The Ethno Linguistic Position


02 Nov 2017

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Memories of my Moroccan experience in an oral culture world where one third of the population is analphabetic.

The ethno-linguistic position

The vast majority of Moroccans are of Berber origin. Many tribes were forcibly Arabized by the Arab conquerors in the eleventh century thus became Arabic.

Historically, the Berber community geographically extended over a vast region from the Libyan-Egyptian border in the east to the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Parallel to the arabization of the language, a kind of arabization identity occurred through myths highlighting the Arab Moroccans. The Alawites founded in the seventeenth century, the dynasty that still reigns today. This dynasty claims, too, descend from the Prophet.

Morocco, at independence, proclaims loudly his Arab identity. Arabism, which then has the wind in its sails, is regarded as a factor of unity, cultural diversity as a source of division.

In Morocco today, It's still three ethnic groups clearly marked with their own values and reputations.

The "Fassi": native of the region of Fez and down the Andalusians expelled by the Spanish. Some of them come from Jewish families Islamized the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The Fassis are known to have market trends and skills very marked. Fassis are present in all areas of economic and political life. Her sense of independence is very strong compared with individuals of other ethnicities.

The "Soussi": native agricultural regions of the South. He is generally of Berber origin.

The Soussi is driven by a very strong sense of family and tribal affiliation. The Soussi are known to be excellent traders. Indeed, the vast majority of grocery stores in Morocco is managed by Soussi.

The Soussi is known for his pragmatism and unwavering solidarity between them.

The "arbi" (the "Arabic"): It is not a homogeneous type or linked to a region of Morocco. One of the characteristics common to this type of person would be in the tendency to avoid risk and to focus on immediate profitability. In its majority, the "arbi" did not reinvested in his work.

In the popular imagination, the Soussi is often presented as a stingy person and too close to his money, while Fassi is described as a person too refined tries to avoid open conflict especially when it is opposed to an arbi.

The Muslim religion

Being a Muslim country for more than twelve centuries, Morocco is governed by a logic of allegiance is one of the essential foundations of Islam.

Etymologically, the word Islam means "submission." A Muslim is one who submits to Allah (God). Islam encompasses both spiritual and temporal space. It is a doctrine that permeates the whole social fabric, a code of conduct governing the external and internal life or intimate of all believing Muslims.

By focusing on all aspects of the life of an individual, his conduct social, political, economic, religious, Islam seeks to ensure the unity and cohesion of society. Social relations are defined, identified and sanctioned by religion. Religion plays an important role in society by providing a basic framework within which all activities are integrated economic, social and intellectual. It empowers to become aware of its existence and its profound nature.

Functional separations of political, economic, social and religious, found in the Western countries do not exist in Islam. The big difference between the Western world and the Muslim world lies in the fact that in the contemporary culture of the West, religion has almost no involvement in the economic, commercial, and industrial policies. Islam, by contrast, occurs in all these spheres. Moreover, the omnipresence of religion or character that we call "doctrine intensive" is a major constraint in the life of organizations in the Islamic context.

The main sources of Islam are the Quran and the Sunnah.

The Quran is the holy book represents the true word of God.

The Sunnah represents all the acts and sayings of the Prophet Mohamed and gives the example and the standard for individual and societal behaviours.

The Quran and Sunnah are the Islamic jurisprudence (Sharia) which has the force of law is in fact an interpretation of religious doctrine made by religious scholars.

All this constitutes the fundamental environment intangible Muslim.

In Morocco, the state and religion are intertwined. By the Moroccan constitution, the King is the head of state and also the Commander of the Faithful. This explains the importance of Islam in the Moroccan culture.

The Moroccan intangible and social environment

This environment is composed of intangible constraints much less noticeable than in an task-oriented environment (like in western countries) who greatly influence all the organization. They are impacting the entire human activities (political, moral, cultural and economic).

Moroccan society can be described as collectivist and feminine. This is characterized by the existence of values of caring and cooperation of strong links between its members and a predisposition to support. The individual is only part of the group (its realization must go with the image of his success against the group) and the concept of the family has a broader meaning than Western societies. This concept can be finding in the current Moroccan language as "hchouma" (the shameful, the shame).

The Moroccan society is characterized by a strong dominant religion. This religiosity implies a relationship in the future marked by fatalism and a tendency to abandoning any projection into the future in favor of abstract considerations for the Western secular societies. It is based on moral principles and likeness identity.

This concept can be finding in the current Moroccan language as "Haram" (the sinful, the forbidden by the religious).

Another special feature of the Moroccan culture is that due to the strong hierarchical distance. This cultural characteristic constitutes acceptance or legitimation of unequal distribution of power.

The Moroccan management

For a moroccan worker, the image of the patron is at best indirect provider of livelihood or opportunistic exploiter or a thief.

For most of these that steal a thief is not theft, but a legitimate action that helps take some of what he is unduly and unfairly stolen: his health, his job, his reputation and especially his dignity.

Management practices of companies in Morocco have a number of features that range from the profane (secular) and the sacred (religious). This relationship between secular and religious is a very special relationship and especially ambiguous because it is more or less subject to the interpretation that the individual wants to give the texts of the Sunnah.

In this situation, four principal modes of management of Moroccan firms prevail.

Paternalistic (or family)management mode. Many Moroccan leaders behave as if it were business family. It is often relatively old leader in family businesses or tribal (especially Soussi).

In business, family or tribal considerations outweigh the organizational side.

The authoritative management mode is the most common way of management in Moroccan firms. The Leader behaves as a tyrant. Orders and cons-orders, intervention in all tasks and operations, tightly controlled, centralized decision-making are some of the characteristics of this type of management. And as the dignity of employees is not always respected this type of management, they do everything to compensate for this "erosion of respect" by the late, absenteeism and even sabotage.

These compensating means lead from the boss even more control, interference and lack of respect, and so on.

Handicraft Management mode. They are often former workers or farmers. The Leader is not necessarily authoritative. However, the management system in place is not adequate because often the leader does not have the skills and knowledge needed.

The modern management mode. A copy of the western management mode. It is usually the result of young leaders who have studied abroad. The characteristics of this type of management do not differ much from those prevailing in Western companies. But it requires significant social and cultural adaptations in personnel management in Morocco.

The Moroccan employee is not yet ready to evolve in a surround working with formal procedures and objectives (task-oriented environment). He is very accustomed to an intangible environment in which the religion determines all its activities.


Despite the appearance of Westernization in Moroccan society, it remains very conservative.

Of my experience I would recommend a hierarchical organization retaining some aspects of modern management (or Western) very supervised. This is to avoid confusion of genres and having to deal with abstract claims (religious or societal).

Especially it is impossible not to include the Religion in the organisation: extended time at noon on Friday to go to pray in the mosque, reduced working times for the month of Ramadan,...

In Muslim countries, the implementing the cultural management of Western economic secular thinking cannot be done without taking into accounts the ethnic and religious aspects.


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