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Business Executives in Egypt, India and the U. S

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1. There are a number of background characteristics that are common to business executives everywhere. On the one hand, the majority of Egyptian, Indian and American executives are middle and upper-middle class groups in origin. Only the components of the middle class vary from one country to another, reflecting each relevant socio-economic structure. Thus, whereas business and professional backgrounds predominated for American executives, civil servants led all others followed by white-collar and professional backgrounds for Egyptian executives. That civil servants' background lead all others is perhaps a reflection of the dominant role of government in Egyptian society. On the other hand, the majority of executives in three samples are urban in origin. Our comparative analysis of the social background of Egyptian, Indian and American executives thus suggests that it is almost a universal truism that a man's chances of becoming a top business executive are considerably affected by his point of origin both on the social and physical spaces. 2. There are a number of background characteristics unique to Egyptian executives. Much higher proportions of Egyptian than Indian or American executives started their careers as military officers or civil servants, a reflection of the militaristic and socialistic nature of contemporary Egyptian society. The Egyptian business elite, therefore, appears to be relatively non-parochial in experience. These differences in career patterns are associated with corresponding differences in career speeds. In sharpest contrast to their American counterparts, Egyptian executives took shorter than average time to achieve their elite positions. Lateral entry into the business world and the high rate of college-educated there, appear to reduce considerably the number of years Egyptians have had to serve in order to achieve their present positions. 3. Egyptian executives are much more like Indian than they are like American executives in terms of their age, education and urban origins. This pattern has its explanation too, mostly in the similarity of the economic situation, social organization and ideological orientation of these two developing countries. 4. Lastly, our comparative analysissupports as well as generates a number of hypotheses. (a) The fact that the majority of the executives of three somewhat different countries look alike in terms of their geographic and socio-economic origins, may, at least in part, confirm the prediction made by elite theorists that the managers of all industrial societies will inevitably become a distinct elite regardless of the political system within which they operate. 1 (b) Certain features of a country's social structure appear to be related to certain background characteristics of its native business elite. It was found out, for instance, that the educational level of a business elite is inversely related to the present stage of industrialization of its contextual society. Similarly, the geographic background of an elite is inversely related to the degree of urbanization of its surrounding society. It is only through further research that the validity of these hypotheses can be proven.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Toledo, Ohio, USA

10.1163/156854271X00065
/content/journals/10.1163/156854271x00065
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/content/journals/10.1163/156854271x00065
1971-01-01
2016-12-04

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