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Arab Work Culture Essay

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Work Values in the Arab Culture

Yusuf Sidani

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Yusuf Sidani

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This classification, it could be argued, applies more tonatives of the rich Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. In those countries, natives enjoyfinancial security over and above their counterparts in other areas of the Arab world and thus they can afford toexercise their revived values of courage, pride, rivalry, and heroism.In coping with this class of the Arab society, managers should be aware of the implications of the tribal values.Pride comes before money, and hospitality is a virtue. Consequently we propose:P8: In rich Arab societies place more emphasis is directed toward the intrinsic value of the job rather than themonetary rewards of the job itself.Other workers do not enjoy the same fortunes of wealth and financial security. What we call 'the mainstream' Arabworker is the one who eagerly seeks a job with high pay regardless of the contents of the job. This is a prototype of workers in the poorer Arab countries (e.g. Egypt & Lebanon) who migrate to the richer countries of the Arab world.It is obvious that such work values are not based on any nonsecular foundations. Such directions in work valueswould classify them in the extrinsic secular cell of the framework.P9: Workers in the poorer Arab countries place more value on the monetary aspects of the job rather than itsintrinsic value.The most notable feature of the current value system in the Arab culture is that it moved from encompassing thesecular and nonsecular locuses of benefits to the secular one only. Religion, as explained above, continues to play amajor role in the Arab 'mind'. Yet, it seems that the common belief is that adherence to its values in the work-placecannot lead to economic survival and financial security in today's unjust organizations. They are unjust becausehard work is not proportionately rewarded nor is poor work penalized (Ibrahim, 1982). Tuma (1987) describes howrecruitment decisions in some Arab countries are based on relatives and friends (and not on seniority, competence,or skills).Empirical research is needed to test the propositions above. Specifically, such research should include thoseworkers who have migrated to the oil producing countries and compare their performances with a control group of workers who stayed in their home country. Ali (1988) developed an instrument which he termed 'Islamic Work Ethic' which would correspond to the new outlook toward work values discussed above. The use of such instrumentin validating some of the above propositions may be worthwhile.The Arab world is an area of international importance for various economic and strategic reasons and it is hoped thatsuch research could ease up the way for better transactions and understanding.


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References

Abbas, A. & Al-Shakis, M.. 1989. Managerial beliefs about work in two Arab States.

Organization Studies

, 10(2): 169-186.Abdalla, I.A. 1996. Attitudes towards women in the Arabian Gulf region.

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