Cultural Patterns of Saudi Arabia
Ball State University
Time Orientation and Social Relations Orientation
Through the last several months my friend Abdullah has been helping me to learn more about his culture of Saudi Arabia. Though there seems to be an infinite amount of differences between our cultures, Abdullah has helped teach me much about his in a short amount of time. It has become apparent that there is much our cultures can learn from one another. Two of the more interesting cultural patterns between Saudi and U.S culture are time orientation and social relations orientation.
Time orientation is a culture’s orientation to the past, the present, and the future. Some cultures tend to put more value in the past and in old traditions. These cultures tend to show respect towards things that are old. Conversely, other cultures live for the moment and put little stock in tradition. To these cultures things that are old are disposed of and seen as being less useful. In addition, time orientation may also refer to a culture’s priorities toward punctuality. This may not seem like a major issue, however, there are dramatic cultural differences in regards to punctuality. and situations related to being on time. (Lustig, M. W., & Koester, J. 2003, p.102) For example, here in the U.S an American might schedule a meeting for a specific time and expect all parties involved to meet at the agreed upon time. However, in another culture they may set a time to meet “sometime in the afternoon” and it would not be uncommon for the schedule to be broken or changed at the last moment.
According to Jandt (2010, p.226), Saudi Arabia tends to favor polychronic time orientation among its people as opposed to monochronic. Meaning that Saudi Arabia’s time orientation tends to encourage people to become involved and complete transactions rather than adhere to a strictly planned schedule. In Saudi Arabian culture, very little is set in stone and plans can...