Historically,Saudi Arabiawas characterized as a country with a specific culture which distinguishedMiddle Eastcountries from Western civilization. It is not a secret that its culture, traditions and customs differ substantially from those of Western countries. At the same time,Saudi Arabiatraditionally played a significant role in the economic life of the Gulf region, though its role was not very important in global terms. However, due to the process of globalization and increased need in oil and gas, Saudi Arabia nowadays is strategically important to the world economy that naturally stimulates the integration of this country in the world market and, therefore, the integration of the local culture in the world community that results in the gradual elimination of the national peculiarities and cultural difference of Saudi Arabia from the rest of the world.
First of all, it should be said thatSaudi Arabiaeconomy is based on the exploitation of its natural resources, basically oil, that makes the country attractive for foreign investments and closer international cooperation. In fact, it is due to the foreign assistance the country has managed to develop its oil industry that inevitably affected its integration in the world community. The local specialists often needed and still need to receive higher education inWesternUniversityeither in Europe or in theUS. At the same time, business contacts of Saudi Arabians increased substantially that could not fail to affect their culture which became more westernized and less rigid and conservative.
In fact, such integration of the country in the world community is natural and the appearance of new trends in the local culture is quite normal and inevitable. This is why I would readily accept the progressive changes that can help the country to benefit from its cooperation with foreign business partners and at the same time I would attempt to preserve basic traditions that exist in this country and which are the characteristic ofSaudi Arabia. For instance, the negotiation style is very important to Saudi Arabians and it is quite different from what westerners get used to since negotiations is a complicated process here and each party should maintain its face and negotiations rather resembles a friendly communication than a business relationships.
In fact, Saudi Arabian culture, including business culture, is quite different from the traditional western one. In spite of the growing integration of the country in the global economy it is still necessary to remember about the local peculiarities and traditions. In this respect, it is necessary to pay a particular attention to negotiation process. To put it more precisely, it is very important to a Saudi Arabian businessman to establish good relations with his business partners that is normal to all businessmen but inSaudi Arabiait is necessary to remember that negotiations here often last longer here because it is not such an open and direct process as in the West. Local businessmen attempt to create a positive image and often tend to create almost friendly relationship but at the same time they can hardly declare pointblank their position and attitude but, instead, they prefer to learn gradually the position of their partner and then develop negotiations attempting to avoid arguments and disagreements leading to conflicting situations. In fact, they are not ready to openly oppose to their business partners in negotiations but at the same time they will hardly accept your proposition, if it is important enough, without profound reflection and long lasting negotiations.
This is why if your Saudi Arabian business partner does not respond definitely at once, it does not mean that the negotiations have failed, it simply means that he needs some time to reflect on your offer and maintain positive image of his company that takes more time for negotiations than it traditionally takes in the West.
Thus, it is necessary to take into consideration the peculiarities of the local business ethics and traditions and do not give up if the first efforts had no practical results.