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Cross Cultural Management Jordan

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Essay title: Cross Cultural Management Jordan

Executive summary

Transjordan separated from Palestine by Britain after the World War I, gained in 1946 its independence. In 1950 it is renamed Jordan. After King Hussein’s death in 1999, his son King Abdullah II assumed the throne of this constitutional monarchy. Jordan’s ethnicity is at 98% Arab and 92% are Muslims.

Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association and had a free trade accord with the U.S. in 2001.

The total of exports to the U.S. was $12.6 million in 2002 and $27.2 million in 2003 (www.usaid .gov). 26.2% of Jordan’s export goes in the U.S. However Jordan's export market is heavily dependent on exports to Iraq. It was affected by the Iraq war but recovered quickly while contributing to the Iraq recovery effort. (

Regarding the new opportunities offer by the free trade agreements, a non-profit organization, ExportJordan, had so been created to help the development of Jordanian businesses and promote their export. They work with a grant from USAID and focus more specifically on businesses running by women.

“USAID works with the government and businesses to improve their efficiency, increase trade and investment, and create more jobs and higher incomes.” ( “The reform effort includes […], support for small- and medium-sized businesses,…”

Anne Burns, an American woman who already had success in starting several businesses in the US, sees the ExportJordan job opportunity she was offered as a new challenge. Her job consists in helping small businesses driven by women to find international buyers for their products. She will work with Hayat Maani, the woman who welcomes her and introduces her to her new colleagues. Her goal is to train those female managers to be in the end autonomous. Anne and her husband can afford to choose the job they want and the country in which they want to live as the sale of their last business provide them enough to retire. Jordan is an attractive and exotic country for them. They do not speak Arabic but think communication in their new environment will be easy, efficient, productive and effective.

Unfortunately this American woman will face many misunderstandings and cross cultural barriers. She will have difficulties to communicate with her assistant and her main issue will be with a male from the finance department, Jafar Faqir. A distant, weird and conflicting relationship starts at their first meeting. She will not also be able to get trough the hierarchical structure of ExportJordan, find a truth about her colleague Hayat disappearance or understand the hidden messages from her director, Dr Massimi.

Her own perspectives and tastes, which she had always taken for granted as being fairly universal, do not necessarily prevail in another culture. By her lack of knowledge about the country and the culture she was going to confront, she created a non cooperative environment of work with tensions. The cultural adaptation in a country goes far beyond a simple survival. Indeed, to be alongside everyday a non familiar environment is a factor of emotional and psychological stress.




Case analysis

I. What did Anne do wrong?

II. What is a cultural choc?

III. How to avoid such a hard transition?

IV. Recommendation





Nowadays businessman and women have more and more opportunities to work alongside someone from a different culture or to work in another country such as an expatriate. That is why it is so important and useful to be able to manage cross cultural situations. As we will see in the analysis below the lack of knowledge, understanding and awareness of a culture can lead to non efficient, uncomfortable working ambiance.

This case study illustrates the stakes and the complex transition and adaptation to a new and unfamiliar culture. It is the occasion to identify the main issues foreigners could have to go through and what can be done to prevent misunderstandings and cultural shocks. We will focus on the American culture facing the Jordanian Muslim culture. This paper will explain why Anne Burns’ work style and personal behavior is not conducive to workable cross cultural workplace relationships in Jordan. She did not

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