Introduction to Business Culture
The www.businessculture.org website will give you an in-depth insight into European Business Culture across 31 European Countries. However, before you look at the business culture definition it is necessary to understand what culture is.
Culture illustrates the accepted norms and values and traditional behaviour of a group. One definition of culture by Deal and Kennedy is “the way a we do things around here”. However, culture also evolves over time. The culture of each country has its own beliefs, values and activities. In other words culture can be defined as an evolving set of collective beliefs, values and attitudes.
Culture is a key component in business and has an impact on the strategic direction of business. Culture influences management, decisions and all business functions from accounting to production. You may now be thinking predominantly about national culture but this is only one aspect, business culture is its own unique dimension that includes getting off on the right foot, meetings, negotiation, formalities, social media use, internships and work placements and other elements which are highlighted on this website.
Business culture is related to behaviour, ethics, etiquette and more. A business culture will encompass as organisation’s values, visions, working style, beliefs and habits. For a more in-depth view on culture see “Psychology and Culture: Thinking, Feeling and Behaving in a Global Context” written by Lisa Vaughn:
Business etiquette tips
Although you will find that each country has a number of individual characteristics, below are some of the main business etiquette traditions which should help you in your international business developments:
- Be aware of any differences between the host country and your own and try to fit in with their business culture
- Never forget to say ‘Thank You’ whether you are at job interview or client meeting.
- Be polite and don’t discuss the meeting straight away as soon you step out of the meeting room.
- Always remember to switch off or put on silent your phone in a meeting to avoid distraction.
- If you disagree with something instead of criticising try to understand the other person’s point of view and never lose your temper.
- Always be honest about whatever you are saying.
Although the www.businessculture.org website will give you an in-depth insight into 31 European business cultures, a more global perspective can be explored in many books including: “Global Business Etiquette: A Guide to International Communication and Customs” written by Jeanette S. Martin, Lillian H. Chaney