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Who should adapt to who when cultures work together?

Dubai is probably the most multicultural place on this earth where you can work. About 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies have an office in the city. Most of them manage the business for the entire Middle East and in many case other parts of Asia and all of Africa. Nationals make up just a small minority of the private workforce, while professionals move to here from all over the world. My children’s birthday parties are a bit like United Nations gatherings, where the interpreters are replaced by a common high proficiency in English.

Dubai does not, however, have one typical way in which to work, like there tends to be in other international metropolises such as London and New York, where foreigners will quickly sense and need to adapt to the British or American way of working. The picture is much more blurry in the United Arab Emirates. Some organizations have articulated their own unique recipes for how to work, while many meet new hires as indefinable crossbreeds. Each department has its own mix of nationalities, causing problems for collaboration within the whole organization.

Should you adapt to people from other cultures or should they adapt to you? Authenticity is a celebrated concept at the moment: be your true self! Opposing this is the classic management theory about situational leadership: choose your leadership style according to the situation! My belief is that both are true at the same time, but only if you work with an awareness of yourself and others – and not least of those from other cultures.

Link to the article: http://gulfbusiness.com/2015/08/gulf-cultural-norms-dos-donts/#.VdwFQ3i2xqs

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