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Title: The influence of national culture on the management practices of construction companies in the United Arab Emirates
Author: Alyousif, Abdulrahman T.
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2010
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Literatures have indicated mixed evidence on the affect of national culture on the type of management practices and organizational culture adopted in specific countries. Scholars have debated the dichotomy and divided into two camps; one supported the idea of one management practice fits all, and the other camp says that management practices are “culture-bond”. The rise of globalization has added further to the ongoing debates and raised the question as to whether one country’s management practices are applicable in another country. Culture, plays an important role in Arab Middle East society. The unique historical, social and religious traditions require special attention to cultural traits in the exercise of authority, control and interaction. The religious and civic traditions of Islam have transmitted a legacy of behaviour, attitudes and beliefs which have a deep and constantly evolving impact on society’s entrepreneurial culture. Culture affects government policies, social norms, consumption patterns, business transactions, management practices and labour relations. Organising and managing people in this region requires a strong understanding of these traits. This research set out to establish the various management practices adopted in the construction industry of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It also investigated the UAE key national and cultural dimensions of the adopted management practices. To achieve this, a model for the Management practices and Organizational Culture of the Construction Industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was developed and tested. Thus, the performance of construction companies operating within the UAE environment could be analysed. The research has identified Human factors as the main factors influencing the selection on the type of management practices adopted by construction companies in the construction industry of the United Arab Emirates. The research also identifies the necessary adjustments required to align construction industry practices with local institution settings. The population for the research covers organizations within the construction industry of the UAE. These organizations are referred to as “companies”. These companies are independent companies, not controlled by another firm or economic group, and are in position to freely take decisions on the company’s matters. The companies are registered with the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A sample of (65) organizations have been drawn on a simple random basis. This represents (15) per cent of the targeted population. The research demonstrated that companies within the construction industry of the United Arab Emirates have developed and adopted a unique management style that is a mixture of Western and Eastern management applications. These companies have also adopted clan culture as their main type of organisational culture, although other types of organisational culture existed. The impact of national culture and Islamic religion was clear throughout the survey and interviews. The Arab and Islamic culture has certain distinctive characteristics, which dominate society’s managerial thinking and behaviour. The majority of the companies are family owned and depend upon family and friendship ties and they respect them. This can put social pressure on management of these companies especially during the decision making process. The research also demonstrated that by adopting these styles of management practices and organisational culture, construction companies, within the sample, have achieved high levels of efficiency and effectiveness. The findings of the research should have value to scholars of comparative management and cross-cultural management methodologies; the research is useful in that it extends the knowledge of traditional management practices in exploring the Arab World which, up till now, has been under-researched. The research adds to the small but growing body of empirical research concerning Middle East management practices and their relationship with national cultural values and local settings and it contributes to the development of the body of knowledge. The findings of the research will also provide some practical guidelines to international managers to assist their intercultural effectiveness in this region, and will be beneficial for government bodies, academics and foreign companies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available