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Essay: The five tensions between the Middle East's government officials and business leaders

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  • Published: 17 September 2015*
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There are five existing tensions between the Middle East’s government officials and business leaders. The resolution to these tensions is the only course for salvaging the condition of this region’s economy. The first tension is the controversial views of women in the workplace. There is a large percentage of well-educated and competent women that have been unable to thrive in the workplace. This immense proportion is often the majority of the total population per country. Simply put, there are often more qualified women than men based on this fact. This majority is a hefty number of Middle Easterners not working solely due to prejudice. (Robbins, Judge & Hasham, 2009).
The Middle East is categorized under values of high achievement orientation which directly relates to their strictly segregated gender roles in society. ‘Even though females in the Middle East are entering the workplace, about 17 percent of family businesses still deny them ownership in the business, and 37 percent are undecided’ (Robbins, Judge & Hasham, 2009). It is evident that this region is moving towards modern thinking for the primary purpose of income generation. The mentioned statistics are still too low. The Middle East must resolve this issue through a low key civil rights movement so that women are considered equals in the workplace. Each individual party, both women and the region’s whole economy, will then have much to benefit from. This resolution would aim toward at least partially solving specific economic and social issues in the Middle East. (Robbins, Judge & Hasham, 2009).
The second tension is the Middle East’s strong tendency to promote total and absolute rule over its country affairs rather than subdivide based on culture and economy in the various countries or even regions. The Middle East possesses values of high power distance which directly conflicts with the customary organization development principles stressing openness and alliance. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
The poorly fitted respective culture to the specified organization development values is likely a cause of the Middle East’s moderate economic development. ‘Trade liberalisation is one of the greatest challenges facing the Region and clearly unified positions on trade issues, especially if they also facilitate alliances with other countries or regions, offer significant advantages versus going alone against the major players in international trade’ (Kendall, 2008). This statement clearly identifies the issue of the relationship between this region’s economic aspirations and their cultural values. The issue at hand is those two critical variables conflict with one another. The resolution would be for the related countries to subdivide themselves based on current social and economic status along with future social and economic desires. More strategic planning can be utilized when the countries are specifically grouped by status and goals. (Kendall, 2008).
The third tension is the false preconceived impression that fiscal reform would most definitively lead to fiscal instability. Economic reform can and has welcomed positive change. As of current, this region is exceedingly reliant on the revenues generated from its main local resource, oil rather than attempting to manufacture goods. The Middle East is moderate in terms of uncertainty avoidance. This means those in charge tolerate a moderate amount of irregularity and unpredictability. (Kendall, 2008).
Resolution for this tension between conservatism and change would be for this region to take risk and implements bits of change to enhance the current economy. There are specific areas in their economy that lack stability and success; these are the areas that should be reformed through organizational development and change. This region should not take the gamble and rely strictly on its natural resources for income. Many types of disruptions could cripple this resource. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
The fourth tension is the mixed use or ‘on and off’ use of a nationalized as opposed to a privatized economy both currently as well as in the past. Originally, the Middle East possessed a nationalized system in accordance with its conservatism. Now modern day, they are considered to be an industrializing economy and have embraced privatized economic conducts. After the major demonstrations, the region would have reason to consider moving back towards privatization. (Kendall, 2008).
It is understandable, but in order for this region’s economy to transform for the better, it must stray from privatization all together. While there is no flawless resolution here, the Middle East would most benefit from utilizing aspects from both privatization and nationalization. A concern is that ‘integration is taking place among unequal partners, that the benefits of integration would not be spread evenly and that this may threaten the cohesion of the Community, have put in place a regime for support of disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors (Kendall, 2008). It will be a balancing act for official leaders but under the right setting, the region will greatly prosper from this resolution. (Kendall, 2008).
The fifth tension is the lack of appropriate government spending. The Middle East, like many countries, allocates much of its government funding on public subsidies. These welfare endeavors never serve as a means to resolve the issue of poverty. The usual case is the country aids in permanently funding the underprivileged with no solution to the problem in sight. The reality is the Middle East is spending a large portion of its funding on the continually unresolved issues of social welfare rather than investing in their rooted issues that have the ability to actually be changed. (Kendall, 2008).
Resolution for the tension between spending on conflicting social issues would be to cut funding from the issues that have no real solution and redirect the funds to issues that can be solved and potentially transform the region’s economy. As mentioned in the first tension, these funds could be used to as a means to branch out and experiment with the manufacturing of goods for both income and self-reliance. Manufacturing will likely increase ‘the country’s gross domestic product’ and ultimately ‘fuels economic growth’ (Cummings and Worley, 2008). This is an economic avenue the Middle East should explore more in depth. It is a new untapped revenue system for the region. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
For effective fundamental change to take place, business leaders will need to attain some level of combined political support in the organization. Various countries both in and outside the region will likely have their own personal goals for the company. These goals may or may not conflict with one another. This can cause political conflict between groups in the company which is will most likely pose as a weakness overall for the organization. Addressing this issue would require the appropriate leaders to search out a source of power, or influence within the company. This source would be an individual or group in the company that has the ability to inspire and influences others especially in the case of a desired change. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
Now that the five tensions have been discussed in detail and resolutions outlined for implementation, the Middle East should now possess the ability to transform. Given the available change methodologies, official leaders can act effectively depending on the specific tension in subject. The public demonstrations are most definitely a social and economic setback for the region but both political and business leaders alike must keep the future in view. This means facing adversity and finding the willingness to be open to change. The necessary changes include women’s rights in the workplace, freedom amongst countries in the Middle East and new strategies for the modern economic market. (Kendall, 2008).

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