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1 35 Managing Employee Conflict in the Middle East. Summary: 32.1 Introduction. 32.2 Conflict Created by Management. 32.3 The Role of Culture in Conflict.

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Presentation on theme: "1 35 Managing Employee Conflict in the Middle East. Summary: 32.1 Introduction. 32.2 Conflict Created by Management. 32.3 The Role of Culture in Conflict."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 35 Managing Employee Conflict in the Middle East. Summary: 32.1 Introduction Conflict Created by Management The Role of Culture in Conflict Management.

2 Introduction. Conflicts between individuals and groups causes: –reduced productivity and efficiency; therefore it is important to minimize such conflict. In the Middle East, labor disputes have been increasing: employees on strike has reached the thousands; arrests and deportations of foreign labor have become commonplace; the result can be significant financial losses to international construction companies;

3 3 Much of the labor comes from overseas, in particular from other Islamic countries, but also Korea etc.. Much of the conflict has arisen from a lack of understanding and provision for cultural differences: –contractors dealing with labor from unfamiliar cultures; –made worse by the fact that labor from many different cultures.

4 4 Management’s conduct towards employees often triggers conflict: inequity in salaries between groups; inadequate incentive programs: –sense of unfairness; –reduced motivation; –conflict; incompetence of supervisors: –employees develop lack of respect for supervisors and thus demonstrate resistance to assignments; 35.2 Conflict Created by Management.

5 5 Change is common during the life of a construction project, to initiate: work improvement (quality, and productivity); and safety. –if such changes are not managed carefully, then: employees will see this as a statement of their incompetence; thus, conflict will arise between the employee and the supervisors implementing the change; communication and explanation is the main solution (and needs to overcome language and related barriers). Confidence of employees in management must exist if conflict is to be eliminated!

6 6 Conflict arising from cultural differences requires: adaptation of policies and procedures to alleviate (or at least minimize) cultural clashes; five cultural factors can be identified that significantly influence managerial efficiency in Middle Eastern contracts: (1) religion (discussed in more detail below); (2) personal values and attributes (for example, loss of face in front of colleagues - be discreet); (3) social structure (extended families take precedence - be flexible); (4) language (Arabic people use body language more than people from the West); and (5) technology (communicate reasons for using unfamiliar methods and technologies). the employment of well-trained local superintendents can help alleviate many of the consequential problems here The Role of Culture in Conflict Management.

7 7 Religion: Islam is the most common religion in the Middle East, and of labor imported to the region; it shapes the: –values; –attitudes; and –entire social structure of the region. observing employees expect: –at least 2 daily breaks for prayer (provide facilities as well); –fewer working hours during fasting month; and –observance of religious holidays. social customs during religious celebrations such as: –visiting extended family; –preparing the sacrificial lamb; etc; can force a complete stop of construction work. Conflict can be avoided by adapting working practices to accommodate these factors.

8 8 Safety in the work place is not usually a point of conflict in this culture since: –in Islam, self-protection and preservation is in accordance with the duty of individuals. Work improvement programs (if properly communicated) should also be acceptable since: –one of the teachings of Islam is to strive towards understanding, and to improve one’s inner life. Low motivation can be cured by: –placing responsibility in hands of native superintendents; –being competent in your decision making; and –understanding the Islamic religion.


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