International Marketing Qatar Country Study Term Paper

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This project is expected to greatly enhance the countries' economic interdependence with its neighbors (Owen, 2000).

Currency and its rate with U.S. Dollar. The Qatari Riyal (QR) is the official currency; the QR is divided into 100 dirhams (A Dictionary of Business, 1996).

Major industries. Major industries include crude oil production and refining, ammonia, fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel reinforcing bars, cement, and commercial ship repair (Qatar, 2005).

Communication infrastructure:

Telephone system. Telephones in use: 184,500 (2003 est.); general assessment: modern system centered in Doha. Tropospheric scatter to Bahrain; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and UAE; submarine cable to Bahrain and UAE; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat (State of Qatar, 2005).

Radio broadcast stations. AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (1998) (State of Qatar, 2005).

Television broadcast stations. Qatar has one television broadcast station (plus three repeaters) (2001) (State of Qatar, 2005). Qatari regional satellite news channel Al Jazira, however, has done the most to raise the country's profile in recent years. According to Owen, "Its remarkably unrestricted style of political coverage has reinvigorated political debate across the Arab world, and ruffled many feathers" (p. 4). Saudi Arabia has rattled its political sabers in response in an attempt to censor Al Jazira, and criticism of Tunisia's human rights record drew this colorful abuse from Tunisian (state-dominated) newspapers in May 2000: "Qatar was a quiet and dreaming state until a storm of megalomania hit the son, who then violated the sanctity of his father and usurped his throne, starting an exciting journey of madness... he uses Al Jazira to focus the spotlight on himself... The poisons of the station have targeted Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Algeria, Libya and it is a long list" (cited in Owen, 2000, p. 4).

Internet country

Internet service providers. 221 (2004)

Transportation infrastructure.

Railways. None (State of Qatar, 2005).

Highways. Total: 1,230 km; paved: 1,107 km and unpaved: 123 km (1999 est.) (State of Qatar, 2005)

Waterways. NA.

Airlines, major airports. 4 (2004 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:

over 3,047 meters (2004 est).

Major ports. Doha.

Common business customs/etiquettes with regard to:

Customs when dealing with foreigners. There are some stark differences between business practices and customs in the West and those found in the Middle East; some of the more important considerations in this regard are as follows:

1. Middle Easterners are traditional. They appear to be religious. Islam has a tremendous effect on their lives. They strictly adhere to the rules and orders of Islam.

2. Middle Easterners are family-oriented. Family is the nucleus of Middle Eastern societies. They place special emphasis on family unity and coherence. Mothers in the family enjoy a divine respect.

3. Middle Easterners value friendship. They share all aspects of their lives with friends. In many cases, friends and neighbors are named in their wills.

4. Middle Easterners prefer consultation. Originating from Islam, consulting with others, particularly elders, is a common behavior of Middle Easterners.

5. Like Americans, Middle Easterners are also individualistic. While their form of individualism is different from that of Americans, they are individualistic in the context of their own culture.

6. Middle Easterners are less participative, particularly in decision making. Important decisions are made only by high-level authorities.

7. Middle Easterners are very conservative in risk taking, relying on intuition and instincts rather than data and procedures.

8. Middle Eastern societies and organizations are male-dominated. The level of female participation in management and social affairs is lower than that of most other societies (Baktari, 1995).

Punctuality. Punctuality is valued by both Qatari and Western managers, but the pace of negotiations is frequently slower than what many Westerners are accustomed to (Baktari, 1995).

Giving and receiving gifts. Islamic society is characterized by gift-giving, but these are a matter of religion; however, business people may wish to exchange gifts of modest value if the situation calls for it (Woellert, 1997).

Dealing with women managers. Among the four countries with unusually high indexes of occupational segregation in the Middle East, the countries of Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are characterized by highly unusual economies, with virtually no agricultural sectors and a heavy concentration in the oil industry in which there are virtually no women employed (Giele & Kahne, 1992). A significant factor affecting the participation rate of women in the economy is the country's dominant religion; for example, depending on which interpretation of Islamic Law governs at any given time, girls in Islamic cultures may or may not be afforded the right to an education on an equal basis with boys in their family (this is reflected in the slight discrepancies in the male/female literacy ratios noted above); furthermore, women may or may not have a right to work and earn wages before and after marriage (Dworkin & Schipani, 2003). There are signs that things are changing, but any progress in this area is going to be slow in coming. On the one hand, Qatar remains a leader in political experiments that have not been seen before in the Arab states that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council; on the other hand, Qatar remains a highly traditional and patriarchal society that is overwhelmingly Moslem. In his essay, "Elections in Qatar: a Window of Democracy Opens in the Gulf," Louay Bahry (1999) reports that the nations of the GCC are "known for their oil wealth, religious conservatism and traditional political institutions, which concentrate political power in the hands of the rulers and their families. Thus far, except for Kuwait, there has been little direct participation by their populations in institutional structures. Qatar is changing this situation" (p. 119). Soon after he assumed power, the current emir decided that women should be able to vote, and that they should also be able to run as candidates for seats in the Municipal Council. According to Bahry, "Shortly after the Qatari municipal election on May 16, 1999, Kuwaiti women were given the right to vote and run for parliament, starting with the election of 2003" (p. 120). Despite these signs of progress, Western female managers may be at a distinct disadvantage compared to their male counterparts in terms of their ability to successfully negotiate in this traditional male-dominated, Moslem society; these issues are discussed further below.

Business negotiations. Notwithstanding the traditional patriarchal society in Qatar, the Qatari government and businesses alike are vulnerable to forces coming from the surrounding world which compel them to accommodate Western business practices, including negotiations with females. In fact, female executives from foreign countries are considered a "third sex" by many Middle Easterners (Woellert, 1997).

Business-related superstitions and taboos. There were no specific business-related superstitions or taboos for Qatar identified; however, standard business practices that are used for other Middle Eastern countries are deemed appropriate here (Woellert, 1997)

Personal opinion.

In terms of culture, how compatible is the country with United States? From a cultural perspective, the United States and Qatar are literally and figuratively worlds apart; however, there are some impressive signs coming from Qatar that the nation is leading the way in the region in terms of democratizing its institutions and paving the way for more active participation by women in Qatari society, government and business. For example, there has been a trend for government ministers and other public officials to replace, wherever possible, appointed bodies by elected ones in the councils attached to their ministries. According to Bahry:

The prevailing fever for democracy is so strong that the period has been dubbed 'the democracy festival' (Ayd aldimukratiyyah). The first significant election to demonstrate the new spirit was that of the powerful Board of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce. The elections for that Board took place in April 1998, when some 3,700 Qatari businessmen voted in a secret ballot to elect the 17 members of the Board. Until that date, members had been appointed by the emir, based on a recommendation by the minister of finance and economy. (p. 121).

The ideas of democracy are even flourishing in the schools and institutions of higher education. In December 1998, the deputy assistant minister of education and higher education, a woman, issued a statement announcing that "in accordance with the orientation of His Highness, the Emir bin Khalifa Al-Thani," she would apply the democratic process in all aspects and at all levels of her ministry. She is beginning with elected student bodies, in the form of student unions, in all schools, to enable students to begin practicing democracy at their level. Until now, few people in Qatar dreamed of involving students in any kind of representative bodies for fear that such activities could thrust young people into politics (Bahry, 1999).

Although these trends point towards a more inclusive society, it should be pointed out that the Qatari government is not seeking to create a Western-style parliament with unlimited legislative…[continue]

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