Title: Influence of Arab culture on managing an innovative work environment: an exploratory study in the United Arab Emirates

Authors: Khadeeja Alfaqeeh; Chowdhury Hossan; Bret W. Slade

Addresses: Office of Doctoral of Business Administration, Abu Dhabi University, P.O.Box 59911, Abu Dhabi, UAE ' Australian Research and Development Consultancy, 1B Conondale Street, Melbourne, Australia ' La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University, Plenty Road, Bundoora, Australia

Abstract: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has recently shown rapid increases in innovation compared to other parts of the world. The UAE leadership is developing both government and industry, with an emphasis on non-oil sectors, and has prioritised a focus on innovation to increase efficiency and effectiveness. This qualitative study examines the effect of Arab culture on innovation management in the UAE. The study suggests that certain cultural characteristics are enablers for innovation while others are inhibitors. The results of 20 face-to-face interviews show that high collectivism, high context, long-term orientation, and strong followership contribute to building an innovative work environment. High power distance and uncertainty avoidance are the main obstacles to innovation. This study argues that these traits should be minimised or eliminated, and positive factors should be enhanced to increase innovation.

Keywords: Arab culture; innovation; government organisation; United Arab Emirates; UAE; qualitative study.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2019.100075

International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, 2019 Vol.19 No.2, pp.232 - 250

Received: 21 Jul 2017
Accepted: 18 Feb 2018

Published online: 03 Jun 2019 *

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