Intercultural Management - Qatar
Being a Manager in Qatar
Successful cross cultural management will understand the importance of maintaining a degree of formality until a personal relationship is developed. Older people and those in senior positions are generally deferred to and treated with respect and deference. Qataris prefer to deal with those they know, therefore, they will spend a great deal of time becoming familiar with you.
Things generally take longer than expected since meetings are frequently interrupted. It may take several meetings to accomplish what could be handled by a phone call at home. Never do anything that would embarrass a Qatari colleague in the eyes of by-standers. Status is important and you would be wise to flatter your business colleagues frequently.
The Role of a ManagerCross cultural management will be more effective with an understanding of the individual roles and existing hierarchy. Employees do not question the decisions that have been reached. Managers or those in a position to do so will make decisions, while in general their subordinates will wait to be told what to do.
Approach to ChangeQatar’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is developing all the time. Qatar is seen to have a medium tolerance for change and risk. It is important for innovations to have a track record or history noting the benefits if they are to be accepted and implemented.
The fear of exposure, and the potential of embarrassment that may accompany failure, brings about aversion to risk and the need to thoroughly examine the potential negative implications. Because of this attitude, intercultural sensitivity is going to be required, especially when conducting group meetings and discussing contributions made my participating individuals.
Approach to Time and PrioritiesCross cultural understanding is important when reviewing the approach to timelines. Qataris will not want to upset others in order to force adherence to a deadline.
Things generally take longer than expected since meetings are frequently interrupted and several meetings may be required to do what could be handled by a phone call at home.
Globalization and intercultural expansion means some local managers may understand and appreciate the important of adherence to schedules and deadlines.
Decision MakingManagers reach decisions after many discussions with everyone involved. Once a decision is reached, it is handed down to subordinates to implement. Employees are generally treated with respect. In turn, employees treat their manager with the respect and deference attributable to their position.
Meeting deadlines is often secondary to maintaining personal relationships. Managers do not publicly chastise employees because it would cause the subordinate to lose dignity and respect so intercultural sensitivity will be needed.
Boss or Team Player?If you are working in Qatar, it is important to remember that honour and reputation play an important role and so some cross cultural sensitivity will be required. The risk becomes amplified in a team or collaborative setting. If you would like to encourage participation it is important first to clearly establish a non-threatening work environment and communicate fully that team-member participation is desired.
Communication and Negotiation StylesGood personal relationships are important since trust is required in order to conduct business. Qataris are event rather than time-driven and the actual meeting is more important than the timeliness or outcome. Companies are hierarchical with the highest-ranking person making the decisions. Decisions are reached slowly and if you try to rush things, you will give offense and risk your business relationship. Be careful about committing yourself orally, since verbal evidence carries more weight than written evidence under Sharia (Muslim) law.
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