cultural aspects uae

Cultural Aspects For Foreign Entrepreneurs in UAE

As Globalization is marching on, understanding and appreciating cultural aspects in business has become of vital importance.

The United Arab Emirates is a favorite destination and a perfect environment for entrepreneurs and innovators from across the world to invest in their talents and use their leverage to serve humanity and achieve their goals “, quotes, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

What makes UAE distinctive is its strong economy, which provides great investment opportunity for local as well as international investors. It is an ultimate place for Startups and Entrepreneurs, due to the continuous economic growth and persistent entry of new residents.

Establishing a business in the UAE is unique and holds a great opportunity, but it takes extra effort to get it right. The United Arab Emirates is undergoing a time of huge social and economic transition, and  various entities want an opportunity into the UAE. However, many fail to do so due to lack of understanding the culture of the nation.

Coming from a history, many years of linking the east and west, the nation has now adapted to many changes, most excitingly shifts in global commercial power. Besides the economic hurdles, the UAE’s wealth opens up unlimited potentials as well. Therefore, many firms are eyeing this country for cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, as their business hubs.

The United Arab Emirates does entertain new business ventures, but they do it keeping their own deep historic roots and not letting the modern buildings destroy their history and tradition. The Arab culture has such a strong force that the word modernization does not properly describe business today. Fundamentally, the Arab outlook on the world is different from that of other cultures. Looking at culture, ethnic and national differences, shows the region to be far more diverse in many ways.

Commerce with Arab culture can be successful, but not without hard work. Arab businesses come with a very specific set of codes and practices. A more pragmatic attitude would be required for an association with the business. Considering the fact that there are seven emirates, each shares a common history and culture, yet there are also many differences in terms of their social outlook and approach to business.

The triumph of an entrepreneur doing commerce in UAE lies, largely, on having an adequate awareness of their culture.

A few cultural aspects to consider:

Business is not just a business in UAE ….

Business in the Arab Organizations are more personal. Think regionally, but act locally” – Family is always a priority. Even in business, understanding someone’s family is required, in order to really understand a person and to do business with them.

Accepts hierarchy and low in equality ….

Hierarchy is very important, it is nearly impossible to avoid dealing with the top of any organization. A relationship at the top of the organization is required. Unlike the western countries, Arab organizations are often bureaucratic, but not in a distinctive manner. They are often bare and are entirely personal.

Values quality over price….

Value standards play a vital role in businesses in the UAE. Quality has to be of the highest international Standards and most importantly, it has to cater to the local likes as well. Localizing businesses increase the number of potential customers, by bringing your product or service closer to more people.

Patience is the key…       

Often times a negotiation can go on and about for months, as obvious it isn’t going anywhere, then all of a sudden a breakthrough could happen and then there’s a certain pressure for everyone to act under deadlines that seem near impossible. Being flexible and accommodating to shifting schedules throughout the business deal can surely reap the rewards. Often Arab Organizations take in new ideas and innovations verbally, therefore, long readings, presentations are unsuitable.

Language is the doorway to opportunities…

Verbal communication should be emphasized. Language is a compliant tool for doing business in UAE. Arabs have a long history of trading and, therefore, they view people who take advantage of commercial opportunities, as smart and not underhanded. Learning, at least, a few words of Arabic can come as handy for the business, it indicates a personal relationship and demonstrates that a friendly relationship is more important to you rather than just a business effort.

Influence of body language…

Just as the verbal communication, nonverbal communication plays a significant role as well. When dealing with the business world, it’s particularly essential to be aware of the body language. Nonverbal cues and gestures can make or break business relationships.


Get it right and you’ll be rewarded with great opportunity and exciting business environments in The United Arab Emirates.


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