Cultural Diversity In Mena Countries

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Cultural Diversity in MENA countries

Question: Discuss the diversity of culture within MENA region. Why is culture an important factor in the management of MENA organisations?


MENA is a term that is an acronym for Middle East and North Africa. The term WANA (West-Asia and North Africa) is also used for these regions. MENA covers the vast area from Iran to Morocco. It is also roughly similar to the term Greater Middle East. It is an area that comprises of approximately twenty-two countries in North Africa and Middle East. The proportion of MENA region accounts for six per cent of the entire world's population. It also contains sixty per cent of the global oil reserves and forty-five per cent of the global natural gas reserves. MENA is a significant source of stability for the global economy, as it possesses substantial reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

Overview of MENA

Most of the twelve Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are located within this region. There is no standardized list of the countries that are included in MENA, but the term consists of regions from Iran in southwest Asia to Morocco in northwest Africa and further downwards to Sudan in Africa. The countries that are typically included in MENA are: Djibouti, Bahrain Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, Malta, Libya, Lebanon, Qatar, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Gaza and West Bank, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Also inclusive sometimes are Sudan and Ethiopia.


The Middle East region of the world has certain similarities in practices and societal values and norms. These are a reflection of historical, socio-cultural and religious features. Islam as the dominant religion in the area is a binding force that can be described as the most common feature of the culture of Middle East consortium (Kabasakal & Dastmalchian, 2001 Pp. 41-58). In comparison to other global societies, primary characteristics of the Middle-eastern consortium are societal values that encompass in-group orientation, ambiguity tolerance and limited significance to planning (Kabasakal & Bodur, 2002, p.51). The countries in the MENA area have some similarities in their societal norm; however they also have some distinctions in their demographic, socioeconomic and ethnic values.

Cultural Profile of the MENA region

Geographical closeness of the countries has socio-cultural influence on the countries, as geo-political factors and common historical factors does play a role in the formation of cultures in the regions that have close boundaries. However, the geographical closeness does not mean that the cultures are also likely to be similar. Many cultural factors such as linguistics, ethnicity, and political administrations, may lead to variance among the countries that share common geography, hence creating cultural diversity. This theory is true in the case of the MENA region. Whilst the impact of proximity and common religion abided by the majority does lead to commonalities in many aspects of the society, however there does also exists different categories of cultures if the perspective is closely looked at. For instance, most of the countries in the MENA area have a predominantly Islamic ...