Relationship of Cultural Understanding and Business Success in the Middle East and North Africa: A Mixed Methods Study

Relationship of Cultural Understanding and Business Success in the Middle East and North Africa: A Mixed Methods Study

Author: 
Jinan A. Ziadé
Program of study: 
D.M./IST
Abstract: 
The purpose of this sequential, mixed methods study was to examine the relationship of cultural understanding and business success in MENA and evaluate United States business leaders’ and professionals’ self-perceived levels of cultural competence and cross-cultural lived experience when conducting business outside of the United States. A purposive sample of 174 participants from different industries around the globe were used for this study. The quantitative data analysis consisted of descriptive statistics and multiple regressions. Findings indicated no statistically significant relationship found between cultural awareness, gender, employment level, and cross-border experience while significant with age, education, tenure, foreign language proficiency. The Findings also indicated no statistically significant relationship found between perceived cultural barriers, gender, education, employment level, tenure, and cross-border experience. Significant relationships were found between cultural barriers, age, and foreign language proficiency. A moderate inference can only be drawn from the low Spearman coefficient correlation values found. Post-survey online in-depth interview questions was conducted to clarify the quantitative results. NVivo was used to analyze the responses and four themes emerged from the data. The qualitative findings indicated a communal link with the quantitative data results. The findings and recommendations showed that incorporating culture of host nations within leadership practice and expatriate training can lead to an increase of business global leadership competencies. This can improve workforce cross-cultural sensitivity and helps leaders create dynamic capabilities for competitive advantage. A leadership practices model developed in this study provides a suitable framework and salient business strategy component for corporations seeking to expand successfully.
Dedication: 
First, I give all thanks to almighty God for his guidance and mercy. The doctoral journey would not have been possible without the unending strength and endurance enabled by many special people. I like to thank my late father, Abdul-Rahim Ziadé, who instilled in me the value of education and continued to be an inspiration for me. This doctoral degree is tribute to my family; I could not have completed this doctoral program without my parents Abdul-Rahim and Fadwa Ziadé. I dedicate this study to all the people who believed in me and being there in good and bad times. I want to dedicate this study to my husband, Mohy Shishakly, who has offered continuous support in whatever I elect to do. I want to dedicate this doctoral degree to my beautiful son, Sami Oueida, the joy of my life and my greatest gift for his continuous support and constant encouragement. His inquisitive mind and practical view of life have kept me focused on this work. Despite the title that accompanies a doctorate, the best I could ever have is “Mom”. I love you unconditionally and hope that I have been an example for your goals and that I inspire you to accomplish your goals with hard work and dedication. I also dedicate the study to the memory of my late father in-law, Dr. Mohsen Shishakly, and my mother-in-law, Lawa Al-Hourani. Thank you for your continuous loving support. I must offer a special thanks to my sister in-law Lubana Adi, and nephews, Mohsen Jijakli and Bilal Yamak. Their cheery disposition and bright smiles have made my learning process to run smoothly. Thank you for being my biggest cheerleaders.
Acknowledgements: 
My sincere appreciation and special thanks go to my chair and my committee members. My chair, Dr. G. Ali Shaykhian, mentored me in many ways. He was always available to answer my phone calls and emails to the many questions I had. Dr. Shaykhian always motivated me and provided perspective of many approaches to stay on track. His comments were always challenging and motivating. Without his mentorship, I would have never made it. I extend my thanks to the members of my doctoral committee, Dr. Dale Crowe and Dr. Jay Klagge. They believed in me and provided their guidance and expertise throughout this project. Like Dr. Shaykhian, Dr. Crowe supported me throughout my dissertation journey. He always offered his exceptional attention to details that enhanced my quality of work. I like to thank Dr. Klagge for his leadership in providing guidance and encouragement in needed times. I also acknowledge my dear friend Dr. Claude Tanoe, who encouraged me and provided unwavering commitment, support, and time. Dr. Tanoe provided constant and valuable insights throughout this journey. His thorough revisions helped me develop many areas in this study. I like to thank Dr. Tanoe for his wisdom, for all he has done for me, his constant encouragement, and being patient. In addition, I would like to acknowledge Dr. Ted Woodrow’s suggestions and guidance. I appreciate Dr. Woodrow’s willingness to share his knowledge and expertise to meticulously evaluate the document strength. My gratitude goes to Dr. Vanessa Hall who supported me along the journey. Special thanks to Dr. Lynne Devnew, Dr. Abu Bakr, Dr. Mahmoud Shadid, Abdullah Khawam, and all my friends who contributed to this study and offered their vast experiences. Finally, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the study participants who shared their insights and experiences in response to post survey questions. I am eternally grateful for your trust, honesty, and contributions to this study. My sincere gratitude and appreciation to the faculty instructors and staff throughout the doctoral program. They provided a great learning environment for doctoral learners. To all of the people who made my journey possible, and have been a part of my life, thank you for your patience and support.