Honor Culture in Middle Eastern Business

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Nicholas Janitsary conducts business through his company, New Dimension Group. The managing director for the group, founded in 2000, Nicholas Janitsary serves as a consultant to firms in the areas of security, aviation, and business development. Through this work, Dr. Janitsary strives to bring cultural understanding to various areas of the world including the Middle East, where he regularly conducts business.

Middle Eastern business practices are generally thought to be driven by an honor culture, different from the dignity culture common in the Western world. An honor culture values self-worth through social interactions and competition, while a dignity culture values self-worth through social status, which develops outside of social interaction. These variances can lead to different practices when it comes to business.

In business dealings, an honor culture tends to view the task at hand as a competition, while a dignity culture views it as a problem needing resolution. Due to this, individuals from an honor culture can be slower to trust, as trust needs to be earned through repeated interactions, and they may be more likely to use emotional tactics such as anger and sympathy to influence negotiations. Due to these differences, successful business dealings require an understanding of the local culture.