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Harmony and participation in Arab and Western teams

Norman S. Wright (Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
Hadyn Bennett (University of Ulster, Belfast, UK)

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues

ISSN: 1753-7983

Article publication date: 3 October 2008




The purpose of this paper is to make a cross‐cultural comparison of team harmony and participation of a collectivistic Middle Eastern sample of women and an individualistic Anglo sample of women.


Two independent female samples are compared – Anglos and Arabs. Respondents completed a self‐report survey regarding their perceptions of recent team experiences as well as their own participation within those teams.


The findings revealed greater sensitivity to inter‐member conflict on the part of the Arabic sample, coupled with increased incidence of behaviors to promote team harmony through the suppression of individual opinions and ideas.

Research limitations/implications

Further research should be conducted to differentiate the interaction between role and gender. From a practical standpoint, quasi‐experimental research on interventions to reduce the participation problem would be important.

Practical implications

Team performance and retention of Emirati employees within the United Arab Emirates context can be enhanced to the extent that managers understand the perceptions and participation of local employees. The findings of the current study aid managers in understanding the key role of team harmony sensitivity among Emiratis and its subsequent impact on their participation in team processes.


The paper addresses a significant issue, team member participation, in an understudied but increasingly relevant setting, Middle Eastern teams.



Wright, N.S. and Bennett, H. (2008), "Harmony and participation in Arab and Western teams", Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 1 No. 4, pp. 230-243.



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