Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 35–49 | Cite as

The Current Arab Work Ethic: Antecedents, Implications, and Potential Remedies

  • Yusuf M. SidaniEmail author
  • Jon Thornberry


This article begins with the premise that market-oriented development strategies require more than the free movement of the factors of production from one use to another; they also require a positive work ethic and an energetic and committed workforce. However, the existing Arab work ethic does not seem conducive to␣development and change. This article assesses some antecedents that might have led to the emergence of the existing work ethic. First, we address the potential role of religion in developing a value system that is not conducive to growth and development. We also tackle family dynamics in the Arab world and the impact of family structures on personal and group development. Then, we move our attention to the educational system in the Arab world trying to uncover any common patterns in the various educational approaches in the Arab world that could have had lasting impressions on power dynamics in␣Arab societies. We also address power and leadership relationships and focus our attention on how groups actually function in the Arab world. Thereafter, we tackle what has emerged out of these societal institutions and relationships, and offer some implications marking out paths for international managers.


work values Arab work ethic Islam 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

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