Juggling Cultures

            For many years, the Middle East has been one of the most troubled regions in the world, and a part of this region is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It has been reported that the absence of freedom is most visible in the region’s absolute autocracies, sham elections, and restrictions on the media and on civil society, and harmed by the systematic repression of its women population ( 2005). In addition, Arab women live under the control of a patriarchal society that relegates women to maternal figures without a place in the political or economic area (2005). However, during the present times, the role and the status of women in Saudi Arabia are now changing. Many women now work alongside men, and are highly educated and have professions in medicine, psychology, or other disciplines. As proof of women’s participation in social and political issues, (2003) reports that four Saudi business women were part of a women’s delegation in Brussels, to show what Saudi women have achieved in various fields, correct some misconceptions about women’s rights in the Kingdom, change the image Westerners have of Saudi women and explain how women are involved in Saudi Arabia’s economic development.

            Given this information, the negotiations must be pushed through and be facilitated by the best possible leader, which in this case is a female. By this time, they  must be open to the fact that modernization has changed the perception of many cultures regarding leadership, and that it is now regardless of gender and more into developing the person’s ability to make good deals and negotiations with other companies. Although the discrimination of women could be considered as a threat to the success of the negotiation, the risk of the company to present its “wares” must not be compensated, by sending a less-skilled male. Business is a gamble, so the company must lay out its cards in the best position as possible to benefit from the business, which in this case is sending a female having the outstanding leadership to make the negotiations.

However, to properly make a good deal out of the negotiation, the female leader must also make some adjustments on her style and approach in negotiating with the Arab company.  In general, women’s leadership tend to emphasize relationships as key strategies for success, tend to drive more corporate philosophy with value driven, caring more for their employees, is more democratic, transformational and reward-oriented. These traits are useful, but somehow the female negotiator must become tougher in relating to the Arabs. She must incorporate in herself manly skills and thinking in terms of leadership, as men are more task-oriented, autocratic, exhibits command-and-control, are punishment-oriented and focus on experiences and assignments. This would somehow come to the realization of the Arabs that female leaders are worth their attention and respect, and that she is doing her best for the benefit of her company. Its implication would be the empowerment of the female gender in terms of leadership, gaining mutual respect and openness to cultural relativism.

Each individual has the ability to become leaders, regardless of gender and culture. We should keep in mind that the gender and culture of an individual must not be a hindrance in expressing ideas, because this could be a great venue for exchanging views and gathering more knowledge. This is only possible if we learn to accept the existence of other cultures and gender being equal.



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