Cultural identity and convergence on western attitudes and beliefs in the United Arab Emirates

Journal article

Hills, Rodney C. and Atkins, Paul W. B.. (2013). Cultural identity and convergence on western attitudes and beliefs in the United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management. 13(2), pp. 193 - 213.
AuthorsHills, Rodney C. and Atkins, Paul W. B.

Studies of acculturation have assumed that, under pressure to assimilate, individuals will accommodate by adopting behavioural and attitudinal attributes of the local, dominant culture. In contrast, this empirical study based in the United Arab Emirates used an original survey instrument, together with a range of convergent analytic techniques, to demonstrate pervasive westernization in the Arab and subcontinental-dominant communities. In addition, the study demonstrates a novel use of multiple discriminant analysis to explore differences between cultural and personal identities, a potentially useful tool for the cross-cultural management literature. In contrast to other studies, we examine how individuals perceive themselves as deviating from their home cultures in a context where there is minimal pressure to conformto the local culture and commercial globalization is given free reign. We show that non-westerners perceived themselves both as more deviant from their home societies than those fromwestern nations and as more similar to westerners than to their own societies. The fact that even those born in Gulf Arab nations tended to converge on western beliefs and behaviours suggested the cause of westernization may have been media and western business models. These observations lead us to challenge common theoretical models of acculturation by suggesting that individuals may acculturate by assuming learned transient aspects of cultural identity in order to maximize personal opportunity.

KeywordsCultural identity; attitudes and beliefs; acculturation; migration; globalization; management; Middle East
JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Journal citation13 (2), pp. 193 - 213
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84881350780
Page range193 - 213
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