Exploring barriers to muliticulturalism and gender diversity in KSA and UAE: a comparative case study

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British University in Dubai
On the global scale, organizations are becoming increasingly diverse, while facing difficulties in maintaining a balanced multicultural work environment due to the increasingly diverse cultures, religions and growing presence of women in the workforce. Recent reports have highlighted the need for companies to become more aware of multiculturalism and yield positive workplace practices. Considering the mounting size of the global market and the fierce competition, the need for organizations that can deliver company objectives within and to a diversified world cannot be overemphasized. Organizations commonly focus on developing training programs and appraisal procedures to fulfil the company objectives but often overlook obstacles to multiculturalism that can negatively influence organizational goals. This study attempts to explore workplace obstacles related to a multicultural and gender diverse environments through focusing on cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds of multiculturalism influencing the work environment and performance. In an attempt to assess the extent of how these factors influence employees and their work environment in both United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, a structured pilot tested survey was utilized. The study relied on personal interpretations to determine how multicultural and diversity climates are perceived amongst varying groups and how individual backgrounds influence perceptions and decision making processes. Demographic variables such as race, culture, religion and gender were explored to assess their influence on both individual and organizational multiculturalism and gender diversity. The aim of the study was to gain insight on influences of demographics on multiculturalism and for organizations to gain an in depth perspective to obstacles in order to overcome them and not to gain an in depth understanding of a culture. Key findings of the research were based on survey results and literature review. Results suggested demographic make-up of individuals can influence the extent of which an organizational environment can be perceived as multicultural.
muliticulturalism, gender diversity, United Arab Emirates (UAE), global market, organizational goals, performance