IBM Incorporated : an exploration of an Egyptian work ethic as constructed by South African expatriates working in Cairo

Van Wyk, Milandre Heidi (2012-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Sociologists concern themselves with exploring, describing and explaining that which is different, unknown or misunderstood. I will endeavour to focus on the latter. International migration and the emergence of a global village have compelled one to embrace the “other” with insight and vigour. This thesis explores the experiences of South African expatriates living in Cairo, Egypt. The primary objective of this study is to explore and describe the constructed experiences of South African expatriates working in Cairo. The purpose of my study, however, is not to delineate an Egyptian work ethic as a typology or an ideal type, but rather to reflect on the experiences of tension and divergencies as constructed by South African. The methodological framework underlying this thesis is that of interpretivism. A qualitative study, which included semi-structured interviews and observations, provided the researcher with rich and nuanced data. Theoretical approaches of Max Weber, particularly The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Weber’s incomplete works on Islam, are used. In agreement with Weber’s works, the main argument of this thesis is that an Egyptian work ethic is not solely fashioned through Islamic tenets per se, but that social, political and economic factors in Egypt are significant contributors.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dit is die moeilike taak van Sosioloë om die vreemde beide te verstaan en te beskryf ten einde sin te maak van ‘dit wat anders is’. Die fokus van hierdie tesis is juis ‘n poging tot die laasgenoemde. Die toenemende belangrikheid van internasionale migrasie vereis ‘n betekenisvolle interaksie met mense van ander kulture, geloof en waardestelsels. Hierdie tesis sal die ervaringe van Suid-Afrikaanse ekspatriote in ‘n Egiptiese werksomgewing ondersoek en die moontlike bronne van konflik identifiseer. Die primêre rol van die studie is om die subjektiewe konstruksies van ‘n Egiptiesewerksetiek, soos ervaar deur Suid-Afrikaners in Kairo, te identifiseer. Die doel is egter nie om ‘n spesifieke en akkurate werksetiek te beskryf as ‘n ‘ideale tipe’ nie, maar eerder om te besin oor die struwelinge wat Suid-Afrikaners in ‘n vreemde milieu ervaar in terme van hul Egiptiese kollegas en hoe hul hierdie struwelinge en verskille interpreteer. Eindelik word hierdie tesis geplaas in die globale wedywering tussen die Euro-Amerikaanse Weste en Islamietiese Ooste. ‘n Interpretatiewe metodologiese raamwerk word gebruik om data-insameling en -analise te benader. ‘n Kwalitatiewe studie, met behulp van semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude en gepaardgaande observasies is gebruik om data te versamel. Die teoretiese werke van Max Weber, meer spesifiek, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, asook sy onvoltooide werke oor Islam, is gebruik om die navorsingsvrae te beantwoord. Samehangend met Weber se werke, is die deurlopende argument van die studie dat ‘n Egiptiese werksetiek nie alleenlik deur Islam en geloofswette gevorm word nie, maar dat die sosiale-, politiese- en ekonomiese realiteite van Egipte geweldig invloedryk is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20353
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