Business Leadership and Culture
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Business Leadership and Culture

National Management Styles in the Global Economy

Björn Bjerke

How do business leaders think as a result of their national culture? This book provides a discussion and comparative analysis of five major cultures – American, Arab, Chinese, Japanese and Scandinavian – and how they reveal themselves in business practice.
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Chapter 5: Arab Culture

Björn Bjerke


Page 104 5—  Arab Culture Introduction Western awareness of the Arab world jumped sharply with the events in the oil business of the 1970s (some call it 'oil boom'; others call it 'oil crisis'). Before then few  international businesspeople from outside the Arab world had had any direct dealings with Arab executives and little was known about Arab culture in general and  Arab business behaviour in particular. At the worst extreme, some commentators depicted a caricature of Arab managerial behaviour 'as an unbounded fatalism  apparently unconcerned with rational economic considerations' (Muna, 1980, Foreword). The discovery of oil in the Middle East turned out to be a major turning point for the Arabs: The greatest impact on the economic, political, and social spheres of the oil­producing countries began in the 1960s. Through nationalization of the oil companies in some  countries, joint­ownership plans (participation agreement) in others, and finally through the medium of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the oil­rich  countries are now able to reap the benefits of ownership and/or control of their oil resources. Needless to say, this development continues to have wide­ranging effects on the  economies both of producing and consuming countries (Muna, 1980, p. 18). Within a period of less than two decades, the economies of the Arab world were transformed (more in some countries than in others) from being agrarian and from  trading regionally into becoming industrial with world­wide connections due to revenues earned from a single commodity, that is,...

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