Business Etiquette in Saudi Arabia

Topics: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Arabian Peninsula Pages: 10 (2328 words) Published: October 9, 2013
Business Etiquette in Saudi Arabia
Introduction
Saudi Arabia is a monarchy in southwestern Asia, and occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula. It is essential for people doing business in the Kingdom to understand Saudi etiquette and the personal manner in which they conduct business. Preparation, and some basic knowledge of Saudi Arabian business etiquette, can make the difference between successful deal and failed negotiation. To do business in Saudi Arabia, three main factors need to be considered: religion & culture, customs and gender roles.

Business Etiquette
Business etiquette: expected behaviors and expectations for individual actions within society, group, or class. Within a place of business, it involves treating coworkers and employer with respect and courtesy in a way that creates a pleasant work environment for everyone.

Religion & Culture
Business in Saudi Arabia revolves around the religion that rules in the country, Islam. Islam is a somewhat strict religion that requires an abundance of attention throughout the business day. Since a majority of business men and woman in Saudi Arabia are Muslim, they plan their business days around things such as prayer times, religious holidays, and religious values. A devout Muslim prays five times a day. Two prayer times are not scheduled during the work day, but the other three are. In most

businesses of Saudi Arabia, a break will be taken at noon, the afternoon, and sunset for everybody in the business to pray. Dawn-to-dusk fasting marks Ramadan, the holiest season of the year. The dates of Ramadan are based on the lunar calendar, so it varies each year.

Date

Day

Festival

Feb 05, 2012

Sunday

Milad Un Nabi (birthday Of
The Prophet Muhammad)

Feb 09, 2012

Thursday

Milad Un Nabi (shia)

Jun 16, 2012

Saturday

Lailat Al Miraj

Jul 04, 2012

Wednesday

Lailat Al Bara'ah

Jul 20, 2012

Friday

Ramadan (start)

Aug 14, 2012

Tuesday

Laylat Al Kadr

Aug 19, 2012

Sunday

Eid-al-fitr (end Of Ramadan)

Oct 25, 2012

Thursday

Waqf Al Arafa - Hajj

Oct 26, 2012

Friday

Eid-al-adha

Nov 15, 2012

Thursday

Hijra - Islamic New Year

Nov 24, 2012

Saturday

Day Of Ashura

Saudis are prohibited from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sundown, and no more than six hours of work may be conducted daily. Families break their fasts together at sunset. If one is scheduled to have a meeting in Saudi Arabia they are expected to be aware and considerate of these prayer times and holidays otherwise they are considered as rude and will be declined business.

Another factor that differentiates Saudi Arabian business from American business is the language spoken. In Saudi Arabia the native language is Arabic. Fortunately, a majority of businessmen in Saudi Arabia are taught English at an early age so they can conduct business with America. That being said, it is still very inappropriate and impolite to expect them to speak English rather than their native language, Arabic. When you go to a meeting it is important to greet them in Arabic and learn their values and beliefs on greetings, which will be covered in the portion of overall business etiquette. Another role that plays a huge factor in Saudi Arabian business is family values. It is rare to find a business that is not owned or ran by a central family and passed from generation to generation. The sanctity of family in Saudi Arabia follows Islamic dictates. Social structure is organized into clans and tribes. Large, extended families live together, and nepotism is encouraged. Family values are thought of very highly and it is important to know that visiting or doing business in Saudi Arabia. Religion, language, and family values are huge roles in Saudi Arabian business and Saudi Arabian culture in general. If one is to do business in Saudi Arabia it is vital that they take these into consideration and respect them to do successful business....

References: Gorrill, J. (2007). Doing business in Saudi Arabia | Saudi Arabian social and business
culture
Morrison, T., & Conway, W. (2012). Kiss, bow, or shake hands: Sales and marketing.
Katz, L. (2010, April). Negotiating international business - Saudi Arabia. Retrieved from
http://www.globalnegotiationresources.com/cou/SaudiArabia.pdf
Professor A. Pratt
November 19, 2012
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