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Intercultural Management - Jordan

Being a Manager in Jordan
Management Guide Jordan

The business set up in Jordan is conservative and hierarchical and to ensure successful cross cultural management it is important to remember that strictly defined roles exist. Alway err on the side of conservative behaviour through your dress code and general conduct and show and expect to be shown the appropriate deference to position, age and rank.

Intercultural adaptability relies on an understanding of this hierarchical system. This belief means that people believe their supervisors have been chosen because of their greater experience. It’s seen as inappropriate to question any supervisor’s decisions and managers should not consult lower-ranking individuals in the decision-making process.

Managers in Jordan are often paternalistic and relationships with their employees usually overlap into personal areas.

The Role of a Manager

Cross cultural communication will be more effective when you are working in Jordan, if you remember that honour and reputation play an important role. When holding meetings, it is important to ensure that any ideas raised do not expose or embarrass the individual. Managers should avoid praising individuals as all projects are to be undertaken collectively.

The paternalism between manager and employee means that the role of managers often extends to advice on personal matters.

Approach to Change

Jordan’s intercultural competence and readiness for change is low. Its’ conservatism means that change can often be seen as a threat to society. Managers are therefore likely to be averse to change and it is essential that any changes are viewed as positive for the ‘whole’ and not just an individual.

Of course, change does happen, but effective management in Jordan needs to take into account that any change is going to take longer to implement and will be driven by a group effort. Each step will have been thoroughly reviewed, analysed and agreed upon by the group as a whole.

Approach to Time and Priorities

Deadlines and timescales are fluid. Patience is the key to successful intercultural management when working in Jordan. Essentially a relationship-driven culture, it should be understood that taking the time to get to know someone will always take precedence over any timelines. Don’t rush the relationship building process or you may jeopardise any future business dealings.

When working with people from Jordan, it’s advisable to reinforce the importance of the agreed-upon deadlines and how that may affect the rest of the organization. However, it isn’t unusual for a manager in Jordan to avoid confrontation over a deadline in order to maintain a positive relationship within the team.

Global and intercultural expansion means that some managers may have a greater appreciation of the need to enforce timescales and as such, agreed deadlines are more likely to be met.

Decision Making

Many companies are family-owned and are based on a family hierarchy and therefore special deference is paid to the top executive as he is often a parent or other male relative.

Managers reach decisions after many discussions with all the stakeholders. Once a decision is reached, it is handed down to subordinates to implement. Employees do not question the decisions that have been reached.

Boss or Team Player?

Due to the hierarchical set up in Jordan, it is important that the manager maintains his / her role as ‘boss’ and engenders the necessary respect from within the team.

If an individual makes any contributions which are seen as not useful or necessary intercultural sensitivity is needed as it is essential to remember that the individual should not feel shamed in front of his/her colleagues. The rest of the group need to be able to feel that they can continue participating and offering their contributions.

Communication and Negotiation Styles

To achieve successful cross cultural management, you will need to remember that good personal relationships are important since trust is required in order to conduct business and that Jordanians are event rather than time-driven. The actual meeting is more important than the timeliness or outcome.

Jordanians are skilled negotiators and consider everything to be negotiable. Do not use high-pressure sales tactics as they are counterproductive. There is a tendency to avoid giving bad news and to give flowery acceptances, which may only mean “perhaps”, rather than a firm commitment.

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