The process of retrieving information from the inhabitants of the MENA region may become extremely complicated for the representatives of another ethnicity due to the obvious cultural differences between the representatives of the reconnaissance team and the local residents.
Therefore, for the mission to be successful, the understanding of the Arab culture and mentality is required. Consequently, it is imperative that the culture manifestations of deference to authority, suspicion and risk avoidance (Wunderle 42) should be taken into account.
Deference to authority: Seeing that the Arab culture involves the idea of respecting the authority of the people that they are related to as subordinates: “Arab culture favors centralization of authority. Subordinates are expected to be submission and obedient to their superiors” (Wunderle 42).
Herein the necessity to use the power of authority when insisting on the information retrieval lies. It is crucial, therefore, to make sure that the negotiation process should be carried out after the representatives of the reconnaissance unit should introduce themselves properly and make sure that the local residents realize the significance of the unit’s mission.
The unit, thus, will have to use the aforementioned characteristics of the Arab culture in order to promote obedience among the local denizens and make sure that the people inhabiting the MENA region will be willing to answer the questions concerning the insurgents. It will be crucial to supply the team with what may help identify them as the representatives of “authority” (Abdallah 17). Specifically, papers and IDs may be necessary for proving the unit’s power.
Suspicion: Unfortunately, displaying mistrust to strangers is another characteristic feature of Arabs, according to Wunderle: “Arabs, in general, are very ‘conspiracy-theory-oriented’” (Wunderle 42). Thus, it will be imperative to establish trustworthy relationships with the local residents, convincing them that the unit is not going to pose any threat to their wellbeing whatsoever.
One must bear in mind, though, that the development of a sense of connection between the reconnaissance unit and the denizens of the area may be quite time consuming. In addition, the process of gaining people’s trust is more than carrying out “competitive and collaborative” (Moran, Abramson and Moran 329) negotiations between the representatives of the two cultures successfully.
Major efforts will have to be made in order to display the friendliness of the team and prove that no threat is being posed to the security of the people living in the vicinity. Consequently, the specified factor may serve as the reason for the local people to refuse from providing the required information to the reconnaissance team.
Risk avoidance: The last, but definitely not the least, the unwillingness to take responsibility for something that may have major consequences is another trait of the MENA region dwellers. As Wunderle put it, “Arabs tend to feel threatened by uncertainty and ambiguity, and thus try to avoid these situations” (42).
Thus, the unit will have to elaborate on the explanation of their demands so that the slightest chance for the local residents to misinterpret the unit’s intentions could be eliminated. It is only with the help of a careful analysis of the communication strategy to be adopted by the unit and a good understanding of the specifics of the Arab culture that the team can possibly retrieve the required data. Unless the people living in the vicinity consider the unit as a threat, they will share the necessary data with its members.
Abdallah, Salarm. ICT Acceptance, Investment and Organization: Cultural Practices and Values in the Arab World: Cultural Practices and Values in the Arab World. New York< NY: IGI Global, 2010. Print.
Moran, Robert T., Neil R. Abramson and Sarah V. Moran. Managing Cultural Differences. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Wunderle, William D. Through the Lens of Cultural Awareness: A Primer for US Armed Forces Deploying to Arab and Middle Eastern Countries. Sydney, AU: Military Bookshop, 2006. Print.