Gender Dynamics from an Arab Perspective: Intercultural Service Encounters

Marryam Khan
Heejung Ro, University of Central Florida
Amy Gregory, University of Central Florida
Tadayuki Hara, University of Central Florida


Gender plays an important role in Arab customers’ evaluation of intercultural service encounters. Even though Middle Eastern tourists are a growing market segment in the travel industry, academic research on them from a service management perspective remains relatively sparse. To understand Arab customers’ evaluation of service experiences, this research focuses on the gender dynamics between service providers and Arab customers during a service encounter. Online surveys of a scenario-based experiment were created and distributed to respondents of Arab descent in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. The findings, based on 326 respondents, suggest that Arab customers are more comfortable—more satisfied with the service encounter and more willing to provide feedback—if the employee is the same gender. However, employee efforts to solicit feedback did not intensify the gender interaction effect on comfort. The findings of this research provide valuable implications for hospitality managers to better cater to the needs of Arab customers by understanding gender boundaries of them in an intercultural service encounter.