Cross-national study of Saudi-Arabian and British management.

  • Saud Saleh Islam

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Objectives of this comparative cross-national management study include confirmation that managerial practice is affected by and differs with the societal environment, exploring management transferability, and identifying key Saudi Arabian environmental constraints. Practical limitations dictated that only management elements offering sharpest cross-national contrasts be considered. Saudi Arabian management data is sparse hence this work primarily contributes to data building and is exploratory, descriptive and slanted towards Saudi Arabia. Part One is a reference guide to Saudi Arabia, Part Two covers the literature survey, research methodology and research results, Delphi investigations were conducted to identify Saudi environmental constraints. A Negandhi-Prasad framework was applied for investigating selected management aspects. Problems of matching, accessability and data reliability resulted in a final sample of four paired case-studies. The sample alone cannot be claimed as representative, but combined with other factors we felt there was justification for some conclusions. Educational-cultural factors with a 15-30 per cent literacy level were identified as key Saudi environmental constraints. Sociological-cultural factors followed and include uncertainty towards change. Economic constraints include lack of capital markets, inefficient banking and uncertainty towards interest rates and insurance. Significant legal- political constraints include overcentralization, red tape and bureaucracy. Case studies identified patterned management differences that may be related to environmental differences. Significant Saudi external company interactions include greater owner involvement, greater bureaucratic Government interactions and negligible interaction with industry and community. Saudi company organization was autocratic and centralized. The planning concept was not fully appreciated. A misconception of control was apparent confusing it with power and authority. Saudi manpower management suffers neglect. Saudi companies displayed inefficient recruitment, offered no training, lacked manpower planning, adopted opportunistic compensation policy and suffered high staff turnover. In conclusion we agree that the management transfer issue is one of varying degrees of universality and transferability-transfer being concept, country and time-dimension dependant.
Date of Award1981
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

Cite this