable income. At the work place, the Saudi society believes that the boss is the father while employees are children. Therefore, children are supposed to respect the decisions of their father. In the American society, work is professional implying that status is not considered when making decisions.

The social structure in Saudi Arabia favors the old because they would always command the young generation to follow certain principles and rules. For instance, a forty year old would be commanded to do something that fulfills the interest of his or her aging father. This is unfair because the individual should be free to do things that satisfy his or her interest. The correlation between the old age group and the youthful age bracket in Saudi Arabia is extremely strong.

In other words, social stratification is influenced by age. The age of an individual defines his or her position in society. It is not surprising that an old individual would be allowed to rule as opposed to a young, knowledgeable individual. In the American culture, the correlation between the old age bracket and the youthful age group is weak. The young generation would do things based on their knowledge. Education is the major determiner of an individual’s position in the American society.

Some scholars observe that the Saudi society is close-minded while the American Society is open-minded. Consequently, the Saudi society experiences few uncertainties as compared to the American society, which experiences a higher number of uncertainties. In other words, the Saudi society is adamant to change because individuals believe that change would affect their social positions. In organizations, employees are against rules and regulations that affect their normal functioning.

They would rather work under poor conditions than accept changes that are unknown to them. In the financial system, there is always tension among the ruling class because of the emerging middle class. The ruling class would always ensure that they do everything to prevent the middle class from taking over the means of production. In this regard, the ruling class would use tools such as the media, the state, religion, culture, and education to limit the chances of the middle class (Alzalabani 225).

Marx observed that the state is the committee of the ruling class. It means that the ruling class uses the state machinery to suppress the influence of the working class. Whenever the working class demands for improved pay, the ruling class uses government ministries and the media to circulate propaganda. This is biasness because the ruling class does not want other groups to enjoy the spoils of society. In education, children from poor families rarely access quality education.

This reduces their chances of success in the future. Even though things are the same in the American society, the ruling class uses sophisticated tools such as crushing the middle class through the formation of trade unions. The ruling class ensures that their members control trade unions. Employee relations are emphasized in the Saudi society because the ruling class knows that united employees would provide high quality products.

Moreover, it is easy to convince the group rather than individuals. In the American society, work ethics are valued implying that the ruling class cannot control the group. Therefore, trade unions are used to negotiate the rights of employees. The relationship between employees in the American society is not important because of professionalism.

In the Saudi society, the owners of the means of production set up many rules to ensure compliance. This is biasness because employees would live under fear. For instance, employees are supposed to be punctual by observing time. In the American society, dominant class allows employees to exercise some freedom. American organizations know that allowing some freedom would lead to creativity and innovativeness.

It can be concluded that collectivism, power distance, and uncertainty are some of the factors that generate biasness in the two societies. The factors affect individuals in the Saudi society more than in the American society. Saudi society has always resisted change, but developments in the global world would face out the rigid traditional beliefs and customs.

Works Cited

Ardichvili, Alexandre, and B. Kowske. “Dimensions of Ethical Business Cultures: Comparing Data from 13 Countries of Europe, Asia, and the Americas.” Human Resource Development International 13.3 (2010): 299-315. Print.

Alzalabani, Abdulmonem. “International Briefing 11: Training and Development in Saudi Arabia.” International Journal of Training & Development 6.2 (2002): 125-134. Print.

Barry, John. “America’s First Rebel.” Nation 294.21 (2012): 22-26. Print.

Fisher, Caroline. “Cultural Differences and Similarities in Television Commercials in the Arab World and the United States.” Journal of Global Marketing 24.1 (2011): 41-57. Print.

Crothers, Lane. “The Cultural Roots of Isolationism and Internationalism in American Foreign Policy.” Journal of Transatlantic Studies 9.1 (2011): 21-34. Print.

Esposito, John. “The Future of Islam and U.S. — Muslim Relations.” Political Science Quarterly 126.3 (2011): 365-401. Print.

Manuel, Ron-Carmichael, and J. Jackson. “Race and Ethnic Group Differences In Socio-Economic Status: Black Caribbean, African Americans and Non-Hispanic Whites in the United States.” Western Journal of Black Studies 36.3 (2012): 228-239. Print.

Perry, Vanessa, and C. Motley. “Dreams and Taboos: Home Loan Advertising in the United States and Saudi Arabia.” Journal Of International Consumer Marketing 22.2 (2010): 199-212. Print.

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