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Polish business culture

Did you know about business culture in Poland? Watch this video animation to find out some interesting facts:

Business Culture in Poland is characterised through: business communication, business etiquette, business meeting etiquette, internship and student placements, cost of living, work-life-balance and social media guide

Poland lies at the centre of the European continent, where eastern and western Europe meet. Poland has a border with Germany to the west, with the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; and with Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia to the east and north-east. The total length of Poland’s land and sea borders is 3,496km, and total surface area is 312,685sq km (304,255sq km of land and 8,430sq km of waters). This makes Poland the ninth largest country in Europe and the 70th largest in the world. Poland has a moderate climate characterised by relatively cold winters and warm summers with substantial agricultural and mineral resources.

The population of Poland is 38,415,284 (July 2012 Est.) and its capital and largest city is Warsaw with a population of 1.7 million. Warsaw is also the economic and political centre of the country. Poland has a number of cities with large populations, of which the most notable are Lódź (782,000), Kraków (758,000), Wrocław (639,000), Poznań (576,000), Gdańsk (462,000), and Szczecin (415,000).

Poland has a birth rate of 9.96 per 1,000 inhabitants and a slightly higher death rate of 10.24 per 1,000 inhabitants (July 2012).

According to official Polish government website, the age of the population is distributed as follows: 14.6% are 14 years old or younger, 71.3% are between the ages of 15 to 64 and 14% are 65 years or older. The main ethnic groups are Polish at 96.7%, followed by German at 0.4%, Belarusian at 0.1%, Ukrainian at 0.1% and the remaining population at 2.7%.

The official language of Poland is Polish and its official currency is the Zloty (PLN), which translates as ‘gold’ and the current exchange rate is approximately 4 Zloty to the Euro. Poland is in the Central European Time Zone and adheres to CET (UTC +1) during the winter and CEST (UTC +2) during the summer.

Poland was one of the first ex-communist countries to adopt privatization and economic liberalization. It has been successful because the government was able to privatize most of the small and medium state-owned companies and encourage foreign direct investment.

Poland’s main export partners are Germany, the UK, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Russia. Poland’s main exports are machinery and transportation equipment, intermediate manufactured goods, miscellaneous manufactured goods, foodstuffs, and live animals.

The largest sector of the Polish economy is the services sector, which generates 63% of GDP, followed by manufacturing at 33.3% and agriculture at 3.6%.

For more information about Poland, please see below:

Xenophobia: being a foreigner in Croatia

Foreign visitors will be received warmly; Poles make every effort to be good hosts, Polish people are very open and friendly and take a great deal of pride in providing hospitality to their visitors. They have a saying: “A guest at home is God at home”. Poles are very interested in other cultures, so they are tolerant and eager to learn about other peoples’ ways of life. At the same time, they are also very proud of their own nationality and want to share their culture with people from all over the world.

During business meetings, Poles maintain a very direct and focused professionalism, whereby joking and levity is set aside for a more appropriate time. Outside of a formal business environment, Poles don’t see anything wrong with making racial or sexist jokes, especially the older generation. Basic political correctness has not touched the older generation yet; to them, comedy has nothing to do with being sexist or racist.

International business in Poland

When you visit another country on business, you expect some differences in how business is conducted. However, you do not always have sufficient time to learn these differences through personal experience. Sometimes, you will find yourself in a meeting only a few hours after your arrival, where your lack of local knowledge leads you to make basic cultural mistakes, which can have serious repercussions on your efforts.

This section is intended to equip you with the basic ‘ground rules’ for doing business in Poland to ensure that you are sufficiently able to deal with most of the business situations that you may encounter.

General educations

Most Poles are ready to invest their own money in their children’s education because they believe that the more educated you are, the better your chances of getting a good job. That is why they are ready to pay for private education that offers more specialised, less traditional courses in order to equip their graduates with skills dictated by the labour market. The Warsaw School of Economics and University of Warsaw – School of Management are good examples of progressive institution.

Polish universities participate in educational and research programs such as Erasmus and Leonardo, which enables the exchange of students between European universities. Participation in these programmes provides a special opportunity for young people to acquire education and practical experience in other European Union countries, as well as skills essential to be able to succeed in the changing European labour market.

Polish managers are well educated, a lot of them have postgraduate degrees and many of the younger managers have postgraduate degrees from western countries. Most managers are computer literate and even some older managers have put in the effort to learn some IT skills.

Educational standard

Primary and secondary education in Poland is compulsory for every citizen of the country and it is free of charge. There are now many public and private universities in the country and if you are not able to get into the public university and if you can afford to pay for private education then you go private. Public education is free.

Other issues

The mobility of labour in Poland is low, as Polish families don’t like to move from one place to another willingly. The older generation are psychologically attached to their towns, country and relatives.

Young people have a more open attitude and are willing to take the risk of starting a new job and a new life in a new place. This is exemplified by the high numbers of Poles travelling to other EU countries to look for work.

Cultural taboos

  • Avoid controversial issues such as religion, abortion (which is illegal in Poland), homosexuality and drugs.
  • If you are bringing flowers, make sure it is an odd number to represent good luck and not an even number, which represents death.
  • Do not shake hands in a doorway, as it is considered to bring bad luck.

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