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ORGANIZATION CULTURE

The culture of MECO is very much driven by its geography, history, and employees. Like many organizations in the region, being essentially a public-sector company, it is a large employer of Middle Eastern nationals while also relying heavily on a large expat population of which the majority are Westerners.[1] This goes back to the organization's origins of being a Western company in the 1940s.

The company provides highly secure and lucrative employment in which benefits are vast, and most expats stay until retirement. It is not unusual to meet expats who have been with the company for decades. The same goes for the local Middle Eastern employees, who have often been educated by MECO and have continued their careers within the organization, never having experienced working anywhere other than at MECO.

In terms of career progression, it is very much judged on age and years at the company as opposed to merit, while the majority of very senior positions go to local Middle Eastern employees.

There is an aging workforce, with most employees having been with the company for over 20 years and being reluctant to change. Their view tends to be: "We have made a profit for 70 years, so why do we need risk management?" Due to a number of reasons during the late 1990s and early 2000s, including an oil price crash and regional instability due to the war in Iraq, MECO went through a period of being unable to recruit, and as a result, the organization now has an employee demographic of many young local workers and aging expat workers, with little in between. Due to the highly secure employment environment, there is often a lack of drive, innovation, and progress in terms of career development, and this can lead to serious change management issues.

  • [1] The word expatriate comes from the Latin words ex (i.e., out of) and patria (i.e., country or fatherland). An expat (i.e., expatriate) is a person who temporarily or permanently is residing in a country other than that of his or her upbringing.
 
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