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Cross‐cultural adaptivity and expatriate performance in the United Arab Emirates

Sabina Cerimagic (Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia)

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues

ISSN: 1753-7983

Article publication date: 8 November 2011




The purpose of this paper is to find out if Australian project managers who are working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) receive cross‐cultural training and if this training helps them to adapt to the new environment and perform better.


The information on which this paper is based was obtained through semi‐structured interviews conducted with Australian expatriates who were working the UAE in 2009.


The findings suggest that cross‐cultural training is very important in that it helps minimise, although not eradicate, misunderstandings and inappropriate behaviours. Specific cross‐cultural training provides expatriates with information and guidance that is relevant and particular to the culture in which they will be working. The information provided should be on the destination country and its people and that country's specific culture, values, attitudes and appropriate behaviours.

Research limitations/implications

Providing expatriates with the appropriate cross‐cultural training is only useful if the expatriate is receptive and willing to learn. The best training in the world is useless if the expatriate is unwilling to learn. This research did not look at the selection criteria for expatriates. Selecting the right people, who are willing to learn and who enjoy new and sometime challenging environments, is paramount to the success of cross‐cultural training.


By providing expatriates with cross‐cultural training, expatriates are more likely to adapt to the new culture faster, which will in turn help the expatriates to perform at their full potential.



Cerimagic, S. (2011), "Cross‐cultural adaptivity and expatriate performance in the United Arab Emirates", Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 303-312.



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