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Bahrain means "two seas", referring to the natural springs that rise beneath the sea
and create the special luster of Bahraini pearls (It was once the global pearling
capital.) The island is the ancient site of Dilmun, the religious center of the
Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians.

Bahrain was one of the first countries in the Gulf to discover oil and build a refinery,
thus it became wealthy before most of its neighbors. Lacking substantial reserves
or production levels, Bahrain diversified its economy by creating manufacturing
bases and industrial zones. It is a banking, financial services and publishing center
in the Middle East.

The country is plagued by discontent from the Shi'ite majority who oppose being
ruled by the Sunni minority.

Culture Overview

Cultural Essentials

Bahrain has a hierarchical culture. This stems
from Islam (which stands for submission to
Allah’s will), the importance of the family, and
the power exerted by the Royal Family. Islam
dictates that believers must show respect to
people older than themselves. They are also
expected to respect the authority of the person
in charge.

In the workplace, leaders tend to be directive
and authoritarian. Decision making in locally-owned companies is top-down
and the highest-ranking person makes the decisions, although this person
may seek a consensus of trusted advisors and family members. In most
cases, the decision maker is the owner or eldest family member, since
many companies are family owned.

Given their reliance on hierarchy, Bahrainis generally adopt a formal style.
Since they use first names when conversing, they also use education,
military, government or honorific titles with the first name to show
appropriate respect and deference. It is important to use someone’s full 8.2.2017.

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name including title when you first meet them. The most senior person
should always be greeted first.

Despite the heat, business attire is formal. Foreign men are expected to
wear a suit and tie to meetings. In the office they can dispense with the
jacket, although they should keep it handy to show proper respect at
meetings. Businesswomen should dress modestly, keeping their arms and
legs covered at all times and wearing closed-toed shoes. If a woman wears
a sleeveless blouse, she should carry a wrap or sweater to put over her
shoulders if meeting with someone who is very religious.

Group Focus / Relationships
Bahrainis identify themselves as members of a group, be it their family,
school, work group, or country. They strive to maintain their dignity, honor,
and reputation since the entire family would share in any loss of honor. To
maintain group harmony, they act with decorum and avoid actions that
might cause someone public embarrassment. They are willing to subjugate
their own feelings for the good of the group and treat others with respect
and dignity regardless of their personal feelings.

Given this reliance on the group and maintaining harmonious relationships,
business is conducted through trusted networks of extended family and
personal friends. Therefore, it is important that foreigners invest time in
developing a strong professional bond before attempting to conduct
business. Although senior Bahrainis strive to be accessible to foreign
business visitors, it is a good idea to arrive with a formal letter of
introduction from someone known to the person with whom you are
meeting. Such a letter imbues the foreigner with the same level of trust as
the host has with the person who wrote the letter.

Since the family or tribe is the underlying basis of the social structure,
many companies are family owned and employ members of the extended
family. This is a culture where nepotism is seen as a strategic business
move since it ensures that the leader is surrounded by people he can trust.

Indirect Communication
Communication is indirect and relies on non-verbal cues, context, and
figurative forms of speech. Bahrainis are careful to respect a person’s
honor when speaking to them. They do not give an overt negative
response, since doing so would be impolite. Very evasive language
generally indicates a negative response.

Context is extremely important. Bahrainis expect listeners to know what is
on the speaker’s mind so that he does not have to be specific. Therefore,
they commonly talk around the point and may pepper their speech with
metaphors, stories, and analogies. People from more direct cultures may
need to moderate their speaking style so that they are not considered rude.
They should also listen carefully to what is said and observe the non-verbal
language of the speaker. Taken together, non-verbal and verbal
communication provides the entire context.

Bahrainis expect a fair amount of small talk and getting-to-know-you
conversation before discussing business, although not to the extent of 8.2.2017.

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many other Middle Eastern countries. They can be offended if foreigners
state their position stridently or make their demands in an unyielding
manner. Everything is negotiable in this culture, and it is important to
recognize and appreciate that.

Impact of Generations
As in much of the Middle East, different generations have different
expectations about work as well as different experiences. Given the
technological advances in their lifetime, Generations X and Y have a more
global perspective than their parents. They also have many similar
characteristics to people from their generation in other countries. This does
not mean that they have given up their traditional values; however, they
may rely on them less, especially in business situations.

Generation X Generation Y

Born 1965 - 1980 Born 1981 - 2000
Work-life balance Work-life integration
Individual achievement Rapid advancement
Goal oriented Achievement oriented
Adaptable Independent
Good time managers Creative
Multi-taskers Collaborative and cooperative


The Constitution states that Islam is the official
religion while also providing for freedom of religion.
Islam is more than the national religion, though, it
prescribes a way of life and governs political, legal,
and social behavior. Islam organizes an orderly
system for both society and the individual. Following
the Islamic faith means submitting to Allah’s will.

The rules of Islam can be found in their holy book, the
Koran (Qur'an), which is believed to have been
revealed by Allah to his Prophet Mohammed. The
Koran (Qur'an) is considered the direct word of God
and is, therefore, believed to be infallible. Practicing
Muslims must pray five times a day–-at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and
evening. The exact time is listed in the local newspaper each day or can be 8.2.2017.

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found at this website ( Friday is the Muslim
holy day when everything is closed. Many companies also close on
Thursday, making the weekend Thursday and Friday.

Ramadan (Ramadhan)
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk
and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting includes not
eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing. Each night at sunset,
families and friends gather together to celebrate the breaking of the fast.
The festivities often continue well into the night. In general, things happen
more slowly during Ramadan. Most businesses operate on a reduced
schedule. Shops may be open and closed at unusual times.

Foreigners who are not Muslim are not required to fast; however, it is
recommended that they not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in public.

Role of Women

Women are more publicly active in Bahrain than in most Arab countries.
Although great strides have been made, there remain parts of a woman’s
daily life that are bound by rules steeped in the traditions of the past. For
the most part, Bahraini women are not completely veiled, although some
wear a head covering in public. Women’s lives are centered within the
family circle. A woman's primary role is to support her husband and care
for her children, although this does not preclude her from having a career.
Bahraini women retain sole control over their money and inheritance after

Bahraini women are highly educated and are represented in major
professions, as well as various women's societies and organizations. About
one-quarter of Bahraini women hold jobs outside the home. Women have
the right to vote, and the wife of the current ruler is making great strides to
increase the role of women in the country.

Bahraini women first held national office in 2000, when King Hamad
appointed four women to the Consultative Council. In February 2002, the
Constitution was amended to give women right to vote and to stand for
election to parliament. There are currently 15 female members of the
National Assembly.

The government offers a number of programs to motivate Bahraini women
to participate in the economy. They provide loans to micro projects, 81% of
which are granted to females.

Despite their broad participation (about 40%) in the workforce, women face
gender discrimination, both blatant and more subtle. Female students often
specialize in teaching or nursing. In more technical careers, women are
often paid less than men doing comparable jobs. 8.2.2017.

as is carrying photographs of children.aspx. she may be treated with disrespect. of the attention. Family is important to Bahrainis and they like doing business with people who have strong family ties. Do not attempt to move to a distance that is more comfortable as it may make your business colleague uncomfortable. Pakistan. . At the same time. To be taken seriously. 8.2. it is generally a good idea to adjust your style to be more compatible with the local culture. not form- fitting trouser suit can enhance a businesswoman’s credibility since it makes her appear more similar to a businessman. Although most Bahrainis are tolerant of cultural differences. Bahraini women do not smile or make direct eye contact with men other than their husband or male relatives. Although most businessmen are somewhat cosmopolitan and understand that a Western woman may make eye contact and smile in an attempt to show sincerity. A businesswoman should extend her hand to the Bahraini businessman during the greeting process. Businessmen widen the gap considerably when speaking to a woman. especially with laborers from the Indian sub-continent. many Bahrainis are conservative. Bahrainis stand extremely close when speaking to someone of the same sex. even if you are not married. women should avoid wearing frilly clothing or open-toed shoes. He will generally tell a woman if he is not comfortable with such a greeting and will generally not be offended by her gesture. but not all. is a good idea. If this occurs.. their cultural customs and norms should be respected. Tips for Businesswomen It is important that a businesswoman conform to the local standards and dress conservatively and professionally. the businesswoman should nod her head slightly and lower her eyes to demonstrate respect towards the Bahraini. In general. Wearing a wedding ring. They may also attract attention from Bahrainis and Saudis in the country if they are out alone. many Bahraini http://kpmg. Despite their apparent sophistication. carry photographs of your nieces and nephews or other children. Wearing conservative clothing and dark sunglasses in public may reduce some.PrintView Page 5 of 47 View of Foreign Women Foreign women can work and drive. Bahrainis will treat a woman with respect if she is knowledgeable in her field since expertise is respected and admired.. a businesswoman will be more successful as a subject matter expert.culturewizard. If a foreign woman goes to a club on her own. some Bahraini businessmen may have difficulty seeing a businesswoman as the final authority. Wearing a dark-colored. Although direct eye contact demonstrates sincerity. If you do not have children. It is crucial that a businesswoman find a balance between not making eye contact and making too much eye contact with Bahraini businessmen. Some religious Muslims do not shake hands with women. The attention can be excessive. and other Arab

they are impressed when businesspeople take the time to learn key phrases in Arabic.culturewizard. Quite often the initial introduction will be made without the businesswoman in attendance so that the person can speak eloquently about her expertise. it is essential to remain polite.PrintView Page 6 of 47 businessmen are uncomfortable making direct eye contact with a businesswoman. 8. Either a colleague of yours or your Bahraini contacts will enable you to continue your business mission. Since Bahrainis value education. Should this occur. it is a good idea for her to modify her speech pattern.2. . Titles are important since they tell Bahrainis where the other person fits in the hierarchy and relative to themselves.. Although it is not necessary to speak in the same fashion. The status of the person who makes the introduction lays the foundation for the way a businesswoman is perceived. Bahrainis speak with emotion and are prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.. Arabic is a language of hyperbole. While this phenomenon is unusual in today’s environment. In any event. it is a good idea to include more adverbs and adjectives in your speech. A businesswoman may come in contact with businessmen who do not wish to conduct business with a woman. since it denotes authority and status. it is a good idea to forward a brief bio including her academic background. If nothing else. It is best to have title of director or above. she should strive to be introduced by the oldest. If a businesswoman is meeting with a company for the first time. Unless a businesswoman’s role has been clearly defined before her arrival. learn how to greet a businessperson in Arabic. a businesswoman may mention her academic qualifications if she has attended a prestigious university. Bahraini men will automatically defer to the men on the team. education.aspx. and accomplishments without causing her embarrassment. At the same time. Establishing Credibility To establish a businesswoman’s credentials and avoid any misconception about her role. and professional accomplishments. highest-ranking male who knows the people with whom she will be meeting. it may occur and there is little you can do about it. If the businesswoman is not the team leader. credentials. Bahrainis are generally at ease conversing in English. If a businesswoman comes from a culture that prizes being direct and concise. arranging with the team to have certain questions deferred to her will enhance her credibility. title.2017. do not lose your temper since it will accomplish nothing and will also make alternative resolutions more difficult.

2017. you will be expected to demonstrate an authoritative leadership style.. • Be aware that people expect to be treated differently based on their socio-economic backgrounds or levels in the organization.aspx. http://kpmg. and decisions.2. Cross Culture Tips The following cultural observations are based on the dimensions in the foreigners from all over the world live and work in Bahrain. we had to make generalizations. In addition. which may not apply in some cases. a number of multinational companies have established regional offices in Bahrain and it has strong trading relations with the international community. Due to its strategic location. but in order to describe cultural traits. Please keep in mind that not all people from any given culture act the same. you should remember the following tips: • You will need to give clear.culturewizard. • Do not expect employees to display individual initiative. By establishing the island as a regional trading center. • As a manager. Foreigners who demonstrate respect for the local culture generally do not have any problems.. Hierarchical vs. Egalitarian The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • How society is structured • How power is allocated or earned • Tolerance for social mobility • How organizations are structured and run • The amount of responsibility and control employees are given Bahrain is hierarchical. Bahrainis are generally comfortable with foreigners. Cultural Model. you need to approach every situation with an understanding of the basic tenets of a given culture and yet remain alert to the specific cultural signals you receive in each situation and adjust your behavior and expectations accordingly. to the extent that they have out-numbered the locals since 2011. Perhaps the most important tip we can provide is that when interacting across cultures. . 8. deadlines. they expect to take direction from the leader. so when interacting with people from Bahrain. explicit directions regarding duties.PrintView Page 7 of 47 View of Foreigners Large multi-cultural communities have lived in Bahrain for generations. They are designed to help you work and understand people from other cultural backgrounds.

Tending to relationships may be more important. people generally know that foreigners value promptness and they may strive to comply.PrintView Page 8 of 47 • Show the appropriate level of deference and respect.aspx. Formal vs. Do not move to first-name basis until invited. • Do not ask personal questions in a social setting unless you have developed a close relationship with someone. • In general. • Status is important and you may be judged on the image you building relationships and entertaining Bahrain is a formal society. Informal The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The importance of appearance and demeanor as an indicator of status • The importance of protocol and etiquette • The appropriate use of titles. This may be less pronounced when meeting with government officials. to the more senior members of society. • Check with a colleague or local national about rules of protocol and etiquette about specific circumstances since being correct with etiquette is important. .culturewizard. longer term planning • The feasibility / appropriateness of assigning set times for social functions or business meetings to start and finish Bahrain is a Fluid Time culture.2. the clothes you wear and where you live and what car you drive.2017. surnames and honorifics • The appropriateness of discussing personal matters at work • Appropriate ways of meeting people. • Given their exposure to global business standards. • Expect to encounter more bureaucracy in organizations and government agencies. through language and behavior. schedules • Attitudes towards timekeeping and punctuality • Comfort level with short range vs. When you interact with people from Bahrain: • Address people by their appropriate title and name. The following tips will give you clues about how you may best interact with people from Bahrain around time issues: • Time schedules and deadlines are not necessarily considered final. 8. These external cues matter to locals... it is best to use the formal tense when using the local language. http://kpmg. Fluid vs. Controlled The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The degree to which people feel that they can control time • The relative importance of relationships vs. Check to be certain it is proper to use social functions to network.

Individual The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The source of an individual's identity and loyalties • The relative importance of the individual versus the group • Whether legal systems will protect the rights of the individual or focus on the group as a whole • Whether individuals prefer to work alone or be part of a group • Whether work teams operate as a seamless entity or as cooperating individuals • The value of individual contributions vs. Group vs. Internal The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The degree to which people feel they control their environment and destiny-or the degree to which they feel their environment and destiny control them • Openness to change and innovation • The preference for rules and structure • Willingness to take risks • The degree to which organizational practices encourage and reward initiative and risk taking.PrintView Page 9 of 47 • There is generally a large window of accepted lateness for social events in someone’s house. teamwork in accomplishing and rewarding business goals • The roles and responsibilities of individuals to other family members • The appropriate levels of self-assertion and self-promotion within a society Bahrain is group-oriented culture.aspx. • Don't expect changes to be readily embraced and be prepared for considerable resistance even after you’ve been able to demonstrate the value of a proposed change.culturewizard.2017. and allow failure Bahrain is an External Control society. • When introducing initiatives.2.. External vs. 8. Management is often paternalistic and care-taking towards employees. and brevity to maintain time schedules is not considered a virtue. be prepared for considerable discussion and debate and other actions that demonstrate resistance. • People in this society look for strong. . directive leadership. The following will help you when you interact with people from Bahrain: http://kpmg. • While employees and colleagues in Bahrain may show a great deal of competence. don’t be surprised if they don’t show much initiative. • It may be rude to interrupt a colleague who is taking a long time to deliver a you should remember the following tips: • People in these societies are typically quite risk averse and the society is not readily forgiving of failure. When interacting with people from Bahrain.

• Promotions will draw heavily on seniority. entertaining at one’s home or even inviting someone for the weekend and while these may be seen as casual in your culture. When you have business or social interactions with people from Bahrain. They may be uncomfortable if the focus is placed too much on them. employees are rewarded in groups. or professional and personal lives Bahrain is an interpersonal. This is how locals learn more about you as a person so that they can be learn if the type of person with whom they want a relationship. then as an individual. even when credit is primarily due to one person. • Remember that individuals do not take sole credit for accomplishments. personal relationships. • Decision making may be a slow process. • In general. In return. and experience. Interpersonal vs. Transactional The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • What constitutes a relationship • What are the expectations • Whether trust is deemed critical to building social or business relationships • What takes precedence in making a business decision: the people involved or other more objective business criteria • The pace and degree of formalized rituals in building new relationships • The appropriateness of mixing business and pleasure. 8. . relationship building takes time and attention. you will want to remember these points: • Relationship building is important and tends to be somewhat formal and ritualized. once consensus is reached. • In a business situation. implementation may be quite rapid..PrintView Page 10 of 47 • People value their role as a team member and identify themselves first as part of a group. http://kpmg. relationships are long lived. which may include going out after work to socialize..culturewizard. However. • There are expectations that people have of relationship-based behavior. • Employing or giving favorable treatment to family members and friends may be good business. as many individuals across the organization will need to be consulted. • Expect to be asked personal questions. trust and familiarity will likely take precedence over price and perhaps even efficiency. they carry an underlying assumption of friendship.aspx. once developed. not necessarily performance and achievement. relationship-oriented culture. and what may be considered to be "nepotism" in your culture may be openly accepted. • Be prepared for people to be reluctant to speak out before having an opportunity to consult with their group.2. relationships.

aspx. you should remember the following tips: • Individuals value their personal and family time. • People are reluctant to permanently relocate and leave family and friends. 8. When interacting with people from Bahrain. http://kpmg. • Show you are considering the subject thoroughly when a topic is presented.culturewizard. • Employees see a clear distinction between work time and personal time and rarely blur those lines. Balance vs. background information.2017.2. • Eloquence in verbal communication and meticulous preparation of written or visual communication forms are highly valued. • Personal identity.. • Family obligations will take precedence over professional loyalties or advancement. . status and sense of personal accomplishment are derived from family. and dialog are important to assure understanding. even deferential demeanor. Indirect The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The relative importance of verbal vs.. non-verbal communication • The degree of directness or subtlety in the language • The relative importance of contextual versus tactical information in conveying a message • The need to maintain harmony and dignity when communicating • The degree to which a society uses conciseness and clarity versus eloquent language when communicating Bahrain is an indirect communication culture.PrintView Page 11 of 47 Direct vs. education and pursuits outside of the workplace. Status The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The importance and value attached to professional vs. The following tips will give you clues about how you might handle communication with people from Bahrain: • Non-verbal gestures are important to enhance the meaning and acceptance of the words being spoken. • Adding some context. personal lives • How status and success are defined by a society • The presence or absence of government-sponsored initiatives relating to family welfare benefits • The source of an individual's identity and self-esteem • Tolerance for blurring the lines between professional and personal lives Bahrain is a Balance-Motivation culture. • Take care when making introductions to have a

3%. unaffiliated 1.5%. The Emir is the head of state of the constitutional monarchy.) Ethnic groups: Bahraini 46%.5%.) Religions: Muslim 70. according to UN data (2015) Population growth rate: 2. English.7%. .) Languages: Arabic (official). Urdu Source: The World Factbook Cities & Regions http://kpmg.9%. and Oceanians) (2010 est. African 1.culturewizard.378.6%. The 40-member People’s Council ("Majlis as-Shura") was elected for the first time in October 2002. Asian 45. folk religion <. of course. He governs with the support of an appointed Cabinet of Ministers.. European 1%.904 (July 2016 est. There are..aspx.1.49% (2014 North and South Americans. Nationality: Noun: Bahraini(s) Adjective: Bahraini Population: 1.) Note: immigrants make up almost 50% of the total population. Jewish 0.2017. Buddhist 2. Christian 14. other 0. Hindu 9. other 1.PrintView Page 12 of 47 Country Overview The People Bahrain is one of the few Gulf countries where nationals represent the majority of the population. other Arabs 4.2% (includes Gulf Co-operative country nationals.2% (2010 est.8%. the usual mix of eastern and western expatriates that are found in the other Gulf countries. Many Bahrainis are of Persian rather than Arab descent. The population is young. 8. with over half the population under the age of 25. Farsi.2.6%.

customary law Source: The World Factbook More Government Information Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members in Bahrain https://www.cia. close to the eastern shore of Saudi Arabia and the western coast of Qatar. 8. Another causeway links Bahrain with Al The city is constantly evolving as the country diversifies its economy and adds buildings to the infrastructure.aspx. while the infrastructure affords every modern day convenience. the second largest island.. the main island. . All the islands in the archipelago are low-lying. is connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway..culturewizard. Plans are underway to add a causeway to Qatar.PrintView Page 13 of 47 Bahrain is a group of 33 islands in the Arabian Gulf. http://kpmg. English common law. Bahrain. and commercial codes. with the highest point being 400 feet (122 meters). Government Country name: • Conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain • Conventional short form: Bahrain • Local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn • Local short form: Al Bahrayn • Former: Dilmun.2. criminal. Egyptian civil. The dusty and winding streets of the souk (marketplace) allow the visitor to step back in time.2017. Manama offers skyscrapers juxtaposed against minarets and Arabian An online directory of leaders updated weekly by the Central Intelligence Agency. Most of the islands are naturally barren. State of Bahrain Government type: Constitutional monarchy Capital: Manama Independence: 15 August 1971 (from the UK) Legal system: Mixed legal system of Islamic law.

Bahrain implemented a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US in August 2006. despite past efforts to diversify its economy and to build communication and transport facilities for multinational firms with business in the Gulf.. Economy Currency: Bahraini dinar (BHD) Economy .2% (2015) Source: The World Factbook http://kpmg.state. 13% of GDP. Links to Government Web Sites UAE 2. Islamic and offshore banking. however. As part of its diversification plans. stemming in part from a sovereign debt rating averaging just above “junk” status. 8. Other major economic activities are production of aluminum . Bahrain continues to seek new natural gas supplies as feedstock to support its expanding petrochemical and aluminum industries.2. iron pelletization.. the economy recovered in 2012-15.4%. partly as a result of improved and A comprehensive directory of Bahraini government Web sites. fertilizers. insurance. finance.overview: Low oil prices have generated a budget deficit of at least a $4 billion deficit in 2015.Bahrain's second biggest export after oil An overview of government and political conditions published by the U.culturewizard. the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state. Oil comprises 86% of Bahraini budget revenues. . In 2011 Bahrain experienced economic setbacks as a result of domestic unrest driven by the majority Shia population. aluminum smelting. Department of Saudi Arabia 3.6%.2017. Bahrain has few options for covering this deficit.PrintView Page 14 of 47 Background Note: Bahrain http://www. US 2. tourism Exports .gksoft. with meager foreign assets and a constrained borrowing ability. Industries: Petroleum processing and refining. ship repairing. In addition to addressing its current fiscal woes. Bahraini authorities face the long-term challenge of boosting Bahrain’s regional competitiveness—especially regarding industry. and tourism—and reconciling revenue constraints with popular pressure to maintain generous state subsidies and a large public sector.

periods of issues: Desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land. strategic location in Persian Close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources.PrintView Page 15 of 47 More Economic Information Ministry of Finance & National Economy http://www. east of Saudi Arabia Area: Total: 760 sq km Land: 760 sq km Water: 0 sq km Land boundaries: 0 km Coastline: 161 km Climate: Information provided by the National Economic and Finance of Ministry Bahrain.. coastal degradation (damage to coastlines. mild. through which much of the Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean http://kpmg. and distribution stations. very hot.2017. oil refineries. coral reefs.aspx.mofne. dust storms Environment . 8. . lack of freshwater resources (groundwater and seawater are the only sources for all water needs) Geography . archipelago in the Persian Gulf. humid summers Terrain: Mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment Elevation extremes: Lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m Highest point: Jabal ad Dukhan 122 m Natural hazards: Periodic droughts.2.. pleasant winters. and dust storms. and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers. Geography & Climate Location: Middle East.

Bahrain http://kpmg. The Portuguese arrived at about the same time. The strategic location of the islands along the trade routes linking Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley caused its early rise to power. . • Bahrain remained a UK protectorate until 1968. came to the islands from Kuwait in the mid 18th century. Dilmun. • The years between 300 BC and 300 AD were prosperous. In 640. He established a colony on the island of Falaika. The Sassanian Persians annexed the area in the 4th century. • From the 9th to 11th centuries.PrintView Page 16 of 47 Source: The World Factbook History Overview • The islands of Bahrain were the center of the great trading empires of the ancient world in 3000 BC. • The al-Khalifas. It was the first such discovery on the Arab side of the Gulf and coincided with the collapse of the pearl market as the Japanese had begun to manufacture cultured pearls. The area was strongly influenced and often directly ruled by various Persian civilizations.. founded during the Bronze Age. then in the early 1780s they drove the Persians from Bahrain and occupied the principal islands.culturewizard. which ended when the Indus Valley civilization fell.000 years. • Bahrain was one of the first territories outside of Saudi Arabia to accept Islam. • The Omanis conquered Bahrain in 1487 and built a fort there. the Bahrainis appealed to the Persians for protection. The area was famous for its pearls. off the coast of Kuwait in the late 4th century BC and explored the gulf region as far south as Bahrain. lasted for over 2.2017. the staunchly Shiite Muslim community (Persian influence) was well-governed and prosperous. After driving the Portuguese out in 1602. During this period. a general in Alexander the Great’s army.aspx. Christians and Muslims lived together peacefully in the small island nation.2. • There is no information as to what happened between Dlimun’s absorption by Babylon and the arrival of Nearchus. the ruling family. 8. For two • Commercial quantities of oil were discovered in June 1932. It was an important port on the trade routes between Iraq and India. when the two countries mutually agreed to cancel the agreement in 1971. Bahrain was often caught in the middle of disputes between Gulf sheikhs. The Greeks had renamed the island Tylos. the Prophet Mohammed sent a letter to the ruler of Bahrain inviting him to adopt Islam and he did so. At first they settled in the northwestern coast of Qatar.

Bahrain remains pro-western and is a member of the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC). • Activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was jailed for life in June 2011 for plotting against the government. • The Shi’a majority won 40% of the vote in the November 2006 general election.culturewizard. after a referendum on political reforms the previous year.. women were permitted to vote and run for office. the government admitted to excessive force. • Parliament was dissolved in 1975. who became the Emir and Prime Minister of the newly formed state. • Both UK and USA military forces have been allowed the use of Bahraini ports and airfields. • The government banned all gatherings in 2012. • In April 2011. the government banned two Shi’a political parties. There was a small degree of political unrest in the country at the end of 1994. the USA signed a free trade agreement with Bahrain despite warnings from Saudi Arabia that the deal would make regional economic integration more difficult. • In Bahrain became a constitutional monarchy. In November. • In 2004.2017. anti-government protests continued nonetheless. In a new package of laws. and martial law was declared.2. Country Information Embassies http://kpmg. 20 Shi’ite leaders were arrested in September 2010 on reports that they plotted to overthrow the monarchy and promoted violent protests.aspx. sparked by protests in Egypt and Tunisia. 8. ascended to the throne in a smooth succession. Sheikh Isa died in March 1999 and his son. • A month before elections. Continued violence is expected. Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. The September elections to replace MPs from the Shi’a opposition who quit over continued violence were plagued by low turnout. . Elections were held for the first time in 30 years. pro-democracy Shi'a activists rioted against their Sunni minority government.PrintView Page 17 of 47 achieved total independence under Sheikh Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa. Saudi troops were called in. • The government has not found a solution that pleases both sides in the divisiveness between the Shi'a majority and the Sunni rulers.. • In 2002. which proved vital in the two wars with Iraq and the 2002 war with Afghanistan. The situation was contained and stability returned. Jawad bin Salem al-Oraied was named as a deputy prime minister.

aspx. while women use the connector "bint" and their father's name. . When Bahrainis greet each other. Smiling and direct eye contact are crucial.PrintView Page 18 of 47 History Public Holidays Tourist Information Social Etiquette Meeting People Greetings are important and should not be rushed. Naming Conventions Bahraini names detail a person’s lineage. Men shake hands.2. When leaving.culturewizard. although the farewell need not be prolonged. There are often three names: • The first is the personal name and is the name most commonly used. they take time and converse about general things. Take time to speak with each person before moving on to the next. 8. http://kpmg. Mohammed ibn Khalid and Salama bint Khalid are the son and daughter of Khalid ibn Ganen.2017. If a woman does not extend her hand. starting with the eldest. Good male friends may greet each other with a handshake and a kiss on each cheek. men typically have the connector "ibn" or "bin" and their father's name. the host will generally introduce you to each of the guests individually... It is important to demonstrate a sense of enthusiasm and general pleasure at meeting you or seeing someone A woman should extend her hand in greeting to a Bahraini man. a man should nod his head in greeting. Some Bahraini women do not shake hands with men. At a social gathering. Women generally hug and kiss close friends. you should say goodbye to each person individually. • For their second name.

• Gifts are not opened when received. sister. box of imported chocolates. bring a houseplant. • Do not give alcohol unless you know that doing so will not cause offense.2. sweets are the most popular gift. it is important to call him by both names. . • Local flower shops and chocolate shops offer appropriate gift wrapping if you advise them the occasion. he should say that it is from his wife. you may not meet the hostess or other female family members. or some other female relation. • Gifts are given with two hands.2017. He should not indicate that the gift is from him. Mohammed and Salama would be Mohammed ibn Khalid al-family name and Salama bint Khalid al- family name respectively. Example: From the example above. • If a man must give a gift to a woman. The emphasis is placed on the thought behind the gift rather than the cost of the gift. although a woman could give them to her hostess. or a small gift from your home country. Here are some general gift giving guidelines (but also check to be sure they are permitted under company policy): • If you are invited to a Bahraini’s home. Ramadan.PrintView Page 19 of 47 • This is often followed by a name that denotes their family lineage. • Children are sometimes named after their grandfathers. • It is a good idea to say that the gift is for your host rather than the hostess. mother. Haj. http://kpmg. gifts of food and fruit are appreciated. • During Haj (the pilgrimage to Mecca).culturewizard. gifts are generally given to children. 8. If the family is religious. Eid. to keep the spirit of their ancestors alive.aspx.. Great honor is bestowed on the person who gives a gift of particular meaning to the recipient. and other celebratory occasions. • Flowers do not make good gifts from a man. Example: Ali might name his eldest son Hassan (after Ali's father). • At Eid. If you meet someone called Abdul Rahman. • At Ramadan. • A small gift for the children will be appreciated. • The first name Abdul means "slave of" and is used with one of Allah's 99 Such names start with the prefix "al-".. Gift Giving Extended family and very close friends may exchange gifts for birthdays.

clubs. while others follow more western approaches to dining.2017. http://kpmg.PrintView Page 20 of 47 Entertaining How Bahrainis Entertain Bahrainis enjoy entertaining friends and family in their homes. • Try a bit of everything that is served. If you are invited to a Bahraini's house: • Check to see if the host is wearing shoes. remove yours at the door. • Show respect to elders by greeting them first.aspx.culturewizard.2. wait for a Bahraini to initiate the topic. • Meals are generally served family-style. in clothes you might wear to the office. If not. • If the meal is served from a large plate in the center of the table. this invitation may not necessarily include your spouse. It is important to show enthusiasm when you accept. Many people keep their left hand behind them while eating. 8. • Dress conservatively. watch what others are doing and emulate their behavior. The evening often ends quite quickly after the meal. the stricter the protocol. there may be a great deal of socializing and small talk before the meal is served. so check in advance. • Although business is often discussed in social situations. it is important to express sadness at having another commitment. • Eat only with the right hand. • If you are invited for a meal. Some families follow the traditional-style of serving meals on the floor without eating utensils. although they will also socialize in restaurants. Friends may be invited to a Bahraini’s home. Invitations may be given in writing about one week before the occasion or may be extended on the spur-of-the-moment. Entertainment is often same-sex only. Do not let your feet touch the food mat. Table Manners Bahrainis are relatively formal. The more formal the occasion. When in doubt. . • Try to arrive close to the stipulated time. • Send a handwritten thank you note the following day. • Honored guests are often offered the most prized pieces by the host. sit cross-legged or kneel on one knee.. To turn down hospitality may be considered a rejection of the person. • Accept offers of coffee or tea. Punctuality is appreciated. eat from the portion of the plate directly in front of you. • If the meal is on the floor. Dressing well honors the host.. If you must decline. and international hotels. • It is considered good manners to reciprocate any hospitality you receive.

. most of that is tax paid to the government. although most hotel coffee shops and even some restaurants remain open to serve http://kpmg. tipping helps offset the low wages paid to the waitstaff. • Restaurants: Up to 15% • Porters: 500 fils per bag • Taxis: 10% if the driver used the meter Approach to Time Bahrainis view time as something that is fluid and adjusts to changing circumstances. the Bahraini will take the call and not rush it. During Ramadan. invite the host to a meal and make payment arrangements in advance.. Bahraini hospitality dictates the inviter pay for the guests.. In more casual dining establishments. restaurants and cafés are closed until sunset. however. 8. Tipping The following tipping hints are guidelines.aspx. The person extending the invitation generally pays.2017.PrintView Page 21 of 47 • There is often more food than you can eat. how business time is handled by Bahrainis is often a matter of personal preference and company practice. It is common to tip up to 15% depending upon the quality of service. • Leaving some food on your plate when you have finished eating shows that your host has provided ample hospitality.culturewizard. you may round up the bill to the nearest Dinar. Dining Out Most restaurants include a service charge. Personal relationships are so important that they take precedence over strict adherence to time. You will be urged to take more food even if you say you are full. however. In business. The expression "insh’allah" literally means "If Allah wills it". foreigners are expected to arrive at meetings on time. If you want to reciprocate. since that would be rude. In casual restaurants. although expect a fair amount of haggling over the check.2. You can find more explicit information on restaurant tipping in the Dining Out section above. and is the explanation for much behavior. If a friend or family member telephones as a meeting is to start.

Bahrainis do not require a great deal of personal space when conversing. men and women do not maintain direct eye contact. drink.2017. When speaking across gender lines. Although it is fine to admire artifacts. When visiting outlying areas. but not in large stores. or boutiques. When conversing to someone of the opposite sex. It is important to be respectful of Bahrainis during Ramadan. so it is important that visitors dress conservatively so as not to cause offense.2. however. Bahrainis living in Manama or working for international companies may appear more outwardly westernized than those living in villages. . Nonetheless. specific questions should be asked about sons. Bahrainis are first and foremost Muslims. it is best not to inquire about someone’s wife.aspx. Avoid controversial topics or anything that might indicate negative sentiments toward Islam or the Middle East. Unless you know the family well. you may give offense or the person may step forward to close the gap. some topics are sensitive. http://kpmg. Direct eye contact and smiling are important when speaking to someone of the same sex.. Other Situations In Many Bahrainis are uncomfortable if you praise the good looks of their children as they believe it will bring bad luck. the population may be more fundamental.. Bargain in the souk. Do not eat. not daughters. Indirect eye contact is also important when speaking to someone who is older or has a more senior status. the spatial distance is increased. While it is polite to ask about someone’s children. sports. and jewelry stores. smaller shops. Bargaining is very much a way of life. and what you have seen and enjoyed in Bahrain. supermarkets. do not lavishly praise anything belonging to a Bahraini or they may give it to you to demonstrate their hospitality and generosity. 8.PrintView Page 22 of 47 Conversation Topics Bahrainis are extremely hospitable and enjoy conversing on a variety of topics. since it demonstrates respect. It is better to comment on the overall decor of a room rather than a specific object.culturewizard. or smoke in front of them during the day. Safe topics include travel. food. If you back away.

they expect listeners to know what is on the speaker’s mind so that he does not have to be specific. although not to the extent of many other Middle Eastern • Accept offers of hospitality such as a cup of coffee. • Avoid using your left hand in public. Language is often flowery and rich with hyperbole as a means of demonstrating respect. and analogies.2. it should be done so with brevity. People who come from more direct cultures where context is not as highly valued may want to moderate their speaking style so that they are not considered rude. When a business case is presented. non- verbal and verbal communication provides the entire context. coming quickly to the point with confidence.PrintView Page 23 of 47 Faux Pas Keep in mind the following behavior while in Bahrain: • Do not point your finger at a person.2017.culturewizard.. They should also listen carefully to what is said and observe the non-verbal language of the speaker. • Avoid public displays of affection with members of the opposite sex. • Do not use the "thumbs up" signal. Context is extremely important in communication with Bahrainis. there may be a tendency to promise more than can be delivered in order to maintain harmony. As such. • Do not step on a prayer mat when someone is praying. This is a culture where the speaker’s self-assuredness is used as a gauge of their belief in themselves and what they are saying.aspx. Taken together. That is a sign of denigration of the Prophet Mohammed. Therefore. http://kpmg. this action is reserved for animals. Communication Communication Essentials Bahrainis expect a fair amount of small talk and getting-to- know-you conversation before discussing business. • Do not show the soles of your feet at a person. It is important Bahrainis to maintain their honor at all times. At times. stories. This means that criticism must be given in private and couched with a great deal of praise and many compliments. • Do not point the soles of your feet or shoes at anyone.. . • Do not make a fist with one hand and bang the flat of your hand on top of it. they commonly talk around the point and frequently pepper their speech with metaphors. 8.

culturewizard. To be on the safe side you may want to meet with the translator prior to your appointments so that the person learns your accent and can be exposed to any technical or non-familiar terms that may be A video featuring the top 100 useful phrases in Arabic. http://kpmg. The Arabic alphabet. 8. spoken phrases.2. Language Related Videos http://www. they will increase the space considerably when speaking to someone of the opposite sex. However..PrintView Page 24 of 47 Key Words/Phrases • Hello: Salaam alaikum (literal translation peace be with you) • Hello: Marhaba (said to a Christian) • Hello as a response: Wa alaikum a-salaam • Please: min fadhlak (when said to a male) • Please: min fadhlik (when said to a woman) • Thank you: Shukran • Thank you very much: Shukran Jazilan • Response to shukran: Afwan • Hopefully: Insha’Allah (literal translation God willing) • Response to how are you: Al-hamdulillah (Thanks be to God) • Response to how are you: Kowayyes (to a male) (Fine) • Response to how are you: Kowayyesah (to a female) (Fine) Key Spoken Phrases Non-Verbal Language Bahrainis stand extremely close when speaking to someone of the same gender. Have your translator explain to you the most elementary of basic courtesies. rather than what the translator thinks each party wants to A video series featuring hundreds of Arabic lessons from beginning to advanced the translation must be exact. and links to other information. Do not attempt to move to a distance that is more comfortable as it may make the Bahraini uncomfortable. Developing a thorough relationship with your translator enables them to argue your points with a level of confidence they might not otherwise have.aspx. Using Translators Take care in selecting a translator and develop an early understanding of what you expect--specifically.

. Avoid using slang.culturewizard. That is a sign of denigration of the Prophet Mohammed. 8. company literature and brochures should be in Arabic. Since successful business relies on strong personal relationships. and between maintaining eye contact so you appear trustworthy and not too much so you don't seem provocative. because glancing away can be viewed as lack of interest in the discussion or even lack of respect towards the speaker. However. . Mail & Telephone Letters/Email Written communication should be formal. The final paragraph should also include a personal statement. They cannot replace personal contact and should not be used to present a It is a good idea to begin with a personal comment in this relationship-driven culture. it is a good idea to begin your letter with a warm introduction rather than immediately getting to the business at hand. Use a proper salutation including the person’s title and an appropriate closing. they do not use sweeping hand gestures and are more comfortable when others restrain their hand movements as well. Use short. Demonstrate proper respect for the status of the person by addressing the letter using their honorific or professional title and full name. exchange factual information. Eye contact is critical while conversing. try to find the right balance between standing too close and not close enough. Business letters may be used to schedule appointments. It is common to end an email with "thanks and kind regards". or idioms. jargon.2017. http://kpmg. Although letters may be written in English. Include words that convey respect and personalize the business purpose of the communication. Email communication should be formal and is generally used to exchange factual data. or clarify a point.PrintView Page 25 of 47 Bahrainis often touch others while conversing to enhance communication. clear sentences. When you are interacting with someone of the opposite sex. respond to questions. "consideration" and "help".. Courtesy and respect are as important in written communication. "honor". "appreciate. If you want to indicate that you have concerns or reservations. since they are not always understood. be sure to use courteous language. Words that demonstrate respect include "kind". Do not make a fist with one hand and bang the flat of your hand on top of it.2.aspx.

intersperse charts and graphs with written material. this is mostly to stay in touch with family and friends. • Handouts should be stand-alone documents that contain more detail and data. • When presenting technical data. you may schedule a meeting by telephone or re-confirm an appointment. • Limit graphics to abstract images so that you do not inadvertently cause offense. • Use diagrams and pictures when possible rather than words. However. technical material can be given a few days before the presentation. the telephone is not the preferred medium of communication. particularly before a personal relationship has been forged. Cell phones are everywhere and appear to be in constant use.2.2017.PrintView Page 26 of 47 Telephone As you might expect in a relationship-driven culture. remember to modulate your speaking voice and enunciate your words carefully. Presentations Handouts: • Limit graphics to abstract images so that you do not inadvertently cause offense. 8.. . • Keep A/V slides simple and easy to read. have both the executive summary and main points available in English and Arabic. When speaking.. • To emphasize a point. • Have more handouts than the size of the audience you expect. Audience: • Generally technical experts and/or managers. Small talk is important as it fosters the personal relationship so necessary to conduct business. • Bahrainis expect businesspeople to utilize the latest technology in their • High quality paper gives a good impression. • Give out during the presentation or afterwards. not in advance. not for business conversations. Do not immediately begin speaking about the matter at hand. Once a personal relationship has developed. • In some cases. logically laid out and pleasing to the eye. The status of a company may be judged on the quality of the materials. http://kpmg. Presentation Slides/PowerPoint: • Audio-visual aids should be impressive.

• Maintain good eye contact to show sincerity. • Thank the audience for attending. • Greet each member of the audience as they arrive. allow time for the audience to • If you use expressive hand gestures. • Limit the presentation to 30 minutes or less. • If someone enters the room late. • Provide coffee and sweets.culturewizard. Body of the Presentation: • Presentations should be brief and to the point.2. • Initial presentations should provide the big picture. which give the impression you are not an expert. • Repeat key points in many different ways throughout the presentation. • Status is determined by non-verbal behavior. • Say a few words about the business reason for the presentation and then move on to the main points. begin speaking again. summarize key points often. • Use imagery.. even if you ask the audience to turn them off.aspx. • Add descriptive adjectives and adverbs to facilitate understanding.PrintView Page 27 of 47 • Decision makers may not be present. analogy and repetition to create visual images for the audience. http://kpmg. do not make a fist with one hand and bang the flat of your hand on top of it.2017. Presenter: • Learn the traditional greeting in Arabic. They will be briefed by someone who was at the presentation and given the handouts. 8. • Provide extensive background and context that leads back to the big picture. When the person finds a seat and looks towards you. • Exaggeration and over-statement appeal to the audience. • May be late. Opening the Presentation: • Thank your hosts for their abundant hospitality. • Avoid slouching and pacing.. . • Do not appear condescending or sound as if you are there to teach Bahrainis. strive to appear self- confident and poised. Self- confidence equals trustworthiness. remain silent until the person greets everyone. • Speak slowly. • Do not toy with your papers or give visible signs of discomfort. Stragglers often arrive after the presentation starts. • Establish a personal rapport with the audience before beginning the presentation. • Side conversations are common. It is better to say something to the effect that you "hope to cooperate with them to make this project a success". and pause frequently. That is a sign of denigration of the Prophet Mohammed. • Mobile phones are answered.

2017.PrintView Page 28 of 47 • Explain how your solution/product/service benefits the audience or their company. Closing the Presentation: • Provide a concise summary that distills the key points a final time. Most Bahrainis use the 12-hour clock when speaking and writing with the a. 2 o'clock in the afternoon would be 14:00 in the 24-hour clock. Thus. http://kpmg.m.m. you may want to spell out the name of the month. • Open the floor for a Q&A session.. 2011 could be written 9.2. .2011 or 9/7/2011. If the day or month is less than 10. 8. Some multinational organizations adopt the date format used in their headquarter country. This leaves no ambiguity as to what is the day and what is the month. month and year format with either periods or slashes between each number. To ensure there is no month and day format is used. The 12-hour clock divides the day into two periods (midnight to noon and noon to midnight). When using the Islamic calendar. dates are generally written in the day. leading zeroes may be used. • Bahrainis prefer to ask a question when it is fresh in their mind./p. the year.culturewizard. Asking the person to wait until the proper time may be viewed as an insult. Example: July 9.aspx. Public buildings such as banks and government offices often display the date in both the Gregorian and Islamic formats. • Thank the hosts. Date/Time Date When using the Gregorian calendar. Years are written in four digits. Bahrain uses the 24-hour clock for airline timetables. designation to denote day or night.7. each with 12 hours. Time The 24-hour clock is a timekeeping convention where the time of a day is the number of hours since midnight. • Thank the audience..

. • Handshakes may be more prolonged than in many other countries. • To rush a greeting is extremely rude. Male friends may embrace and kiss each cheek.. • Men greet each other with a handshake. in addition to shaking hands. Bahrainis lavish praise and compliments on those they are meeting. starting with the right. • Shake hands at the beginning and end of meetings. • Titles are important.2. • Expat men should wait for a Bahraini businesswoman to extend her hand first. http://kpmg.culturewizard. • Most Bahraini businessmen will shake hands with foreign businesswomen. 8. Use the honorific and any academic or political title with the person's first .2017.PrintView Page 29 of 47 Internet Language & Phrasebook Newspapers Postal Services Radio & Television Business Protocol Meeting & Greeting • The common greeting is "salaam alaikum" (peace be with you). • Hands are often held for the duration of the greeting. • Do not use only the first name until expressly invited to drop the titles. to which the expected response is "wa alaikum salaam" (and peace be with you). • Greetings are eloquent and effusive.aspx.

• Business attire is conservative. it is generally a good idea to check with the local office to determine what the appropriate dress code is in a specific location. • Present your card so the Arabic side is readable by the recipient. what we report is the conservative approach to business attire for a country.aspx. although it is a good idea to keep a sports jacket in the office should you need to attend a meeting. Before embarking on an international trip.. Some industries and companies may have less stringent requirements. Modest clothing demonstrates respect for the local culture.2. • Present and receive business cards with two hands. men may be able to wear good trousers with a long- sleeved shirt and a tie. • It is possible to wear sleeveless blouses. good quality. • Women may wear skirts that skim the knee as long as no more leg is exposed when seated. • Dressing well gives a good impression because it honors the other person. If you choose to do so. As such. wearing skirts that cover the knee and sleeves that cover the elbow is highly recommended. Business Attire The way a businessperson dresses conveys their professional image and their respect for the people with whom they conduct business.culturewizard. Although they do not need to wear skirts that reach the ground. • Men should wear lightweight. having one side of your card translated into Arabic indicates sensitivity to the local culture.2017. • Women should wear conservative clothing. . event.. • Trousers may also be worn with a blouse if the trousers cover the ankle and are sufficiently loose so the shape of the legs is not seen. • Although not a business imperative. 8. Appropriate attire varies within countries based on location. • Make a point of studying any business card you receive before putting it into a business card holder. carry a wrap or sweater you can put over your shoulders if you are meeting with someone who is very religious. • After that. conservative suits to the initial meeting. http://kpmg.PrintView Page 30 of 47 Business Cards • Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual. and individual organization

it is a good idea to make payment arrangements in advance. although the most senior person should be given the most expensive gift. • Gifts are not necessarily opened when do not give the same gift to each person. Gifts Here are some general gift giving guidelines (but also check to be sure they comply with company policy): • You may give a modest gift after the first or second meeting. such as desk accessories or golf balls. • Gifts should be practical. • If you are giving gifts to more than one person. . • The person who extends the invitation usually pays.culturewizard.2017. 8. • If you invite someone to a meal.2. it is best to develop a personal relationship before offering a gift. • In general. although Arab hospitality dictates that there is a certain amount of arguing over the check. Business Hours http://kpmg.. • Gifts may include your company logo. • Business entertainment is often male only.PrintView Page 31 of 47 • Natural fibers offer the best defense against the intense heat. • Gifts should be given in public so they are not viewed as an attempt to curry favor. • If you want to ensure you can pay for the entertaining. • Entertaining generally takes place in restaurants or hotels. although this generally does not extend to jeans or shorts. they may bring friends with them. Business Entertaining • Business entertainment is often lavish. • Casual dress is acceptable in many industries.aspx.. • Bahrainis maintain strong business contacts through socializing.

Meetings begin and end with small talk. Quite often the actual decision maker will not be present. 8. sets the pace.PrintView Page 32 of 47 • Offices: 8:00am–1:30pm Saturday to Wednesday or 8:00am–1:00pm and 3:00pm–5:30pm Saturday to Wednesday • Government offices: 7:00am–2:15pm Saturday to Wednesday.aspx. they may be agreed to in advance but will then be used as a springboard to further discussions. Late opening: 8:00am–noon and 3:30pm–9:30pm Wednesday and Thursday.. it is merely the business culture. Unless you are in the final round of • Superstores: 8:00am–7:00pm Saturday to Thursday. http://kpmg. Some offshore banking units are closed on Sundays. • Role of Leader: Calls meeting. 9:30am–2:30pm Saturday to Wednesday during Ramadan • Banks: Typically. • Some shops in souks and shopping malls open for several hours on Fridays. This is not meant as an insult. • Who participates/speaks: Most senior Bahraini and often technical experts. when dealing with others. 10:00am–1:30pm Saturday to Thursday during Ramadan. 7:30am–noon and 3:30pm–5:30pm Saturday to Wednesday. Interruptions such as telephone calls. • British retail shops in shopping malls are open 7 days a week. 7:30am–11:00am Thursday. meetings are seldom private. . Lower level Bahrainis may corroborate information but will not offer an opinion. • Purpose: Communicate decisions that have been reached.culturewizard. Meetings are more relaxed than in many other cultures. Business Meetings Meeting Essentials • Structure: Agendas are generally agreed to in advance when dealing with senior level Bahrainis.2017. and determines the next steps. may be used to convey overviews • Who attends: Depends upon the meeting. facilitates the meeting. with no mid-day break. when dealing with senior level Bahrainis.2. approves the agenda. others coming into the room. and employees needing approvals or signatures are common. • Shops: 8:30am or 9:00am–12:30pm and 3:30pm–5:30pm Saturday to Thursday. Wait for the most senior Bahraini to initiate business discussions..

.aspx. decisions are reached at the top of the company with little advice or collaboration from subordinates. Thus. The people you meet with will be relaying information to the ultimate decision maker about your character and whether or not they believe you would be a good person with whom to conduct business. Many senior executives have attended university in the UK or USA and are accustomed to more Westernized business practices. If they feel passionate about a topic. if it is in their best interest.culturewizard. As such. It is over when the business has been discussed or when the most senior Bahraini must leave.2. they may become emotive or assertive. it is not considered logical to determine in advance when a meeting should end. as the people with whom you are meeting will have been briefed for the topics outlined. Scheduling Meetings http://kpmg.PrintView Page 33 of 47 There may be several people in the room in addition to the person with whom you scheduled the meeting. 8. there is a tendency to adopt more Middle Eastern business practices. Since only Allah can foretell the future. However. it is important that the people you meet think highly of you as a person.. when working in Bahrain. Agendas are often used for meetings with foreign visitors or at the highest level of a company. if the Bahraini desires to discuss something that is not on the agenda. It is important that you appear confident and self- assured. At the same deal with the change with grace and aplomb. It is a good idea not to recommend last minute changes during the meeting. they are careful not to say or do something that could be construed as an insult. It is not common to have a scheduled time for a meeting to end. For the most part. Since personal and business relationships are intertwined in Bahrain. the way they conduct meetings may be dependent upon their personal preferences. many Bahrainis can make split second decisions and cut through the myriad bureaucracy. The Bahrainis have been involved in international business for generations.2017. the most senior positions are awarded to members of the royal family. In government-owned businesses. Bahrainis are indirect communicators who are equally concerned with the content of their message as with how it is received. Of course. Many companies are family-owned and power rests in the hands of a few well-connected families. In such cases. the agenda is generally agreed to in advance. Since they strive to maintain their dignity and honor. Address your responses and comments to everyone rather than focusing your attention on the person who speaks the most as this person is often a technical expert rather than the decision maker. . You may attend meetings with various people before you meet the decision maker. It is preferable to suggest another meeting at a future date to discuss the other topic rather than veer off the agenda.

culturewizard. • Send recommended agenda items and back-up material in advance of the meeting. Bahrainis use a great deal of hyperbole and go to somewhat exaggerated lengths to find something to praise when conversing. although you may be kept waiting. at meetings Bahrainis tend to be indirect communicators who strive not to express ideas that would make another person uncomfortable.aspx. There is no such thing as giving too many compliments in Bahrain! Bahrainis are non-confrontational and may give a noncommittal response http://kpmg. Morning meetings are generally preferred. . In general. Do not try to schedule meetings in July and August as many Bahrainis leave the country during the worst of the summer heat. They are prone to flowery speech patterns. therefore. It is imperative to demonstrate deference to the most senior person in the group. • Agendas may function as a springboard to other business discussions. Agendas • Agendas are often used when meeting with senior level Bahrainis. do so diplomatically.. This allows the Bahrainis to discuss the material with key stakeholders. • If you want to re-focus the discussion. Communication is also quite formal and follows a hierarchical structure. a firm date will often not be agreed upon until you are in Bahrain. Conducting Meetings As in other aspects of their life. When meeting government officials. 8. if possible.2017. Be prepared to flatter your business colleagues frequently.2. It is a good idea. Arrive at meetings Page 34 of 47 Appointments are necessary and should be made by letter several weeks to one month in advance. to privately confirm agreements given in public so you may determine if the person was merely trying to preserve their reputation. It is also best not to schedule meetings during Ramadan because the Bahrainis would not be able to offer you something to eat or drink. • Do not suggest adding something to the agenda at the meeting since the most senior Bahraini will not be able to consult with technical experts. This is a country where hierarchy and rank are very important.

. it will last a lifetime. a personal introduction may open doors that would otherwise be closed. The person you are speaking with must believe that this is the best possible use of your time.culturewizard. they do not use sweeping hand gestures while speaking. Avoid looking at your watch when speaking with Bahraini businesspeople. Wearing good quality. and you should be careful to moderate your use of hand gestures. Management Styles Relationships Although a local agent is not required to conduct business. Bahrainis do not require as much personal space as most Western cultures. they will stand close to you while conversing and you may feel as if your personal space has been violated. Under no circumstances should you slap a Bahraini on the back or point your finger at them. mention if you have an advanced degree from a prestigious university.2. Bahrainis often touch others while conversing to enhance communication. Bahraini businesspeople often prefer to have an intermediary discuss the situation with you rather than do so themselves. The Bahrain business community is relatively small and your behavior will quickly become known should you appear frustrated.2017. . They respect education. it is a good idea to stay in a high standard international hotel. without appearing to boast. Bahrainis spend a great deal of time on the getting-to-know-you part of relationship building. At the same time.PrintView Page 35 of 47 such as "we must look into this". 8. as your business colleague will attempt to close the gap between the two of you and you may find yourself backed up against a wall. a letter of introduction from someone they know allows you to be treated with the respect and trust of the other person. Since Bahrainis prefer to do business with those with whom they have a personal relationship. conservative clothes marks you as someone of status. If you inadvertently do something to displease your business associates. You must be alert to non-verbal cues and learn to ask questions in several ways to ensure that you understand the response you were given. Impatience is considered bad manners and may deleteriously affect future business dealings.. http://kpmg. Do not back away. because it is a sign of disrespect. The Chamber of Commerce or the commercial attaché of your country’s embassy in Bahrain can often recommend people to fill this important role. If they feel that you would prefer to be elsewhere. Since Bahrainis judge people on appearances.aspx. Patience is As such. Once a relationship has developed. it could jeopardize your business relationship.

. Those who are not in positions of authority are reluctant to take risks and http://kpmg. 8. Defer to older people and those in senior positions and treat them with utmost respect. Personal honor has a much broader meaning here. However. they would be: • Hierarchical structure • Formal style • Interpersonal relationships • Fluid time Therefore. they spend a great deal of time becoming familiar with you and getting to know you as a person. Generations X and Y may be more willing to initiate and even develop these relationships using multiple media sources and not rely as much on face-to-face interactions. Risk Tolerance Bahrainis generally have a low risk tolerance. Bahrainis prefer to deal with those they know and trust. it is important to maintain a degree of formality in business.aspx. It is imperative not to do anything that would embarrass a Bahraini in the eyes of others. Things generally take longer than expected since meetings are frequently interrupted. Since status is important.2017. Several meetings may be required to do what could be handled by a phone call at home.PrintView Page 36 of 47 Impact of Generations on Relationships Bahrainis of all generations respect the need to develop personal relationships to help facilitate business. it extends to the person's entire family. frequently flattering your business associates is a wise strategy. The collective nature of the culture demands that businesspeople be constantly available.2.culturewizard. Management Essentials If you were to think about the most important cultural attributes that you will see operating in business in Bahrain. Attempting to rush this process could negatively impact your business although this can increase markedly if they are related to the ruling family or are part of the entrepreneurial families that comprise the heads of many businesses.. . therefore. This is good news if you need to reach someone urgently but can be frustrating if you are attempting to conduct a meeting.

since they discuss the situation with others to develop a consensus. Decision Making Company Structure Both the Royal Family and a cadre of influential families have ties to many locally-owned businesses. Bahrainis may take a great deal of time making decisions. using milestones helps maintain control over the schedule and lets you know when the project timetable slips. Since with all the will in the world. their personal honor remains intact since no one person shoulders responsibility for the decision. Bahrainis believe that unnecessary change threatens the social fabric. Since they are risk averse.2017. but accept that it is also a matter of Allah's will. Having the right contacts helps move business along at a more rapid pace. As such. rules and regulations to ensure their behavior complies with expectations.. This means that the organization chart is not necessarily a clear depiction of where the power rests. Impact of Generations on Risk Tolerance Given their reliance of working on teams. although not as markedly as in other Gulf countries. The phrase "insh'allah" means God willing.culturewizard. delays may occur. 8. since Bahrainis will tend to tell you what you want to hear and may not say the project is slipping. Who you know is often more important than what you know in this relationship-driven culture. Gen Y are more willing to take risks since if the decision proves to be incorrect. Schedules & Deadlines Bahrain is a fluid time culture and it is also extremely relationship-oriented. new projects are carefully analyzed to assure that whatever risk they represent is thoroughly understood and maintaining relationships is more important than strict adherence to a schedule.PrintView Page 37 of 47 rely on laws.aspx. When working on a project with a deadline well into the future.2. . it is a good idea to build flexibility into schedules so that holdups do not create insurmountable problems. Therefore. It is important to monitor progress. The culture’s attitude toward risk is dramatically impacted by the negative ramifications of failure. Islam impacts the view of schedules. Showing respect is an important value in http://kpmg. Bahrainis will try to meet an agreed upon deadline.

• Offer promotional opportunities to retain them. Companies tend to be very hierarchical and employees operate within strict clear cut limits of authority. • Foster collaborative relationships within the work group. Therefore. reward and drive high performance in a meaningful manner for the individual.2017. Managing Employees Managers tell subordinates what to do and expect them to follow company guidelines and procedures. Due to the need to garner consensus.. Impact of Generations on Managing Employees The age of employees can materially impact the best way to manage them. Decision making is often based as much on personal sentiment as it is on the business case. and those who the decision maker trusts. Chastising an employee publicly can cause the manager to lost honor with his staff. When managing employees born between 1965 and 2000 (Generation X and Y). . • Create situations where you can give them some influence. Employees are generally treated with respect. 8. • Customize incentives to recognize.. employees treat their manager with the respect and deference attributable to their position. Gen Y prefers on-the-job training over training courses. • Act as a mentor. • When possible. decision making is a time- consuming and while it is a hierarchical society. Risk-taking is limited to those in decision making positions. external signs of respect are expected towards all people. http://kpmg. • Provide clear objectives so that Gen Y knows what is expected of them.aspx. In turn. key stakeholders. Demonstrate to employees that you care about them as a person and want them to be successful. Criticism of an employee must be handled diplomatically so as not to harm the person's personal honor. • Create a collaborative environment that promotes individual growth while encouraging employees to be good team players. Attempting to rush someone into a decision may backfire. Decision Making Decisions are reached after discussions with trusted advisors. it is important to spend time cultivating personal relationships. engage them in the decision-making process. It should only be done in private.2.PrintView Page 38 of 47 Islamic societies. consider the following: • Treat each employee as an individual and learn their personal needs. The Bahraini workforce is well-trained and the Labor Law requires on-the- job training to facilitate their movement within the organization.

It may take several trips to finalize a deal. At times. since without a strong relationship the team will be unable to work together cohesively. if you change the lead person. teams work best when the team members have a strong bond.2. Relationships are the cornerstone of business. It is insulting to show impatience. If you are negotiating with this person. the leader must be careful to maintain the honor of team members who offer suggestions. It is vital to make concessions with a great show of reluctance and demand something in return so that the Bahraini believes he has come out ahead in the transaction. The margin can be quite high. due to the strong reliance on relationships. Since honor is paramount to Bahrainis. Individuals may be praised privately for their contribution. expect frequent interruptions since others will need to get the person's signature or approval. it is important to allow time for the team to get to know each other. If a Bahraini is made to look bad in front of others. Therefore. Therefore. it is best to build a margin into your initial proposal. others will not participate and the group may quickly become ineffective. Team selection is often based on existing relationships rather than expertise. Bahrainis are enthusiastic bargainers who expect to receive concessions on price and terms. Do not appear frustrated or annoyed by the constant stream of interruptions or the time it takes for decisions to be reached.PrintView Page 39 of 47 Team Focus As you would expect from a culture that is both hierarchical and relationship-oriented.aspx. not to individuals. http://kpmg.2017. you may experience bazaar-style haggling.. up to 50%. Negotiating is a slow process. The team leader is expected to be a strong leader and delegate specific tasks to each team member. the new person will have to begin the relationship- building phase again. it is vital to develop a personal relationship with Bahrainis prior to commencing negotiations. Praise should be given to the entire group. It is also important to retain the same negotiating team. 8. the senior family member generally makes the decisions. Negotiations Since many businesses are family-run. If the team does not have existing relationships.

even if it means accepting a smaller contract Moving There Advice and Tips for Moving Customs Regulations Entry Requirements Getting Around Getting There Safety & Security http://kpmg.2. Bahrainis prefer to continue to do business with people they know and trust.2017.PrintView Page 40 of 47 Stay in touch with the Bahrainis when you return home so that your maintain the personal relationship. In general. they do not follow a linear approach. This is not a culture where hard sell techniques are particularly successful since they make the Bahrainis question your intentions. Bahrainis may discuss many aspects of a proposal at the same time. 8.culturewizard.. Pressing for a quick decision may result in a negative one. It is important to negotiate with a long-term perspective. They may go back to items you thought were resolved.. .aspx.

. • Make copies of all of your travel documents (including detailed itinerary with contact numbers) and be sure two people have easy access to them. pickpockets and spontaneous political demonstrations. including preparing a will. and what to do in those events. The wise traveler is cautious about hurricanes and earthquakes along with hotel fires.aspx. we think of political situations as causing safety concerns. weather and geographic problems also pose risks. http://kpmg. • Do the same with crucial health documentation. With the exception of the emergency telephone numbers. Before You Go • Take time to get all of your financial and personal records in order. this information is compiled for travelers in general and will apply in varying degrees to your destination and personal situation. dial: • Ambulance: 998 • Fire: 997 • Police: 999 or 911 Emergency Numbers Emergency Telephone Numbers To reach emergency services from a local telephone.culturewizard. • Think about the small (and large) disasters that could occur at home during your absence and be sure there is someone prepared to assist you. Terrorist attacks and kidnappings have simply brought all security concerns to our awareness..2017. dial: • Ambulance: 998 • Fire: 997 • Police: 999 or 911 Safety Precautions Today. • Be sure someone knows where you will be and how to contact you in emergencies at all times. .PrintView Page 41 of 47 Emergency Numbers Emergency Telephone Numbers To reach emergency services from a local telephone. • Talk with a trusted family member or friend about what types of emergencies might arise in your absence.2. but ordinary crime.

don’t be afraid to ask. • In the event that you might need to leave your room quickly.2. • Lock your door and do not answer it until you feel comfortable that you know who it is. 8.2017. ◦ Use a hotel known for its security and be sure that whatever type of transportation you use. • Women traveling alone will have different issues depending upon the morés of the society you’re visiting. your glasses (if necessary). obtain and make several copies of important emergency company contact numbers to keep and give to all members of your family who might need them. • Be sure you have enough of your prescription medication so you are all right if you cannot get a refill right away.) • Read the fire safety information and know what you would do if you need to evacuate. and who to be watchful of. ◦ Ask hotel concierge or front desk manager to assist you whenever you have questions about your safety. ◦ Find out all the gender-based restrictions and abide by them. (Remember to safeguard your passport.aspx. • Use the room safe or hotel safe deposit box. keep your room key. Know exactly where the nearest fire exits are. The following websites offer specific advice for women: • Travel Tips for Women • Best Women's Travel Tips • Her Own Way: A Woman's Safe Travel Tips • Tips for Solo Women Travelers Women Travelers http://kpmg. • Hide personal documents. • Do not display your guest room key unnecessarily. • Travel with a flashlight. .culturewizard. (They will also arrange for you to have help. and many of them revolve around understanding the specifics of where you are. Be sure to learn details of your location -. ◦ As a rule. When in comes to your safety. how to carry yourself.PrintView Page 42 of 47 • Find out the services your company offers to you in case of emergency. it is reliable and safe. • Don’t let strangers into your room. Hotel Safety • Know how to call for help AND what to say.. if you wish walking you to your room very late at night or escorting you from a parking lot to the hotel lobby). take an extra pair of glasses if you wear to dress.. where you can go and where to avoid. how to act in public. Seek information from cultural experts and local nationals whom you have confidence in. be extremely cautious and circumspect. a pair of shoes and some money by your bedside. valuables and other important In-Country So many variables go into being safe.

your company should have guidelines for your safety. and you never know when a potentially dangerous situation can develop.2017. but by identifying sources of local news. reading local papers and telling your local friends to keep you informed. Keep informed—not only with your country’s published data and warnings. Emergencies • In an emergency that requires help by your government. expensive cameras. the safer you’ll be.. You might want to contact: International SOS to see if you qualify for some of their services.2. Be sure you have 24-hour hotline numbers and appropriate contacts who can assist you. Safety in Your New Home City • Learn about your host country and culture. • The more you know about your location. such as a lost passport or the need for money because yours has been stolen. contact: Embassies Around the World • Make sure you know the name of the firm your company has selected for medical emergencies and evacuation services. • For helpful information: Helpful Tips • If you are living in a high-risk location. This is not only wise for business and social purposes. but is extremely important so you can understand what may be offensive or negligent behavior. • Watch out for pickpockets who will try to distract you in many different ways while taking your 8.aspx. certainly understand written and unwritten laws and codes of conduct. . For example.PrintView Page 43 of 47 Travel Tips Crowded Situations • When you’re in crowded places. • No matter where you live—high risk or low risk countries—today’s world is volatile.culturewizard. These people are here to help you. PDAs and cash are easy targets. • Carry as few valuable items with you as possible when you know you’re going to a crowded area. • Use your Embassy. Security Issues http://kpmg. always be sure that close family or friends have accurate contact information so they can find you quickly. International SOS provides emergency medical and evacuation services for individuals and companies. • Embassies Around the World • Even if you are living in a relatively safe country. Even groups of children can be working together to divert your attention while one will steal your money. be very careful to guard your property at all times.

S.and geographic-related concerns.2017. Be sure you know how to call for help in an emergency. Embassies Around the World • See if there are any health-related issues in the countries to which you’re traveling. International SOS provides emergency medical and evacuation services for individuals and companies. Nonetheless. Be sure you know the words to use in the local language.. . contact: Embassies Around the World • Make sure you know the name of the firm your company has selected for medical emergencies and evacuation services. For example. keep enough cash on hand so you will be all right if there are power failures and ATM machines don’t work. we recommend the following government sites as quite comprehensive and easy-to- understand: Australian Travel Advisories Canadian Travel Advisories UK Travel Advice US Travel Warnings • Read about other precautions you should take for weather. nor is it a stroke of luck. Always check to see what services your company may offer to you. With the exception of the emergency telephone numbers.PrintView Page 44 of 47 Security is not simply a state-of-mind. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has in- depth information regarding all regions of the world. 8.. Keeping yourself and your family safe anywhere you go—whether it is an extended trip within hours of your home or a long-term assignment halfway around the world—requires planning and active follow-through. • For the most current. Clearly the length of time you spend and the geographic and political profile of the countries you’re living in--or traveling to--will make a difference in your level of preparedness. • Be sure you know how to contact (and get to) your country’s Embassy and Consulate wherever you are traveling—you need the location details. phone and hours of http://kpmg.aspx.2. The U. such as a lost passport or the need for money because yours has been stolen. You may need to reach the police. up-dated information. this information is compiled for travelers in general and will apply in varying degrees to your destination and personal situation.culturewizard. practicing common sense based upon knowledge of your location will help you. Prepare For Your Destination • Read about security and safety issues in the countries you’ll be traveling to or living in. fire and other emergency personnel. Emergencies • In an emergency that requires help by your government. Don’t underplay the importance of understanding what is culturally appropriate—it may help you avoid some difficult situations. You might want to contact: International SOS to see if you qualify for some of their services.

State Dept. buses. 8.S. • Be sure to respond completely to requests by security officials and avoid comments about security that could be misinterpreted. quickly walk the other way. keep your doors locked and windows closed.culturewizard. it is one of the most valuable items you possess--so protect it as you would cash.. • Do not leave laptops. • Avoid areas where you can become a victim of crime. read safety literature and be sure you know where emergency exits are located.state. you may feel safer moving to an occupied car. • Be able to answer questions about your luggage and be able to open all suitcases and packages immediately. Moving Around Safely • Always remain alert.PrintView Page 45 of 47 En Route • Protect your passport. • If you drive. credit cards and other valuables. independent taxi cabs may pose specific problems. • Ostentatious jewelry will also draw attention to you. the U. . such as poorly- lit streets. Identify the location of the emergency alarm system. Trains. Find out before you go if it is preferable to hire a private driver and car. Otherwise. • Avoid disturbances and loud arguments. if asked. report it immediately to the nearest appropriate Embassy or consulate. • Avoid calling attention to yourself by wearing fancy jewelry or carrying other expensive items. • Whenever possible carry valuables and important prescription medications in your carry-on luggage. do not pack valuables in your checked luggage.2. When they occur. and never pick up hitchhikers. if possible. • You should also ask your company about specific transportation guidelines they’ve established for your safety. you could run the risk of being misinterpreted and perhaps becoming a target if your clothing is provocative or offensive. • If you find yourself alone in a train car or compartment after everyone else leaves. • Learn about transportation in your location—what’s safe and what can be problematic and when. • Use your business address on your luggage tags. Get off if someone suspicious gets on. • When you’re on the plane or train. • For general information when you are en route. may not be so you’ll be well served to learn what is appropriate. • Dress conservatively. Attire you may think is perfectly acceptable.. and deserted train stations. offers a wide-range of information to travelers of all nationalities: http://www. computer bags or other luggage unattended at any time. Your interpretation of this guideline needs to be based on local practices and customs.2017.aspx. subways. alleys. Contact your Embassy for detailed • Be wary when you are alone in lifts. If it is lost or stolen.

. 8. • When you have a specific location you’re going to.2.aspx. Transportation Security Administration Settling In Accommodation Arrival Procedures Conversions Eating Out http://kpmg.PrintView Page 46 of 47 • Experts say that if someone does attack you. Know Where You’re Going • Ask people in the hotel what areas you should avoid.2017. . *Sources: U. learn to use the local pay phones and keep change with you. ask colleagues or people who work in the hotel if there are things you should know about that area.culturewizard. • Even when you have a mobile phone. carry the card of your hotel or your address with you at all times--as well as your destination address.S. • Make others aware of your specific whereabouts. Consider marking and tagging the pages of a phrase book with these types of important phrases. • Be sure to know enough of the language to call for help. • If you cannot speak the local language.. give them your valuables—money and passport—and do not fight back. even when you’re going to business

. 8.aspx.PrintView Page 47 of 47 Entertainment Family Corner Health and Safety Media Money and Banking Nightlife Shopping Social Clubs Sports http://kpmg.