Academic Master


Comparing and Contrasting Ethics in UAE and USA

Ethics constitute the moral principles that control people’s behaviors and determine between what is wrong and what is good. This paper focuses on the ethics of two countries, the UAE and the USA. The UAE is well known for its culture, values, and beliefs among its citizens, which are mainly based on Muslim practices.

The UAE is among the advanced countries in the Arab world that have received and continue to receive millions of visitors as tourists and those seeking various employment opportunities. Most of the cultural and ethical values in the UAE are in line with those of almost all Arab countries. When compared to Western countries, the ethics of the UAE have some similarities and some differences. This paper will discuss UAE ethics compared to the USA, touching on ethical, civic, and social practices.

UAE and USA have numerous similarities regarding what they value as important to their society. Education is one of the most important values in these two countries. Education programs in the UAE are almost similar to those of the United States, with the majority of schools utilizing the English language in school programs. Just like the United States, the UAE has K-12 and higher education. Education is offered in both public and private institutions, including private colleges and universities. The UAE’s focus on education has seen the literacy level rise from 54 percent in the mid-1970s to over 95 percent as of 2017. America, on the other hand, has over 85 literacy level in its general population. Although the two countries have subsidy programs that enable higher education students to pursue their education, the UAE has completely free university education for those attending public universities.

Health is another sector that is highly valued by both the UAE and the USA. Both governments have continued to invest heavily in health to ensure that their citizens stay healthy, and if they get ill, they can get the best possible services in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. However, the USA focuses more on research on new medicine and technological advancement in hospitals. The UAE depends on countries such as the U.S. for sophisticated medical equipment as they do not focus more on their own research and development. There are a number of public and private health facilities in both countries, with the public facilities registering a higher number of patients compared to the private ones. In terms of health coverage and insurance, the U.S. is far ahead of the UAE due to its unique policies on health coverage.


When visiting or planning to relocate to the UAE, one would notice some differences in ways of doing things and customs there. In terms of dress, the UAE society embraces loose and unrevealing clothing, particularly for women. Therefore, a person who wears short and revealing clothing will be termed as disrespectful. In the U.S., women have no specific dress codes and can wear whatever they wish, no matter how revealing it may be. Although there are Muslim women in the United States who wear like their UAE counterparts, that is because of their religious guidelines and because it does not represent the American Society. Men, on the other hand, do not have much difference between the two countries because men in the UAE wear casual and official men’s wear, just as their counterparts in the U.S. Women ought to be careful with their dressing when touring the UAE.

When it comes to eating and table manners, the UAE again differs from the United States in various capacities. The society in the UAE embrace eating foods that are culturally and religiously accepted (halal) while in the U.S. anybody can eat any food so long as it does not have any health problems to the person. When it comes to drinks, it is unethical for any UAE resident to drink alcohol, whereas it is acceptable for anyone who is 18 years and above in the U.S. Some of the practices that the society considers morally accepted when it comes to eating in the UAE include the following. Meals are only taken using the right hand regardless of whether one is lefthanded or righthanded, and all food should be accepted by the right hand. The U.S. society has no specifications on which hand ought to be used for taking meals.

Regarding the close association of men and women, the UAE society isolates women from men such that women congregate in separate groups from men. The purpose of doing that is to minimize contact between men and women. This is even practiced in greetings, where men greet other men by means of handshaking, which is also common in the U.S. However, when it comes to a man greeting a woman, it is unethical for the two to shake hands in the UAE. If a man wants to greet a woman, he should do so by word of mouth. In the U.S., shaking hands is, in fact, a good way to show greetings to all genders. Individuals can even choose to greet each other by hugging. Unlike the UAE, the U.S. society embraces bonding where women freely interact with men in almost all genres of life.

Business Ethics:

Business ethics is simply the acceptable standards that businesses and organizations ought to adhere to while carrying out their daily activities. Different factors play a key role in defining the business ethics in a particular country. These factors include respective government regulations, competitors, customers, society, and interest groups. Although business ethics differ with companies within a country, there are considerations that define the overall business ethics in a given country. Adhering to the country’s values is key for investors planning to do business in the UAE. Values and cultural norms are more highly considered when it comes to doing business in the UAE than they are in the U.S. The royal family (the princes) have a bigger influence in negotiating business deals in the UAE, and therefore, many investors are advised to deal with the members of the royal family in business deals.

Doing business in the United States is by virtue of market forces and government regulation. There are no specific individuals who are regarded as business dealers. Without them, your business deal might fail. The customers in the UAE are also an important factor in business ethics. If a particular business goes against the norms of the people of UAE, customers will opt to go for another rival business even if the affected could have quality products compared to other businesses around. In the U.S., customers are not that keen on customary practices. Customers are only focused on the quality of products or the services they get with other economic considerations such as price. Businesses in the U.S. focus more on product quality and market competition, whereas, in Dubai, a business first considers its practices and how they align with society’s cultural values and norms.

Regarding business dealings and agreements, the UAE values face-to-face and verbal dealings. Trust and integrity are what drive most business dealings in the UAE. So, when planning to do business dealings in the UAE, one has no better option than going to the UAE and meeting face-to-face with dealers. The U.S., on the other hand, favors online dealings that include email conversations and video conferencing, among other online platforms. Businesses in the U.S. value time over trust, which explains why most U.S. investors are huge risk-takers compared to their UAE counterparts. The U.S. also is known to focus more on paper agreements in business dealings. The UAE also has paper dealings involved, but verbal trust is first attained. In terms of decision-making, the UAE takes more time than the U.S. business dealings.

The U.S. business community values directness and punctuality, unlike their UAE counterparts, who mostly value trust. In short, the U.S. negotiations are driven by the famous business phrase “time is money,” which is why their dealings do not waste much time. In UAE, corporate meetings are long and take a lot of time. The parties involved take that long time because they consider it necessary to build trustworthy business relationships. Business meetings, therefore, in the UAE not only constitute business but also hospitality. In the U.S., business meetings are mostly for business purposes without any hospitality involved. The U.S. is more price-conscious in business dealings than the UAE. While the UAE focuses on just the profit the business will yield, the U.S. determines how much profit margin it will get.

Regarding employment and labor, both the UAE government and the Federal government of the United States regulate businesses, particularly on minimum wages, working hours, health compliance, and safety. Whilst the Federal Government of the United States has set its minimum wage that businesses ought to pay their employees at $7.25 per hour, the UAE has no stipulated regulation on the level of minimum wage. However, the UAE government requires all employees to live according to their standards of living. When it comes to working hours, the UAE governments have set the maximum working hours for businesses at 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. This is also the case for the U.S., where working hours are 8 per day for private corporations’ employees. In the month of Ramadhan, the UAE cites that businesses ought to reduce working hours for their employees to 6 hours throughout the month.



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