Slovenia-flag-240Slovenian business culture

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

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

The general information on a country and its social, economic, cultural and institutional environment will help the visitor understand the context in which their business partners operate. Since informal discussion during meetings or social events may bring up local or national issues, it is good to be aware of certain aspects of local culture, as this may help in developing personal and business relationships.

Slovenia is a country in a strategic position at the heart of Central Europe surrounded by Italy, Croatia, Hungary and Austria, with some 46.6km of coastline on the Adriatic Sea.

With a population of 2,055,496 million inhabitants (2012) and a total land mass of 20,273 km2, Slovenia is a small country. Its capital, Ljubljana, is also the largest city, followed by: Maribor, Kranj, Celje, Koper and Nova Mesto. The general population density is 101 inhabitants per km2, although internal migration between regions and immigration from abroad have been growing lately. Over 80% of the population belong to the Slovene ethnic group and the remainder is made up of Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and various others.

As a member of the European Union, Slovenia has adopted the Euro as its official currency.

Like other European countries, Slovenia adheres to Central European Time (CET) in winter and Central European Summer Time (CEST) from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

More information in English is available on the websites:

Xenophobia: being a foreigner in Slovenia

In Slovenia, organizational structure is important in determining peoples’ attitudes in a business environment. There is generally a top-down approach to management, whereby the most significant business decisions are made by the top management. The largest organisations are either under government control or the government has the ability to veto any decision it does not like, which can dramatically slow down the negotiation process.

Slovenian attitudes to business are comparable to that of the Germans and Austrians. After the experience of transitioning to a market economy, Slovenians have become much more aware of foreign business cultures and attitudes. So, foreign business professionals are now accorded respect based on their personal knowledge and abilities, rather than a historical appreciation for anything foreign.

Slovenians are punctual and like others to be on time to their meetings. Being late is considered extremely rude, demonstrating a lack of respect and a sign of not taking things seriously. If you are going to be late, it is important to call ahead to apologise and give a valid reason for the delay.

International business in Slovenia

Slovenians are interested to be connected and integrated in international business environment. They are concern of the products and services quality. Companies are generally adopting high standards strategies and focus on the market segments interest in high technology or quality.

They are open to ‘import’ best practice from others, especially from foreigners with previous experience. The business culture of other countries is also a subject of interest since they are also interested in ‘exporting’ their products, services and knowledge.

General educations

In Slovenia, the general level of education is impressive, with a literacy level of 99.7%. A significant proportion of the population consists of university graduates and many of the people aged between 25 and 64 have a higher education qualification.

Most managers have a significant level of education, having obtained both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Moreover, younger managers can now travel to other European countries or North America to undertake their postgraduate education or gain further professional practical experience.

The population’s ICT skills vary according to age, with the younger generations recording the highest proportions of computer literacy.

Slovenia has a high degree of computer usage in the normal workplace and office environment.

Detailed statistics are available from:

Educational standards

The education system in Slovenia is provided by the state for the compulsory levels from basic to upper secondary. Teaching is mainly done in Slovenian with regional exceptions, where education is bilingual or learning a second language is compulsory. In the Hungarian speaking region, bilingual teaching is preferred and teachers are expected to be fluent in both languages. Whereas in the Italian region, schools either provide instruction in Italian with Slovene as a compulsory subject, or the reverse where classes are taught in Slovene and Italian is a compulsory subject. Other minority languages are widely spoken in Slovenia, but there is no formal provision for them in the education system. International schools are present in Slovenia and provide education entirely in English or French and may offer some tuition in Slovene.

Higher education is provided by both public and private universities, with programmes being delivered in Italian, English, French or German. The cost of tuition is paid for by the state or by the student, depending on the university, subject and academic achievement. The higher education system in Slovenia is organised according to the Bologna system using ECTS and the three levels of study, undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral.

The Slovenian education system is governed by two ministries, the Ministry of Education and Sport is responsible for undergraduate education and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology oversees advanced academic education and research. A great deal of attention is paid to students’ involvement in research programmes.

Slovenian education also has a component of long life learning and additional information can be found through the ministries responsible:

Other issues such as transport infrastructure

The labour market is relatively stable in Slovenia, with most internal migration being from rural to urban areas by people in search of work. However, the mobility of labour is restricted by the fact that although foreign workers have more or less equal rights when they are in a job, new austerity measures introduced since 2007 have affected foreign workers’ access to jobs and protection from discrimination. The austerity measures have also seen increases in the numbers of Slovenian workers travelling to other European member states in search of better jobs.

Cultural taboos

Safe topics of discussion include showing an appreciation for your experience of visiting Slovenia in terms of its countryside, culture and sports. Slovenia is considered to have very beautiful countryside and it might be appropriate to ask about what you should see and do, if you have time during your visit.

Subjects that should be avoided include any comparisons between Slovenia and other former Yugoslavian countries and any reference to the Second World War. Also, Slovenia’s position in Europe should always be referred to as Central European.

It is not a good idea to openly criticise other business partners in front of your Slovenian partner and Slovenian business practice advises that nothing defamatory should be said about your competitors.

In Slovenia, it is advisable to avoid mixing business with pleasure. Specifically, you should avoid asking about intimate personal or confidential subjects, especially questions concerning your host’s personal finances.

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