United Kingdom

Introduction

England is one of four distinct regions of the United Kingdom, which also includes Wales, Scotland,
and Northern Ireland. England¶s population is approximately 47 million. For most of the global population the UK is simply England and its people are English or sometimes, and more generously, Britons or just British. Even Great Britain, however, consists of three distinct entities: England, Scotland, and Wales. England has existed as a unified kingdom since the 10th century and the union with Wales was enacted in 1284. The Act of Union of 1707 led to Scotland joining England and Wales as Great Britain. Additionally, citizens of the U.K. do not consider themselves European.

The English are very proud of their heritage and history. Along with their contributions to the world of today, several famous writers came from England. Some of the most famous are Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, and Chaucer. This century, England has seen many influential daughters and sons. The Beatles, Winston Churchill, and Queen Elizabeth II have all played a tremendous role in England¶s presence in the modern world. For the most part such differences will not be readily apparent to the visitor but it is important to avoid offending those who value their particular identity. Any form of discrimination is, of course, taboo but many Welsh and Scots - particularly in more rural areas - will take exception to being called English. Such a proud sense of local identity may also be found in the English regions furthest from London and the 'Home Counties' (the area of southeast England within 60-70 miles of London), especially the northeast around Newcastle, Merseyside, and the West Country.

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two vents. British choice of casual wear is one of those shibboleths that confirm the persistence of the class system at least in matters of taste. charcoal grey) and heavier fabrics (wool) predominate. still entail a suffuse suit for both men and women. those in advertising or the media are prone to wearing something rather more flamboyant. It will. IT departments dress down all week. It is no wonder that they continue to prefer the uniform of a suit at work and the visitor should not be surprised at anything the natives might choose to wear when off-duty. [2] . Some British firms have introduced the concept of µdress-down¶ Friday with its code of µsmart casual¶ but it is not universal and it is better to err on the side of being over-dressed (you can always take off your jacket). Other occupations dress differently. club or military regiment of which you are not a member). Since the men will probably be wearing their business suits. four buttons on the cuff of which two are functional and the other two decorative). In United Kingdom. wear an ornamental silk handkerchief in your jacket pocket). Women may wear trousers (including trouser-suits). in shirt or jacket breast pockets (they may. the British often appear indifferent to both style and fashion but there remains an almost snobbish awareness of µquality¶. shirts from Jermyn Street (pure cotton. The specification 'Lounge suit' on an invitation in the UK occupies the sartorial space between 'Black tie' (i.e. from a leading designer. double-breasted. lawyers and accountants are still likely to shop at smart outfitters in London's West End: bespoke suits from Seville Row (pure wool. Neither sex should wear denim. In some ways. They do not wear striped ties (there is a risk that the stripe may 'belong' to an institution such as a school.Guidelines for Business Dress Conservative dress is the norm for both men and women in British business culture where darker colors (black. people do not put pens. For example. formal) and 'Smart casual' (jacket/blazer and tie). Middle management is more likely to be driven by cost than fabric or style and hence to shop in one of the High-Street chains. however. full-cut. civil servants. though still stylish. double cuffs with links) with silk tie and hand-made leather Oxford shoes. however. senior bankers. No one wears a morning suit and bowler hat to work nowadays but the traditional pinstripe is still immensely popular. Thus. women can legitimately imitate them. etc. perhaps with the addition of a smart accessory. dark blue. university. pencils.

m. confirmed on arrival in the UK. may have uncooperative PAs to shield them. In practice. ideally. however.m. Grander members of the so-called 'Establishment'. Government offices close for lunch between 1:00 p.'. it means that he will be expected at about 7:50. Monday-Friday. British people avoid July and August when they with children are almost obliged to take their annual vacation. Otherwise the UK has only eight national holidays a year. to 5:00 p.m.m.m. and many outlets are open 24/7 even outside the major urban areas. whilst jet-setting entrepreneurs may be genuinely too busy. thus. but. most employees work considerably longer hours and many will be at their desks by 8:30 a.m. Cold calling is not appreciated. Easter is also popular for holidaying and there are two Bank Holidays in May that may catch the unwary visitor [especially in a year when Easter falls in late April]. Banks are generally open 9:30 a. for 8:00 p.but aim to arrive a respectable fifteen minutes after the specified time.m. they may not leave the office until the following day. Professionals like lawyers and consultants may not arrive before 9:30 a. Breakfast meetings are rare outside London and other major cities and it is unlikely that an initial meeting will involve lunch (or dinner). on the other hand. you should not arrive too promptly for social events . Monday to Friday. official working hours are normally 9:00 a. to 4:30 p. which is the lowest number in Europe. though there are some restrictions on Sunday trading. if a dinner invitation states '7:30 p. and 2:00 p. but stay open until 5:30 p.m.) and mid-afternoon (say 4:00 p.m. Generally.).m. The opening hours for shops are almost completely deregulated.m. [3] . the British prefer to stay late in the office than to take work home with them even if they do carry a briefcase (their µexecutive lunch-box¶). Punctuality is appreciated but no one really minds if you arrive a little late [up to 15 minutes] for a one-to-one meet. The easiest times of day to arrange an appointment are probably mid-morning (say 11:00 a.m. and executives rarely leave before 7:00 p. Appointments should be made at least a few days in advance and.Making Appointments In UK. Most British businessmen are not so jealous of their diaries that they will decline to meet a visitor even at relatively short notice. On the other hand.m. UK industry closes almost completely between Christmas and New Year.m.

others should make an effort to speak in complete sentences. measured tones without raising the voice or gesticulating wildly for emphasis. British prefer to avoid animated discussions. northerners tend to be more immediately friendly than southerners. a newspaper will act as a defensive tool in public whilst also providing potential material for subsequent social intercourse in private. Nor should you interrupt someone. it is usually best to avoid sitting or standing at a bar. You should not be offended if people outside the 'Home Counties' of southeast England address you in apparently familiar or overly affectionate terms such as µdear¶ or µlove¶ (whether you are a man or a woman).Conversation Most British are reserved by nature and often find it difficult to indulge in small talk with a complete stranger. [4] . It is always advisable to try to initiate conversation with open questions rather than an assertion of a personal point of view. it is quite likely to have been fuelled by alcohol and it may be time for other to make his excuses and withdraw. They also like to maintain their own personal space and will shy away from those they find invasive. in British English. there are situations where idle conversation is actually frowned upon. Obviously. if an argument does become heated. the British speak in low. The British are largely tolerant and open-minded but every nation has its bigots and many Britons derive their opinions from the tabloid press. the British generally find the North American habit of trailing off in midsentence rather irritating. For this reason. a newspaper or some work to look at should again afford a degree of protection from bores and boors alike. intonation conveys one has finished speaking and. In any case. Indeed. the voice normally goes down at the end of an affirmative sentence. Although not all British are particularly articulate. this is doubly applicable for women. although true Scottish Highlanders will hardly say a word until you get to know them better and Welsh farmers can be especially taciturn. for example when travelling on the London underground. moderate. which typically expresses itself in black-and-white terms (the UK¶s sometimes fraught relationship with the EU and continental Europe generally represents a prime example of the way in which opinion can divide into two extremely entrenched camps). For the most part. in these circumstances. On the whole. unless he desperate for human contact. This phenomenon is exemplified by the archetypal London taxi driver whose often extreme opinions should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

Direct questions may encounter evasive responses and other typically British ploys are to avoid stating the obvious and to imply the opposite of what is actually said. Aggressive techniques such as the µhard sell¶ or denigrating another company¶s product or service will not be well received. direct. Therefore asking personal questions or intensely staring at another person should be avoided. particularly the one-line jibe. Humor also plays an important role in business discussions. Eye contact is seldom kept during British conversations. the British can be blunt. In any case you should not be surprised by any seemingly inappropriate levity. Privacy is very important to the English. tap your nose. and probably will not hesitate to speak their minds. [5] . And do not gush . Nor should you give unsolicited praise since it is rarely welcome. having a repertoire of jokes and anecdotes can be an asset and good raconteurs should make the most of their talent.Business Deal The British are masters of understatement and that irony is a favorite weapon. This may be hurtful at the time but the British do not harbor long-term grudges for the most part. the British are prone to using sarcasm. To signal that something is to be kept confidential or secret. Tone of voice or facial expression may sometimes hint at what is really meant but not always and it is equally important to pay attention to what is not said. They certainly will not be slow to say µno¶ (however politely or obliquely). once they decide that they want to do business with you.the British 'stiff upper lip' does not appreciate excessive enthusiasm. Finally. Furthermore. it is considered inappropriate to touch others in public. and one should maintain a wide physical space when conversing. Gifts are generally not part of doing business in England. to ridicule an adversary or to register disagreement or even contempt. Behavior A simple handshake is the standard greeting (for both men and women) for business occasions and for visiting a home. Personal space is important in England. On the other hand.

[6] .is a distinct blessing and these can afford excellent value with fresh local produce. If you are the host. The advent of the 'gastro pub' . the worst that can happen is that your British companions will regard you as an eccentric foreigner. British cooking have become distinctly international in flavor and there are relatively few traditional dishes left. If you are a guest. Most of the rules are archaic and downright silly. Otherwise the provinces may offer little beyond standard pub fare and Indian or Chinese restaurants that are open later but may be full of refugees from the pub desperate for solid sustenance. whatever you say goes. Unfortunately the best are also the most expensive and they are concentrated in London and the Home Counties or. seasoning and sheep¶s innards) traditionally served on Burns¶ Night (25 January) and laver bread (seaweed) is an ideal accompaniment for scallops or cockles in South Wales. The only sensible rule is to behave in such a way as to cause neither embarrassment nor annoyance.Prosperous Entertaining British cuisine is not what it was. follow the host¶s instructions and/or lead. though. Interminable books have been written on the subject of dining etiquette in the UK. Good manners are founded in respect for your fellow humans and are largely universal they do not require instruction manuals. oatmeal. in the major cities. Haggis is a famous Scottish delicacy (sheep¶s stomach stuffed with suet. at least. Act with confidence and. Some of the best restaurants on the planet can be found in the UK.a pub serving food of restaurant quality but at lower prices . Sadly. however bizarre your behavior.

are Muslims [12%]. and plateaus in south and central India. desert in the west. and has a deep influence on the behavior and lives of people. To its north lies Afghanistan. There are larger proportions of Christians in certain states of NorthEastern India. For instance. thick rain forests in the north-east. [7] . The other major religions. Hinduism. and the Bay of Bengal. is located in southern Asia and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The population of India is more than 1 billion. the cultural values and norms also widely differ. and Bhutan. Since different religions are concentrated in different parts of the country. Sikhs are concentrated in Punjab. On average. India has a multiplicity of climates and terrains across its regions. India consists geographically of the entire Indian Peninsula and portions of the Asian mainland. which makes it the second most populous country in the world [after China]. the Indian climate varies from tropical to temperate. Sikhs [2%]. The caste system in Hindu society is hierarchical in nature. Christians [3%]. which ranges from snow-peaked Himalayas in the north. In addition. China. flat green pastures in the Gangetic planes. and on the west is the Arabian Sea and Pakistan. Nepal. more than 300 local tribes constitute 8% of the Indian population. however. to its east is Bangladesh. in reality. is far from a homogeneous religion. and so on. it consists of a multiplicity of creeds and faiths. Buddhists. though a majority of Indians come from the Indo-Aryan race [72%] followed by Dravidians [25%]. which are further divided among many castes. However. represented in Indian society. Muslims are a majority in Kashmir.India Introduction India is officially called Republic of India (Hindi Bharat). Virtually all major world religions and ethnic strains can be found in India. 82% of Indians are Hindu. sects and sub sects. Jains and Parsis. Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar (which separate it from Sri Lanka) and the Indian Ocean are to the south.

and sari or salwar-suit for women]. However. it also differs widely across regions and business sectors. However. Moreover. In most companies. Therefore. However. People can wear casual dress if invited to a social gathering. since India has a warm climate. dress is advisable. the dress code is much more casual. if a foreigner wears an Indian costume [kurta-pajama for men. and often seen as a gesture of friendship. It is also important to select neutral colors. It is not unusual to find people wearing T-shirts and jeans with sneakers. a salwar-suit is also acceptable for business dress. Normal business dress for men is a suit and tie. conservative. which are subdued and not very bright. particularly in IT sectors. often just a full-sleeved shirt with a tie is also acceptable. especially in temples. it is difficult to make a generalization about the most appropriate way to dress that will be valid across India. this kind of dress is also appreciated. Hindus revere cows and do not use leather products. For women. However. the following points should assist you in making the right decision. The use of leather products including belts or handbags may be considered offensive. though not formal. as a visitor. [8] .Guidelines for Business Dress In recent years. the dress code in Indian business settings has undergone a transformation. Jeans with a T-shirts or short-sleeved are acceptable as casual wear in informal situation for both men and women.

to 5:00 p.Making Appointment Indians appreciate punctuality and keeping one's commitments. In most Indian business organizations.m. there is a greater likelihood that your appointment may be rescheduled or that you may be kept waiting for as many as several hours before you actually meet the person. The MNCs.m. banks and government departments.m. among the business organizations. Normal office hours are 10:00 a. Though not essential. Mumbai]. Since India is a culturally diverse country. some places of business start working earlier to avoid congested traffic while commuting. One of the reasons for this is that in the Indian mind. [9] .m.g. in some large cities [e. Dinner appointments for business purposes are rare. Also. Normally. Try to avoid scheduling an appointment around this period. each state also has its own list of holidays. However. and last till 8:00 p. and therefore can--and do--get changed. Compared to a business organization. Rather. Official dinners are mostly hosted as large gatherings. which are often the times when business is discussed. in the government departments. Since the end of March is the time for closing the financial year.m. it is normally more difficult to get an appointment with officials in a government department. and 2:00 p. the Financial Year is calculated from April to March. there is a trend towards luncheon meetings and 'power breakfasts'. There is a distinct difference in the cultures of the government departments and business organizations. different parts of the country also celebrate festivals which are regional in nature. which can start as early as 7:30 a. many visitors to India find it very disconcerting that often Indians themselves are quite casual in keeping their time commitments.m. and are mainly meant for socializing and getting to know each other. the plans and schedules are contingent on other people and events.. lunch is for one hour. however. time is generally not considered as the objective yardstick for planning and scheduling one's activities. between 12:00 p. mostly follow a January-to-December financial year. Thus. In recent years. However. Increasingly. it often helps in getting an appointment if you have an Indian contact. people are very busy. for most Indians. there is also a trend towards a longer working day.

to recognize that politics in India is very diverse. and the political issues are often regional in nature. Like the Cricketers. in recent times. and are considered more polite. and are subject to discussion and gossip. certain political topics may be very local. film stars are considered as national icons. most Indians keep abreast with the latest movies through TV channels. Taking the time to do some advance preparation on these subjects can be very helpful in building rapport and establishing one's acceptance. These are: Politics. In addition to the above. They normally enjoy discussing Indian traditions and history.000 movie theaters in the country. The official languages are English and Hindi. Even though the advent of TV has reduced the viewers in the theaters. Indian Economic Reforms. Always use professional titles. India produces the largest number of films annually [around 800-1000] in the world. There are a few which are quite popular. A foreigner can sometimes find the level of political awareness of an average Indian surprising. politics and education. especially with a foreigner. "Thank you" is considered a form of payment and therefore insulting. it is important to appreciate that India is an ancient and rich civilization. Never directly refuse an invitation. Films and. Cricket. The word "no" has harsh implications in India. There are more than 13. Titles are very important. It is important. videos and CDs. [10] . Indians are enthusiastic about discussing politics and political figures. There are many topics of conversation which Indians find engaging. a vague "I¶ll try" is an acceptable refusal. Thus. English is widely used in business. Evasive refusals are more common. however. and most Indians are proud of their heritage. and it is advisable to get involved only if you know about them.Conversation There are more than fourteen major and three hundred minor languages spoken in India. Do not thank your hosts at the end of a meal.

or the western part of the country. however. the southern Indian companies are more conservative when compared to the north. Often. who will then brief the superior about them. doing so would be considered discourteous. compared to many of their private sector counterparts. In general. they may circumvent them by statements such as 'we will discuss this later' or 'I will have to check with others about this. Parsi. Among these. There are also regional differences in business etiquette. and the 'new economy' service sector companies [IT. Indians tend to take larger risks with a person whose intentions they trust. relationships and feelings play a larger role in decisions in India. You must bring plenty since people exchange business cards even in non-business situations. which are more often bureaucratic and hierarchical. It is necessary. then you must get your brochures and other promotional material prepared in English. the details of the proposal are vetted by some middle-level executive. broadly speaking. A large part of Indian businesses are family-owned or 'owned' by members of different social communities. If you are not from an English-speaking country. and therefore.' [11] . which varies across regions. the diversity of Indian business culture. there are differences between the government-owned public sector companies. it is not necessary to get your card translated into any Indian language. English is the common language for conducting business. Thus. which are in turn more egalitarian and flexible than the traditional manufacturing-sector firms. While the following points would help in negotiating a deal. Marwari. when differences arise. and ownership patterns. in turn. it is important to be sensitive to. etc. and have controlling interests in some of the largest Indian business house.]. Instead. insurance. PowerPoint presentations are generally accepted to start the discussion. Language Presenting and exchanging business cards are a necessary part of doing business in India. one's credibility and trustworthiness are critical in negotiating a deal. telecom. sectors. and appreciate. Indians usually do not express their disagreements openly and directly. Compared to many other cultures.Business deal Indian business culture is also very diverse and heterogeneous. These sectors. In addition. tend to be more individualistic and assertive than the eastern portion of India. to send a more detailed proposal in advance. Gujarati and Chettiar communities are the prominent ones. For instance.

Jains eat cereals and lentils. it is advisable to arrive 15 to 30 minutes late. Non-vegetarian Hindus do not eat beef. Conversely. Observing this custom is particularly important if you or your family have received a personal invitation or if the function you are attending is a familial one. This is mostly because Indians like to make a visitor feel welcome. but do not eat meat. It is normal among Indians to 'drop in' for a social visit. A foreigner visiting India is likely to receive social invitations from even minor acquaintances. Eating and drinking are intimately tied to Indian customs and religions. even in business settings. This invitation will be seen as that you value the relationship you have established with your hosts. in India. Social Entertaining In India. Indians are very particular about cleanliness. and during this time they can eat only fruits. one is expected to remove his or her shoes before entering. honey. and Muslims do not eat pork. Saying 'thank you' at the end of the meal is considered as an inappropriate and impersonal gesture. Muslims eat meat which is 'halal' or ritually slaughtered. coffee or soft-drink] with some light snacks/ refreshments to a guest.Prosperous Entertaining Hospitality is a key value in Indian culture. In many Indian homes. Many Hindus keep a fast once a week. Instead. and the guest is considered the equivalent to a god. it is not expect that your guests will always inform you before their arrival. When inviting people. It is common practice in India to offer beverages [tea. It is essential to wash both of your hands before and after meals. a knowledge and sensitivity to these customs are very important. In planning any invitations. [12] . if you are invited for dinner at a home. do check and make arrangements for them accordingly. and even most vegetables. Any breach of etiquette by the guest is normally ignored and never brought to his or her attention. offer to reciprocate by inviting your hosts out to dinner. Indians normally go out of their way to accommodate the requirements of the guests.

aggressive posture. Whistling is impolite and winking may be interpreted as either an insult or a sexual proposition. Never point your feet at a person. age and authority are respected in India. Beckoning someone with the palm up and wagging one finger can be construed as in insult. Feet are considered unclean. It is customary to allow women and guests to proceed before yourself. If you receive a wrapped gift. Seniority. Among Indians. Talking to a woman who is walking alone is not advisable. If your shoes or feet touch another person. set it aside until the giver leaves. both in business and in public life. or hands in one's pockets while talking are likely to be perceived as arrogant gestures. Gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver. since it is likely to be seen as a proposition or other inappropriate gesture. Standing with your hands on your hips will be interpreted as an angry. Never touch someone else¶s head. it is normal for them to use their hands to gesticulate while talking with each other. [13] . apologize.Behavior The head is considered the seat of the soul. Folded hands. not even to pat the hair of a child.

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