Pearl International Company has an enormous combination of more than 2000 individuals, over the Middle East perceived as the main name in Water Pumping Solutions, Electrical Solutions Recycled Paper Manufacturing and administration and Logistics with fluctuated and legitimate organizations. They are incorporated with several brands which provides innovative and advanced technology in terms of Electrical Division, Service Centers and Spare parts.Pearl International has several sister concern as mentioned below:
-Pearl International INTERIORS: Provide furniture for bedrooms, dressing rooms, vanities, living rooms and dining rooms. It is the first country in UAE to offer interior design services and products as a complete concept
-Pearl Transport: Mainly focus on the transport of the company products and provide various services to different departments
-Pearl Paper Mill: Recyclable waste management division of the company does the job well; it’s one of the key companies in the waste management in UAE
-Waste Paper Collection: Around 900 employees are working 24×7 for waster paper collection and recycling, company will collect waster paper from public places and recycle into new paper products, also company is providing consultancy for waste management strategies
The purpose of this assignment is to create a rich understanding among the cross cultural issues and working behavior of work force in an organization. We interviewed three respondents who were from Syria.First we interviewed Mr. Anshad general manager of Pearl International, then Mr. Sadhik Ibn Aboubakker, HR Manager of Pearl International, and finally Mohammed Al Qahthani Recruitment Manager of Pearl International. We had a face to face interview with them. Basically we enquired demographic questions, their experience in the company and the cross cultural issues they faced through their careers. We collected the data in terms of both written and audio recordings as it can be used to for further analysis of the data.
While analyzing the data, first we took the examples they provided in which they had issues faced in dealing with the cross cultural scenario. Then we sort out main problems like language barriers, unrelated gestures, and facial expressions. Additionally, we found how these problems make an impact in the organization. We also analyzed how these people overcome this cross cultural issues. By considering all these data we were able to sort some solutions and recommendations regarding the issues faced in the organization.
Before going through the data that we got from our interviewees, we would like to have more information about the Syrian culture. According to Hofstede dimensions, Syria is scoring 80 in power distance, 35 in individualism, 52 in masculinity, and 60 in uncertainty avoidance. Based on the precedent scores, we may say that Syria is hierarchical society in which people do not question authority and where information is centralized. Moreover, Syrians are collectivistic which means that they are very attached to their families and believe that loyalty is the absolute rule between management and employees. Syria is also considered as having high preference for avoiding uncertainty, this leads to the fact that they are hard working, punctual, and live with the concept of ‘time is money’. After going through this brief introduction of the Syrian culture, we will look at the information we got from the first interviewee who is the general manger of Pearl International. Mr. Anshad has pursued his bachelor as well as his master degree in Syria and then worked there for 8 years as an export manager in a textile company. After that, he came to Dubai in 1994 with his family and managed to find a job in Pearl International where he started as Personal assistant to the Managing Director, and then he got promoted to Administrative manager to finally be the General Manager of the company. Mr. Anshad said that it is very interesting to work in a multicultural company as there are more opportunities to learn and to generate creative and new ideas. He also said that he encountered some cultural problems in the beginning of his career where he had to hire 20 Filipinos for a mission in Dubai, but when they got here they said that they were not able to fulfill it. To solve the problem, he proposed training. But after that, the new employees had another problem related to food. He solved the issue by procuring them different accommodations suiting their needs. Mr. Anshad said that he did not face any culture shock when coming to Dubai as he feels that it’s pretty much similar to his culture. However, he does not appreciate the fact that Emiratis do no greet you back when you meet them in the lift, a thing that is done by the Europeans and which he appreciates. Mr. Anshad gives only one advice to coming expats and it is to obey the Emirati rules in order to not have problems. Actually, this advice was predictable taking into consideration the fact that Syrians do not question authority. The second interview was conducted with Mr. Al Qahthani recruitment manager of Pearl International. He is 40 years old and has been working in Syria for 9 years. He joined Pearl International 1 year ago and this is the exact period he spent in Dubai. Mr. Al Qahthani said that he did not face culture shock and that he feels that the integration in the society was smooth. However, he encountered language barriers while interviewing individuals from other nationalities as what happened to him with Filipino; he said that the Filipino had a very good CV but his English was very bad so he was incapable of understanding him. Additionally, Mr. Qahthani is very happy to be in Dubai and thinks that his life has totally changed and got much better. The third interview we conducted was with Mr. Sadhik who is the HR manager of Pearl International. He is 45 years old and has been working in Dubai for 7years in the same company ‘Pearl International’. Mr. Sadhik has conducted his master degree in Syria; he then moved to Oman to work there as a recruitment manager for 4 years. When our HR manager came to Dubai, he didn’t feel culture shock as he found that the Omani and Emirati culture are almost the same. Nevertheless, he is annoyed by the segregation and discrimination the employees encounter in Dubai during their employment period. He thinks that more work has to be done concerning the labor law in the UAE.
The managers are in denial because they said that there was no cultural shock while it is the case. The situation in Syria is not the same as the one in Dubai. The only thing in common is the Muslim culture, other than that everything is different. They had to face a multicultural environment only in Dubai, and they never been exposed to other cultures before. They all studied in Syria and left their country to come here without a previous international experience. The reality is that they are the ones who need a cross cultural training because all the road blocks that they had to face in their new careers are due to the fact that they seem to enjoy this new experience more than they address their job requirements. They want to change the reality ‘new labor laws, be treated as equal by the locals because of their Arab background, they idealize Europeans, and want Filipinos to speak a better English- when they should work harder in order to adapt to it and accept the fact that they have to find ways to manage this international workforce and convey their directives so they can actually ‘manage’ their workforce. A serious reality check has to be done; it will be the first step towards identifying their own lacks and correct their way to do things. A new business environment means new ways of doing things. They seem to all have the capabilities to do so, but they have to be willing to do it in this challenging situation. It is not about surviving the experience as a professional, but more about growing as an individual.
IV/ Solutions and recommendations:
Our three managers have to work on their approaches to business practices. Their problem is coming from their culture which is a high context one. They generally assume that what they ask for from their employees will be understood without using a lot of explanations, because this is how it is done in their home country, or because the person receiving the message is an Arab, or someone coming from another high context culture like the Filipinos. But this is far from reality because there is segregation even between Arabs like Mr. Sadhik and Mr. Anshad noticed. Moreover, Syrians tend to believe that trust and long term commitment is the norm while it is far from the truth here. Arabs here in Dubai have generally an American background since they studied abroad, and they do business like they have been thought to. They use their culture only in informal situation or while interacting with friends and family. Therefore a direct style of verbal communication with explicit messages should be used in the work environment to avoid misunderstandings; with a focus on the receiver, which is totally the opposite way of conveying a message in the managers’ culture. A personal style has to be used with a degree of cooperativeness so things can be done. A better negotiation should have been conducted by Mr. Anshad with the Filipinos to solve the problem because the food issue was his fault. The first stage of negotiation, which is preparation, has not been conducted well; that’s why the pork meat problem arises way after the hiring (after the honey moon stage). Furthermore, his low level of assertiveness and empathy, coupled with the demands of the employees resulted in the ban of the whole group and incurred costs to the company. For all three managers, the process of acculturation is definitely not completed. They still have work to change their posture using their resources, empathy, and cultural values to be better than locals in the way to do business and interact with other cultures. They are not Emiratis, they are not in their country, and should not try to be like them. The ideal would be a perfect acculturation, which means avoiding stereotyping and understanding that they are also foreigners even if their culture is close to the local one. They have to bring an added value by getting the most of their workforce without judging others’ values and beliefs, and try to be a bridge between locals and non Arabs thanks to their mother thong in a smooth way.
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