8 Aug 2016

The Notion of Expatriation in the United Arab Emirates: A Contextual Perspective

Another article to look out for in in the December 2016 issue of International Journal of Cross Cultural Management.

Author Washika Saheem of the University of Dubai presents a fresh approach to studying expatriation in context. Although focusing on the United Arab Emirates, which, with an excellent literature review and appraisal of the cultural and institutional context, will prove an invaluable contribution to any management scholar studying this region, her study has far reaching implications for the cross-cultural study of expatriation. In her own words:

Expatriation in emerging Arab Gulf States, specifically in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is unlike expatriation elsewhere. In most of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the workforce mainly consists of expatriates, with the local population forming a small minority. Given its previous role and expectations of a continuing need in the future, expatriation and migration have become a key topic in many political and socio-economic agendas in the GCC. In this respect, decision-makers are grappling with often virulently controversial aspects in an effort to establish a balance between localization and expatriation. To date, research has not been successful in fully capturing the factors influencing this peculiar phenomenon and its consequences for expatriates living and working in UAE. Hence, this study suggests an additional approach and proposes a conceptual model to advance the understanding of the various forms and dynamics of expatriation, influenced and shaped by the national culture, institutional factors and localization policies within the UAE. This study has implications for cross-cultural management scholarship on expatriation in a region that has largely been ignored, in providing a more thorough appraisal of the cultural and institutional context. It also provides a framework for contextualising expatriation within cross-cultural management studies, which should be useful for scholars working in other regions.
Dr Saheem’s article provides a welcomed contribution for those studying expatriation and the Middle East from a scholar living and working in the region. Please contact her at: wsaheem@ud.ac.ae