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Cultural differences – United Arab Emirates

Kirjoittanut: Jasmiina Servo - tiimistä Eventa.

Esseen tyyppi: Blogiessee / 1 esseepistettä.

United Arab Emirates country profile
United Arab Emirates Business Etiquette & Culture
BBC News
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 2 minuuttia.

Cultural differences – United Arab Emirates


This essay addresses the cultural differences in United Arab Emirates business behaviour. I thought beforehand that women’s business behaviour might have rules that are different from Finnish culture. In addition, I am particularly interested in the dress code there. What would I need to consider if I would do business with them?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven states that has grown to be one of the Middle East’s most important economic centres. The UAE’s economy was dependent on fishing and a declining pearl industry in the 1950s.  The United Arab Emirates economy and society have been transformed. Oil exports began in 1962 and that was the changing point for them. The UAE has also become a regional trading and tourism hub. (BBC News 2018.)

There are several ways to greet in the UAE. It is best to wait for your colleague to begin greeting. Men shake hands with other men. Some men also shake hands with women. A businesswoman is advised to wait for a man to offer his hand. (Cyborlink N.d.)

Visitors are expected to conform to local courtesy requirements in dressing, but not in native clothing. As a result, Finns’ traditional clothing can be offensive in the UAE. Despite the hot weather, most of the body should always be kept covered. Men need to wear long pants and it is usually appropriate to wear a jacket and a tie at meetings. The shirts should preferably be long-sleeved and buttoned down to the collar. Men should be careful when using visible jewellery, especially around the neck. Women should always wear coveralls in public. High necklines are expected, and hemlines should be at least below the knee. (Cyborlink N.d.)

I think it is important to get to know the culture of partners or travel destinations in advance. Stereotypes definitely have their own downsides. On the other hand, we all have stereotypes or expectations about cultural differences. I think that it is good to be aware of them. This makes it easier to expand one’s cultural knowledge in a more open way. For example, my expectations for doing business with women in the UAE were more blatant than now that I got to know more.


List of references:

BBC News. 2018. United Arab Emirates country profile. Appear 14.5.2019. Read on 10.12.2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-14703998

Cyporlink. N.d. United Arab Emirates Business Etiquette & Culture. Read on 10.12.2019. http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/uae.htm

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