Doing business in different countries INDIA

India, home of the sacred River Ganges and the Himalayan mountains, has a history of invasion and migration that has influenced both its culture and its economy. Following the economic reform process of 1999, India’s market has continued to strengthen and expand. Geographically, India benefits from its close proximity to the major Indian Ocean trade routes and together with the country’s rich centre of mineral and agricultural resources, India’s economy is witnessing significant inflows of foreign investment. India is also recognized for its fiercely competitive education system and is one of the largest providers of experienced scientists, engineers and technicians, making it an attractive market for foreign business. Working practices India • Indians appreciate punctuality but may not reciprocate it. It is advisable to make appointments at least one month in advance and confirm them when arriving in India. A flexible schedule will prove useful. • Business appointments should ideally be made for late morning or early afternoon, between the hours of 11 and 4. • Making decisions is often a slow and thoughtful process in Indian culture. Deadlines should not be rushed as impatience is seen as aggressive, rude and disrespectful. Structure and hierarchy in Indian companies • Within the system of hierarchy in the Indian work place, senior colleagues and especially elders are obeyed and respected. Discussions are almost always lead by the most senior person. • Final decisions rest with the highest-ranking business executives, therefore it is important to maintain strong relationships with senior figures in Indian business. Working relationships in India • It is the responsibility of the senior management to monitor, check and look after their Indian subordinates. • Face and self-esteem is an essential part of Indian culture, therefore any individual criticism in business situations must be done carefully and with sensitivity.


This is a direct influence of the community life experienced for thousands of years in India. the family unit is highly valued. Don’t refuse any food or drink offered to you during business meetings as this may cause offence. The word ‘no’ is often avoided and is replaced by other non-verbal cues and indirect communication. If your Indian counterpart does not have a title. • During negotiations. Indian men do not generally shake hands with women out of respect. the relationship between an Indian boss and his employee can be similar to that of close relatives. it is useful to bear in mind that traditionally. In addition. Indian Business Etiquette (Do’s and Don’ts) • • • • • • Do use titles wherever possible. or “Miss”. Don’t be aggressive in your business negotiations – it can show disrespect. This may include personal questions about your family and is seen as a way of building rapport and trust before business. If you do take a gift make sure you present the gift with both hands. Business practices in India • Meetings in India will generally begin with friendly small talk. trust and well-established relationships with your Indian counterparts must be in place before any form of business can take place. therefore showing interest and respect towards your Indian counterpart’s family is vital for establishing successful relationships. 2 .• Despite the distinguished hierarchical system. In Indian culture disagreement is rarely expressed in a direct manner. Do wait for a female business colleague to initiate the greeting. Don’t take large or expensive gifts as this may cause embarrassment. Indians are vegetarians and do not drink alcohol. Do remain polite and honest at all times in order to prove that your objectives are sincere. “Mrs”. In India. use “Mr”. such as “Professor” or “Doctor”.

Swedish organizations.SWEDEN Management Style Swedish management is based on the idea that the individual is both willing and able to do a good job. In most cases. according to Swedish standards. A further sign of the non-hierarchic (or. and the extent to which those others are conditioned by reflexes of obedience". but through the principles of cooperation and agreement. a professional manager should use reason and base his views on facts. Getting emotional when discussing a problem is considered rather inappropriate. Managers only rarely give signals of their own status and employees normally don't feel inferior to them. A good manager. better. and he often delegates tasks and authority to his staff. Swedes try to solve problems in an informal and pragmatic way. Organizations Swedish organizations are probably less rigid than many of their foreign counterparts. An executive is most of all considered to be a specialist in managing companies and he is therefore not socially superior to a specialist in any other field. In Swedish companies. employees on all levels have the freedom to make decisions and solve unexpected problems without asking superiors for permission. Power Distance The power distance in Swedish companies is among the smallest in the world. is a person who takes advantage of the natural creativity and motivation of his staff. Sweden seems to differ from many other countries. managers do 3 . He should lead the employees not through his power or formal position. In this respect. 'Power distance' can be defined as "the extent to which people in a hierarchical situation feel they can and should control the behavior of others. In discussions with his staff. modestly hierarchic) Swedish company structure is that Swedes normally use their first names at work. Being a good listener is considered to be another important quality. the concept of power distance is largely replaced by personal responsibility. according to a study of 40 countries in 1984. Personal status is of relatively small importance in Swedish business life. even if it means bypassing one or more layers of executives. A Swedish manager tends to think of himself as a coach rather than a commander.

the general idea being that decisions are made in order to achieve a result and not to demonstrate your own position. and criticism has to be presented in a non-personal and diplomatic way. a direct approach is seen as a sign of efficiency and a wish not to waste the other person's time. The result is a simple and direct decision-making process. Swedish business culture strongly favors compromising. decisions are often made with great consideration. The stressing of the time factor can also be seen in everyday business contacts. TIPS to doing business in Sweden: • • Women play a very active role in all aspects of business life and will often be found at the highest echelons of Swedish business A strong separation is made between work and private life and private time is guarded zealously . they will feel more involved. If people know what is going on. This is so. Matrix organizations are common. This means that when a Swede is invited for dinner at eight. The Swedish businessman. and too little about themselves or their interests. Making Decisions Although Swedish executives are willing to take risks. Swedish companies usually have a flat and team-oriented structure with few management levels. on the other hand. The same attitude explains the vivid exchange of information in Swedish companies. probably wishes his foreign business partner would cut the small talk and come to the point. 4 . because there is one thing that must not be risked: the feeling of consensus and agreement in a company.not feel threatened by this practice. They might draw the conclusion that their partners are simply limited and ignorant. the argument goes. Punctuality is important not only in working life but also when it comes to purely social gatherings. In Sweden. Punctuality Being punctual is not only regarded as a sign of respect but also of efficiency and Swedish businessmen will have little understanding for cultural variation in this case. and therefore more motivated for work. Unlike the situation in most other countries. Heated debates are very unusual at business meetings. he show up at eight! Business Contacts Foreign businessmen often find that their Swedish colleagues talk too much business . since Swedish employees often report to more than one manager.especially in the all too few months of summer when life is for living. it is generally not considered rude to set a deadline for a thing to be done or a decision made.

Swedish body language is fairly muted in comparison with many other cultures. More emphasis is placed on the written than the spoken word. Humor is not expected or particularly appreciated during the discussion of serious topics. Do not confuse silence with a lack of interest or understanding. There will be ample opportunity for humor after the serious business has been completed. It is often not enough to phone someone .especially if there is nothing much to be said.follow it up in writing. Silence is valued and respected in Sweden. • • • • • • • 5 . however. It is not always necessary to speak . Swedes have a high sense of the importance of environmental issues and these topics are very often discussed. There are still possibilities for misunderstanding and confusion. Swedes can be seen as rude or aggressive by those cultures who value diplomacy highly. Swedish audiences can appear disinterested or aloof to those used to a more active use of body language. Do not. For its population. Sweden has been remarkably successful in developing an international presence and Swedes feel that Sweden is a fairly important player on the world stage. Putting directness before diplomacy. confuse a 'high level' with absolute fluency.• There are high levels of English language competence in Sweden.

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