In the past local couldn't take a shower every day it was therefore required to have clean hand when eating in order o not get sick. The right hand in the Arabic culture is the hand that needs to be used to touch Just the food and not your mouth. This is just a short example of how the culture of a singular person could totally offend a person from the middle east. Adding to this there are several difference concerning how the business is seen In the ME. When starting to work with local people Is Important to understand that the idea of time and deadlines Is different than In the rest of the world.
However this does not mean that people do not respect deadlines but it wants to emphasize the act that when a deadline is coming it is important to make sure that the local person you are working with understood that you really need it for that day. Remember, when in an answer you hear "install" ("if god must double check since in the local culture this Is not a confirmation but Is equal to "we will see" In the British culture. Adding to this there is a really important fact that made multiple businesses fail in the middle east.
The way the contracting part is done is more personal, interesting and it is more based on the individual than on the company. For the people in the diddle east It Is important to know the person that they are dealing with. Is therefore essential not to push for a deal, Instead It Is really appreciate when the people part of the deal start to know each other's also from a personal point of view. As an example welcoming the partner in your family for a dinner is really appreciated and it is seen as a really polite way to start to do business. Do not ever push the partner to sign a contract before you know him or you might risk to lose him.
The Importance of the family Is another influencing factor. People In the middle east end to do business with well-known family that have always shown fairness and misbehaving family would make you fail and nobody will trust your opinion. It is important to gain trust in the middle east more than gain money. Honesty and trust are the most important characteristic that an individual must have, without them forget to work with the middle east. Related to this respect must be shown all the time but especially to older people. In the ME being older means being more wise.
Never doubt biblically a person that is older than you or you will be Judged as an unrest full person. Concerning the gender, in the middle east man are still seen as more important than woman. You will never(if the situation does not change) find a woman doing business with you. The man is the one that can make proper and successful decisions. On the other hand we have another influencing factor which is religion. Arriving from the west the religion will not discriminate you because quite similar to middle east but it is important to not show your ideas in case you are atheist.
Religion in the ME is really important an showing that you do not believe in god can represent an obstacle. This is because religion teaches multiple values that re important to locals and people that do not believe can be seen as people with them. Another really influencing fact concerns the "chauvinism". In the western world there are several laws against discrimination, in the middle east this does not exist. This is not a way to support discriminations in the work place but is a way to keep the nations part of the middle east as national as possible.
In fact a foreign can not buy a land in the ME or start a business without having a local owning the majority of it. This I done in order to maintain local in the middle east and prevent foreigners to sake over it. Moving to another interesting point I must empathic how networks are essential when doing business in the middle east. Locals have their own network of people that they trust and the totally respect. When a foreign is coming to the ME is not included in this circle and it is really hard to get into them.
The only way to get in this circle of trust is when a local that has been working with you introduces you to his own circle. This person will take the full risk of bringing you in it and it will lose trust as well in case you will fail. In this circles you can not lie or offend people or you ill be excluded and you will never gave them trust back. Pay attention this circles can be extremely helpful and bring you to success but they could also lead you to failure. When coming to the middles east to do business I also important to get informed about the "waste".
This represent the social status that a person (and family) has achieved during the years. This take in account factors like gender, wealth, connections, experience and age. In the local culture waste can change during the course of your life, if your family always did good doesn't mean that you will always be seen as a good person. It is important to maintain the waste in order to succeed in business. People that are not recognizes as respectful, honest and hardworking will lose the privilege of doing business and the people will start questioning their capacities.
Plus being part of "waste" will help you in business and in life, when part of it your entire family is well recognized and your connections are more valuables. As we seen so far doing business in middle east can be really tricky and lead you to a failure if not informed enough about the different ways business is done. When doing business in the west we are used to write everything down in order to remember or to clarify the key point of the debate, in the middle east is not not on paper.
In fact when starting a deal local prefer to write the first draft, this is because it is important for them to be clear and not use complex worlds in order to confuse the partner. Even though most of the business people in the ME have a good English it is important for them to write the draft in a more "comprehensive" way without using the big world that I also personally support are Just there to make the deal more confusing. When moving to the middle east to do business is also essential o take into account that this part of the world is really corrupted.
This reached a point where some executives from the west are doubting the possibility to do business in the middle east without paying bribes. This debate has been dividing westerns in two main parties. For the first group doing business in middle east without corruption is impossible. Most of the people getting involve in important business in middle east are willing to corrupt someone in order to achieve their goal. However even people that are not directly involved in corruption there are ready to do so when in need of fast and direct results.
From this little paragraph it would sound Just like the ME is corrupted but we need to remember that corruption is also diffused in the west. The other ideology is that doing business in ME without corruption is completely possible. Fortunately there is still the idea of a "clean" way of doing business and it is still possible to succeed without passing through illegal procedures. There are still multiple business having a really strong work ethic and the need of having a clean business where everyone can be trusted. If you find yourself on this side make sure you will state really clear that you don't want to get involved in corruption.