Cultural Attributes

Middle Eastern cultures are considered to be strong and coherent because they are infused with a system of values, beliefs, and ideals that are well understood and adhered to by all members. These values and beliefs are reinforced by rituals and a rich mythology about past events in the history of their culture. The members of such cultures take extreme pride in their heritage and previous accomplishments.

Hofstede’s dimensions of culture are: uncertainty avoidance, power distance, masculinity-femininity, individualism-collectivism, and future orientation.

According to Hofstede’s dimension of individualism versus collectivism, Egypt would idealistically categorize as a collectivist society; in a collectivist society, leaders tend to work in groups, and have a higher ordinal goal that they are working towards.

Furthermore, according to Hofstede’s dimension of masculinity versus femininity, Egyptian society is categorized as a masculine society. Egyptians have traditionally viewed men as leading, independent, aggressive, and dominant, while women as passive, dependent, gentle, and responsible for household tasks. Existing research conducted on Egypt shows that throughout Egypt’s history, women in particular, simply because of their gender, were discriminated against and constrained to roles such as care givers, child bearers, and nurturers in their families.

At the same time, men assumed the role of bread winners and were responsible for providing food, shelter, clothing, and the rest of life necessities for the women and women in return took care of the children and household activities. As far as economic activities not based on the family unit was concerned, the norms and customs were that Egyptian women could only work as wage workers in agriculture and industry when their families were in need of their financial assistance. Women have started to enter the labor force in large numbers over the past few decades; however, Egypt still has one of the lowest wage labor participation rates for women in the world. Only recently, in the past few decades, Egyptian women have seen an increase in their participation in salaried labor force and were empowered, to a certain extent, in their jobs to reach managerial positions in rare instances. Hence, at least hypothetically, both Egyptian men and women are expected to sex stereotype managerial positions against women based on the type of jobs women held in the past such as clerical, secretarial, tourist guides, waitresses, etc. 

Egypt appears to have the lowest score on assertiveness, and has relatively lower scores on uncertainty avoidance, societal collectivism, future orientation, and gender egalitarianism. On the other hand, Egypt has a high score on in-group collectivism, and has relatively high scores on performance orientation, power distance, and humane orientation. In terms of the desires to change the culture, Egyptians are most interested in reducing the power distance and increasing the future orientation aspects of the societal culture.

A crucial and vital dimension that Hofstede did not include in his dimensions of culture is religion. In Egypt, religion plays a major role in people’s day to day lives. Thus, it could be assumed that religion guides the behaviors of leaders to a great extent in order to be viewed as honorable leaders by the society. In Egypt, the laws are not based on the Islamic religion; they are extended from French laws, and the French laws are not based on any specific religion. Egyptian laws are based on the French ones due to the French occupancy of Egypt for a long period of time. Egyptian leaders could abide by the laws and not be viewed as honorable leaders since they are not abiding by the Islamic religion.

http://www.leadingtoday.org/weleadinlearning/nonwesterncultures.html