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Individualism in Arab Countries Essay

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Updated: Jul 1st, 2019

Individualism culture focuses on goals of individuals and not social goals. Western countries have individualistic cultures while Arabic countries have collectivist cultures. Arab culture is a collectivist culture. Here, individuals’ commitments focus on their nuclear and extended families and close friends rather than on themselves.

Loyalty is the pillar of collectivist culture in Arab nations. Hofstede’s studies on national cultures provide the best point of views in understanding behaviours and cultures of people across the globe. According to Hofstede’s previous studies, he argued that all Arab countries had similar cultural characteristics.

Hofstede gave the Arab world a score of 38 percent on individualism because he viewed the Arab world culture as collective. This score reflects generalisation of the Arab culture. This might be true based Hofstede’s studies. However, we have to note that different nations operate in diverse realities.

In addition, these states have different communities and cultures. Hofstede’s view on the Arab culture of individualism provides a valuable tool for people who are new in the Arab world and need quick judgements and decisions. This knowledge can help us respond to situations appropriately.

Alkailani, Azzam, and Athamneh claim that generalisation of Hofstede’s study in Jordan is not scientifically valid (Alkailani, Azzam and Athamneh, 2012). These scholars note that generalisation of findings from one culture to another culture leads to misleading results. This is because of variations among cultures.

We have to recognise similarities, such as language and religion among Egypt, Iraq, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. However, these countries have differences in relation to social, economic, and political statuses. We must also understand that Arab countries lack stable conditions, which may create cultural dynamism.

Based on such results, it is fundamental for Hofstede’s dimensions to focus on every country of the Arab world. Further, cultures are dynamic based on prevailing circumstances in the society. Therefore, such studies need constant revisions and updates.

In this context, Hofstede should review his work and treat every country within its context. At the same time, Hofstede should consider proximity of various Arab countries rather than a broad generalisation.

Honour is a crucial part of Arab culture. Arabs, especially men must strive to guard their honour at all costs. Some scholars have noted that Arabs must “fight, lie, or kill to protect their honour and that of their family” (Berman, 2008). On the other hand, the failure to protect one’s honour results to shame.

Regaining a lost honour may involve revenge with severe consequences. In the business environment, visitors must be careful about the importance of honour in Arab world. Public criticism among Arabs can lead to a loss of honour. This can lead to serious consequences.

According Arab Cultural Awareness guide, there are several cultures and societies in the Arab world. It has rich and diverse groups, cultures, and communities. Therefore, differences exist in cultural practices. This implies that the culture of honour varies from one Arab country to another. What leads to generalisation of honour culture is the broad consideration of the Arab world.

This is because it is difficult to consider a culture of a nation or nations without generalisation. Therefore, accuracy of honour culture in the Arab world depends on a given context and circumstance. In all, generalisation of honour culture in Arab world provides us with an insight of what to expect.

Reference List

Alkailani, M, Azzam, I, and Athamneh, A 2012, ‘Replicating Hofstede in Jordan: Ungeneralized, Reevaluating the Jordanian Culture’, International Business Research, vol. 4, no. 5, pp. 71-80.

Berman, L 2008, ‘Understanding Arab Culture’, Small Wars Journal, pp. 1-10.

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