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Reclaiming the heterogeneity of the Arab states

Shihanah Almutairi (American University of Kuwait, Safat, Kuwait)
Michael Heller (Brunel University, London, UK)
Dorothy Yen (Brunel University, London, UK)

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management

ISSN: 2059-5794

Article publication date: 24 August 2020

Issue publication date: 20 January 2021




This paper addresses the clustering of several Arab states on Hofstede's national culture dimensions and its implications for international firms targeting the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. It is imperative to distinguish the region's various national cultures, in order to enable enhanced segmenting strategies. The authors argue that reexamining the Arab states' national cultures can provide interested firms with a better understanding of their differences and similarities, so as to appropriately adjust their products and services to better serve their consumers.


Hofstede's Values Survey Module 2013 (VSM 13) questionnaire is employed. In total, 1400 surveys were disseminated to all the Arab states, 200 for each country.


find evidence that national cultural differences do exist for Arab states and discuss implications toward international firms expanding in the region.


Empirical contributions include the dissemination and translation of Hofstede's national culture survey, the VSM 13, on seven Arab states: Kuwait, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, Iraq, Libya and Egypt. Second, the VSM 13 survey measured the Arab states on two more dimensions which had not been previously measured before the present study's investigation. Last, the theoretical contribution of the present study offers empirical evidence that the MENA region's national culture profiles differ on all dimensions, and as such its findings are seen as an extension and validation of Hofstede's national culture theory.



Almutairi, S., Heller, M. and Yen, D. (2021), "Reclaiming the heterogeneity of the Arab states", Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 158-176.



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