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Comparing and Contrasting Ethics in UAE and U.S.A

Ethics constitute the moral principles that control the behaviors of people and determine between what is wrong and good. This paper focus on ethics of two countries, the UAE and the USA. The UAE is well known for its culture, values and beliefs within its citizens which is mainly based on the 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 opportunity. Most of the cultural and ethical values in UAE are inline with almost all of the Arab countries. When compared to the western countries, the ethics of UAE have some similarities and also some differences. This paper will discuss about 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 most important values in these two countries. Education programs in UAE are almost similar to that of the United States with majority of schools utilizing English language in school programs. Just as the United States, the UAE has the K-12 and higher education. Education is offered in both the public and the private institutions including private colleges and universities. The UAE focus on education has seen the literacy level rising 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 educations students 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 on health to ensure that their citizens stay healthy and if they get ill, they can get the best possible services in hospitals and other health care 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 both public and private health facilities in both country with the public facilities registering a higher number of patients compared to the private ones. In terms of health cover and insurance, the U.S. is far much ahead of the UAE due to their unique policies on health coverage.


When vising or planning to relocate to the UAE, one would notice some different in ways of doing things and customs there. In terms of dressings, the society in the UAE embrace loose and unrevealing clothing particularly for women. Therefore, a person who wears short and revealing clothing will be termed as disrespecting. 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 do not represent the American Society. Men on the hand, have no 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 careful with their dressing when touring 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 consider 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 also 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 isolate women from men such that women congregate in separate groups from men. The purpose of doing that is to minimize contacts between men and women. This is even practiced in greetings where men greet other men by means of hand shaking 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., shakings hands are in fact a good show of greeting across all gender. Individuals can even choose to greet each other by means of 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 are involved and play a key role in defining the business ethics in a particular country. These factors include respective government regulations, competitors, customers, the 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 UAE. Values and cultural norms are highly considered when it comes to doing business in the UAE than it is 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 that 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 be having 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, business first consider their practices and how it aligns to the society’s cultural values and norms.

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

The U.S. business community value directness and punctuality not like their UAE counterparts who value trust mostly. In short, the U.S. negotiations are driven by the famous business phrase “time is money,” that is why their dealings does not waste much time. In UAE, corporate meetings are long and take much time. Parties involved take that long time because they consider it as necessary when it comes to building trustworthy business relationships. Business meetings therefore in the UAE not only constitute business only but also hospitality. In the U.S., business meetings are mostly for business purposes without any hospitality involved. When it comes to price, the U.S. is more price conscious in business dealings than the UAE. While the UAE focuses on just the profit that the business will yield, the U.S. goes further to determine how much profit margin they 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 in accordance with 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 business ought to reduce working hours for their employees to 6 hours throughout the month.



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