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Frans_Jozef
Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 01:14 PM
Country Culturals

When we refer to the whole being more than the sum of its parts, we must be talking about the EU. The 15 member states comprise such a wealth of cultural, historical, national and traditional characteristics that it is very hard to know what is meant when we refer to "European values" and "European culture". Prepared by Mary van der Boon, the following guide to values, humour, communication and business culture across the EU will help you to put your best foot forward, from Helsinki to Rome...

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/austriaflag.jpgAustria
Values: hospitality, nostalgia, cleanliness, charm, traditions, love of nature and the outdoors, pessimism, insecurity, class consciousness, romance and style.
Sense of humour: self-deprecating and ironical.
Hierarchy: overstated respect is shown to (and expected by) one's superiors. Hierarchy is steep and structural.
Most important factors influencing career:
Business communication: charming, emphasis on small talk, informality permitted if relationship firmly established, otherwise use of titles essential.
Meetings and negotiations: Austrians are well-dressed and conservative, formal and respectful. More emotional then their German counterparts, they can be disagreeable if deadlocked in a deal. Tendency is to avoid confrontation and promise rather more than they can deliver. Short-term thinking a Viennese trademark, and it will often be necessary to remind your Austrian counterpart of their obligations (at which point they will do their best to meet the terms of the agreement).
Dos and Taboos: do engage your Austria co-workers in lively and philosophical debate, take time to discuss personal topics and establish relationships with your Austrian connections. Don't discuss the Second World War and criticise Austria, or compare it negatively to other countries (particularly your own!). knowing the right people.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/belgiumflag.jpgBelgium
Values: flexibility, respect for royalty, compromise, European-orientation, conservative, sceptical, love of 'the good life', reserve, democracy.
Flemish: less formal, flatter organisational structure, intellectual, consensus-oriented, practical, punctual.
Walloon: authoritarian, autocratic, hierarchical, status-conscious, decisive.
Sense of humour: critical and self-deprecating.
Hierarchy:
Flemish: delegation of authority, approachable superiors, short lines of communication.
Walloon: steep, hierarchical and formal, with a vertical structure and little delegation of authority.
Most important factors influencing career: formal education and connections.
Business communication:
Flemish: informal and factual.
Walloon: low-key, formal, and following hierarchical and official channels.
Meetings and negotiations: dress conservatively, in dark suits, pay attention to details such as polished shoes and good quality jewellery and accessories.
Flemish: non-assertive and looking for compromise. Pragmatic and calm style, adaptable and competent. Personal relationships follow business relationships.
Walloon: formal, conservative, and following the lead of the delegation head. Personal relationships precede business relationships. Initial meetings are generally for getting acquainted and developing trust.
Dos and taboos: avoid discussing personal matters or linguistic divisions with Belgians. Do not discuss business during a meal. Do praise Belgium and its many achievements.
Flemish: speaking French, making comparisons between the Flemish and the Dutch, appearing arrogant or too assertive, and pulling rank are all taboo. Do be punctual and make sure you can substantiate business claims you may make.
Walloon: don't make comparisons between the Walloons and the French, do praise Belgian culture, particularly its cuisine. Do take your time in establishing relationships.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/britainflag.jpgBritain
Values: traditions, restraint, courtesy, democracy, stubbornness, eccentricity, politeness, humour, reason and logic.
Sense of humour: understated, subtle and clever, humour dominates most British interaction, and can be used self-depreciatingly, to cut through excessive formality or bureaucracy, to direct criticism against a colleague or superior or to put overly-serious topics in perspective.
Hierarchy: British organisations have varying degrees of hierarchy, ranging from a rather flat, consensus style of management to a steep, hierarchical, top-down structure. Formality between subordinates and superiors is common, and deference is usually shown to managers and leaders.
Most important factors influencing career: 'the old boy network' and 'the old school tie' are still very serious factors in a successful career in the UK.
Business communication: as self-appointed defenders of the English language, much of written business communication is unnecessarily pedantic and verbose (just to prove the point that they do this better than anyone else). Do not hesitate to ask for clarification of obscure issues, since these misunderstandings can be used to your disadvantage at a later date.
Meetings and negotiations: the British have an exaggerated sense of fair play: they will not appreciate receiving the impression they are being taken advantage of. Don't expect decisions to be made quickly, as they are traditional and like to have time to consider all aspects of a business deal. British negotiators can be smiling and agreeable, but also quite tough. They will always have a fallback position, which they will delay revealing as long as possible. Try to discover this position by being equally reasonable, smiling, modest and tenacious. The British often appear vague, and it is important to listen carefully to what they are saying.
Dos and taboos: do arrive at business meetings with a good supply of jokes and anecdotes, and be prepared to match your British counterparts in displaying wit and good humour. Don't appear to be overly serious, and do try to display logic and common sense.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/denmarkflag.jpgDenmark
Values: flexibility, tolerance, business acumen, lack of inhibitions, independence, international orientation, decisiveness and pragmatism.
Sense of humour: ironic and bitingly sarcastic.
Hierarchy: no clear hierarchical structure, leadership is by achievement and demonstrated technical ability. Leaders should be modest and frequently consult their colleagues to get their opinions.
Most important factors influencing career:
Business communication: try to maintain a modest and low-key approach. Remember the Danish motto "you can never know more than us or teach us anything". Communication with the Danes is generally informal and marked by humour and goodwill.
Meetings and negotiations: agendas are generally adhered to, and the Danes are punctual. They do not believe in hierarchy and will not respect it in their business dealings (indeed, this is the only area in which they refuse to compromise). They are easy-going, flexible and patient in negotiations, and are good listeners. They are known for their ability to secure good deals without making enemies.
Dos and taboos: introductions and handshakes may be formal, but the Danes quickly adjust to an easy-going informality. Do not use sexist or racist humour, and respect the Danish dislike of materialism or displays of individual achievement. Do show appreciation for the Danish love of hospitality and 'cosiness', and make sure business events also include social activities. qualifications, competence and results are key.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/eireflag.jpgEire
Values: warmth, charm, love of land, church and family, romance and idealism, informality, vision, imagination, exaggeration, loquaciousness and love of literature, music and theatre.
Sense of humour: gentle irony and a love for hyperbole and story-telling make the Irish one of the most amusing peoples in Europe.
Hierarchy: don't be fooled by the warm Irish character: a distinctly feudal past has resulted in a hierarchical society that places emphasis on respect and obedience towards managers and leaders. Irish subordinates display little initiative and must be encouraged to participate fully in business dealings.
Most important factors influencing career:
Business communication: the Irish are always warm and informal, and display a love of poetry and passion in their communication. Feedback can often be ambiguous, or can even appear to be devious.
Meetings and negotiations: meetings, while informal and friendly, can also be chaotic and confusing. They do not show great respect for agendas or schedules, and are fond of displays of enthusiasm and creativity.
Dos and taboos: do not compare Ireland with England, and be careful not to praise the British. Don't use sarcasm or act in any way snobbish or superior and never assume that the supposed rustic Irish country bumpkin is not a shrewd business adversary. educational, religious and family background.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/finlandflag.jpgFinland
Values: modesty, measured pace, honesty, reliability, traditions and customs, strength, silence, democracy, independence, pessimism, insecurity, resourcefulness, bravery, diligence, sensitivity and cleanliness.
Sense of humour: dry, understated and ironic.
Hierarchy: egalitarian business culture, where senior managers take care to treat their subordinates with respect. Even junior managers often have considerable independent decision-making authority. This informality facilitates the exchange of ideas within Finnish companies.
Most important factors influencing career:
Business communication: the Finns are not talkative, often avoid returning telephone calls and answering written correspondence and in general display a sense of inferiority in dealing with foreigners, caused in part by shyness. Their need for solitude is great, and they will not seek a great deal of contact with business associates. Silences are used in Finland as an accepted aspect of social interaction.
Meetings and negotiations: the Finns will be modest about their achievements, and you should do the same. Don't expect immediate feedback * the silence indicates they are thinking about what you have said. Set clear goals, both in meetings and work strategy, and encourage your Finnish counterparts to work independently. The Finns display a great deal of initiative, discipline, stamina and accountability, and expect the same of their business associates. Body language is subtle, and negotiating position often vague and understated. Once the Finns have made a decision, however, they will seldom change it.
Dos and taboos: do not praise the Swedes to your Finnish counterparts. Do be prepared to work independently and show self-discipline in your work. Display appreciation for Finnish culture, history, language and technology. technical qualifications and a solid educational background.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/frenchflag.jpgFrance
Values: culture, manners, fashion and style, originality, love of argument and debate, formality, respect, philosophy, chauvinism, cynicism, suspicion, savoir vivre.
Sense of humour: cynical and ironic.
Hierarchy: formal, steep and rigid. Surnames and formal introductions are used, politeness is essential, and respect for authority must be immediate and complete. Decision-making is usually done by one person in the organisation.
Most important factors influencing career: grande ecoles background, status and connections.
Business communication: in French, whenever possible. Keep the hierarchy in mind and always address your message to the appropriate person in the organisation. Be clear, logical and factual.
Meetings and negotiations: well-dressed and formal, the meetings will generally be conducted in French. The French are cautious and precise, but you may expect personal views to influence negotiations and business dealings. Do not expect decisions to be made at meetings.
Dos and taboos: do not display familiarity or be overly friendly in business dealings with the French, and refrain from disclosing or
asking for personal details to/from colleagues and business associates. Do compare France favourably to its neighbours England, Germany, Spain and Italy.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/germanyflag.jpgGermany
Values: honesty, reliability, punctuality, formality, striving for perfection, love of law and order, sincerity, directness, criticism, lack of diplomacy, traditions and privacy.
Sense of humour: jokes are not appreciated in a business setting. German humour, introduced generally over a beer after the work day, can be somewhat leaden and unappealing to those unfamiliar with it. Try to enter into the spirit, however, and laugh along with your German hosts.
Hierarchy: rigid, fixed and outdated, hierarchy is a necessity in German business, resulting in great, even excessive deference and respect shown to one's superiors.
Most important factors influencing career:
Business communication: follows structured and vertical lines, usually limited to within one's own department. Avoid going over someone's head, or trying to shorten lines of communication by contacting someone else's subordinates directly. Small talk is not appreciated and considered pointless.
Meetings and negotiations: formal, well-dressed, disciplined, hierarchical, factual, logical, well-informed, well-prepared, seeking common ground, repetitious, decisive, sensitive, respectful, serious, sincere. They prefer to use their own language for negotiations, and will often reveal their emotions in body language or with facial expressions.
Dos and taboos: do show great respect for private property and possessions ('neither a borrower nor a lender be') and try to acknowledge and respect the German passion for order, conformity and perfection. German friendship, whether a business or personal relationship, is not as easily-given as its Anglo-Saxon counterpart, but is loyal, durable, and true. practical, on-the-job experience and demonstrating proven technical competence (supporting the requisite academic credentials).

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/greekflag.jpgGreece
Values: freedom, democracy, thrift, family ties, business acumen, reason, a love of rational debate and of the sea.
Sense of humour: gregarious and charming, the Greeks like long, involved stories containing philosophical or moral elements. Difficult for foreigners to appreciate or understand.
Hierarchy: formal, structured and old-fashioned. Mastering the language is essential.
Most important factors influencing career:
Business communication: the Greeks are emotional, theatrical and intense. Eye contact is prolonged and occasionally aggressive. Be prepared to show emotion indicating your own involvement in the topic at hand, and also to be rational in your argumentation. Fluency in English or other European languages lags behind other EU states.
Meetings and negotiations: Greeks are seldom punctual, and meetings frequently run over scheduled time as discussion becomes animated (often about topics not covered in the agenda). They are serious negotiators, with the senior leader present dominating the discussion. They enter every negotiating session prepared to win, and are difficult to read since their body language is generally relaxed, and they are capable of smiling even when they are very angry.
Dos and taboos: avoid the topics of Cyprus or Turkey, Macedonia, or domestic Greek politics. Do socialise, often until late in the night, with your Greek counterparts. Get to know details about their personal and family lives. They expect warmth and generosity from a business relationship. education, qualifications and intellect, as well as family connections and wealth.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/italyflag.jpgItaly
Values: loyalty, family values, intelligence, dignity, imagination, creativity, charm, flexibility, expressiveness and politeness.
Sense of humour: raucous, flirtatious and tinged with double entendre, jokes are often told loudly and excitedly.
Hierarchy: Italians adhere to a classic, steep southern-European hierarchical style, with absolute authority in the hands of superiors.
Most important factors influencing career: family connections, the right school, and region or origin. For foreigners, fluency in the Italian language and knowledge of Italian culture are essential.
Business communication: why use two words when twenty will suffice, seems to be the Italian motto. Italians find northern European communication style terse, distant and lacking in detail. In contrast, many other Europeans find the Italians are rambling, unclear and undisciplined in their communications.
Meetings and negotiations: rather than follow a fixed agenda, Italians like to introduce topics (seemingly) at random, and can return to re-discuss points that you may have considered were already settled. Emotion is acceptable, even required in business meetings, signifying passion and involvement. Often more than one person will be speaking at once, overlapping other discussion points.
Dos and taboos: do arrive at the bargaining table willing to negotiate, and remain flexible regarding legal and contractual obligations. Italians will borrow easily and expect you to be the same. Do try to emulate the Italian smoothness and charm.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/netherlandsflag.jpgNetherlands
Values: honesty, directness, thrift, independence, ambition, hard work, equality, tolerance, informality, pragmatism, efficiency, international outlook, conservative and proper behaviour, consensus-forming.
Sense of humour: subtle, often political, and based on sophisticated word-play.
Hierarchy: flat and egalitarian, managers depend on their subordinates to help in the decision-making process. Decisions are only made after lengthy consultation and consensus, the 'polder' model. Dutch employees are sceptical, and their loyalty and respect has to be earned by their leaders.
Most important factors influencing career:
Business communication: try to avoid emotional arguments or hard-sell tactics. Do not be pretentious or devious, and try to avoid sarcastic humour.
Meetings and negotiations: meetings begin and end promptly and follow a fixed agenda. Appointments are generally scheduled well in advance. Displays of emotion are frowned upon, and factual presentations are valued. Frank discussion is welcome, but confrontation is not acceptable. The Dutch enter negotiations to win, and will try to score on every point on the agenda. Once a decision has been reached, implementation will follow quickly. Contracts are considered to be 'written in stone' and penalty clauses play an important role.
Dos and taboos: do display patience and grace when dealing with the 'polder' model of consensus-forming and discussion. Do not be overly informal or too friendly as the Dutch will be suspicious of this approach. You may drive a bargain, but you must keep your promises. Be informative, informed and well prepared. academic credentials, linked to a clear system of 'elite' schools in higher education.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/portugalflag.jpgPortugal
Values: flexibility, strategy, sophistication, demonstrativeness, warmth, imagination, friendliness, formality, cleverness and traditions.
Sense of humour: not particularly sensitive to national honour, religious or ethnic considerations, the Portuguese can laugh at themselves and show a marked sophistication about the rest of the world.
Hierarchy: heavy and structured, superiors expect to be obeyed, and subordinates expect explicit and direct instructions. Little independent action will be taken without direct orders. Management style is paternal rather than dictatorial, and conflict is avoided. Personal relationships are essential to doing business successfully.
Most important factors influencing career: family and personal contacts, relationships and networks.
Business communication: since clients are also seen as friends, their style is personal, eloquent and emotional. They are also keen negotiators, and place great importance on written communication, possibly in an effort to avoid uncertainty and ambiguity.
Meetings and negotiations: often called Europe's most skilled negotiators, the Portuguese will seldom be bested in a deal. They are quick, perceptive and opportunistic. They negotiate in small, close-knit teams and are friendly and charming. They may 'play dumb' to lull the suspicions of their adversaries. It is not unusual for them to change course dramatically during the negotiations, or to introduce a wildly unacceptable request to unnerve their opponents.
Dos and taboos: do not assume a relative lack of technical sophistication precludes the ability to carry out complex projects as the Portuguese are quick learners. Do pay them on time, and reciprocate their lavish and generous hospitality. Do not make comparisons between Portugal and Spain or France.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/spainflag.jpgSpain
Values: personal dignity, passion, involvement, romance, national honour, loyalty, tradition. Pay attention to distinct characteristics of Castilian, Galician, Basque, Catalan, Asturian and Andalucian cultures.
Sense of humour: making fun of the French and the Germans is very popular.
Hierarchy: formal, long lines of communication, personal relationships are of extreme importance. Overt shows of power and force by managers expected and desired.
Most important factors influencing career: An underlying egalitarianism belies the hierarchy of Spanish business * the poor boy who overcomes all odds to rise to the top is a cherished Spanish success story. Be prepared to show how you have suffered to reach your present position.
Business communication: Spaniards are philosophers, and a convoluted, oratorical style characterises their business communication. Knowledge of the language is essential.
Meetings and negotiations: Spaniards are not particularly punctual and the agenda plays little role in the meeting itself. The senior manager present will do most of the talking, and they are more interested in getting to know their future business partners than in listening to the formal business presentation. Meals and entertaining play an important role in Spanish business dealings. Be prepared to bargain, don't put your final price on the table in the beginning, and remember: maintaining pride and dignity is more important than time, money or practical considerations.
Dos and taboos: try not to generalise with the Spanish * their region of origin is of extreme importance in how you approach them. Pundonor, or point of honour, is a very important concept, and must be respected. Don't take yourself too seriously.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/swedenflag.jpgSweden
Values: honesty, caring, emphasis on education, efficiency, measured pace, conscientiousness, loyalty, tolerance, equality, love of peace and nature, cleanliness, kindness and modesty.
Sense of humour: extremely dry and subtle.
Hierarchy: egalitarian and loosely structured, the Swedes appreciate a high level of interactivity between levels and reward good ideas wherever they are generated in an organisation. Management style is decentralised and democratic, but the consensus approach results in very slow business decisions.
Most important factor influencing career: the ability to work well in a team is highly valued, particularly when matched with a high degree of technical skill.
Business communication: a gentle approach must be used: overt displays of power, hierarchy or emotion are not condoned. Swedes like planning and procedures, and appreciate this in their communication.
Meetings and negotiations: a seemingly endless series of meetings is necessary to reach agreement on even minor points, due to the consensus-forming aspect of Swedish culture. Swedes often hide their true feelings, and the lack of a clear leader in meetings can result in confusion. They will often state their 'fair' price up front, and be unwilling to negotiate further. Strengths in Swedish business are quality, design and prompt delivery. They are often extremely informal in address, but display very little emotion in business dealings.
Dos and taboos: do display elements of honesty and integrity in your business dealings with the Swedes. Demonstrate patience and understanding in the long consultation process, and remember quality is of over-riding concern to the Swedes.

Canadian author Mary van der Boon has been an expatriate for over 25 years, living and working in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. She is Managing Director of global tmc international management training & consulting based in the Netherlands. She is 'Doing Business Abroad' expert on www.expatexchange.com and online facilitator for the University of British Columbia's Certificate in Intercultural Studies.


SOURCE (http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/culture.html)

Josep Conrad
Wednesday, July 6th, 2005, 01:26 AM
Dear Friend, in order to make this thread more realistic and attractive it would be more interesting a rough description of the same points but under the point of view of nationals. In the case of Spain the case would be squizophenich...

QuietWind
Wednesday, July 6th, 2005, 01:32 AM
Interesting. I wonder if people from the various countries will enlighten us with their thoughts on the above posted as well as some anecdotes or examples.

Oskorei
Wednesday, July 6th, 2005, 07:26 AM
Country Culturals



http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/denmarkflag.jpgDenmark
Values: flexibility, tolerance, business acumen, lack of inhibitions, independence, international orientation, decisiveness and pragmatism.
Sense of humour: ironic and bitingly sarcastic.
Hierarchy: no clear hierarchical structure, leadership is by achievement and demonstrated technical ability. Leaders should be modest and frequently consult their colleagues to get their opinions.
Most important factors influencing career:
Business communication: try to maintain a modest and low-key approach. Remember the Danish motto "you can never know more than us or teach us anything". Communication with the Danes is generally informal and marked by humour and goodwill.
Meetings and negotiations: agendas are generally adhered to, and the Danes are punctual. They do not believe in hierarchy and will not respect it in their business dealings (indeed, this is the only area in which they refuse to compromise). They are easy-going, flexible and patient in negotiations, and are good listeners. They are known for their ability to secure good deals without making enemies.
Dos and taboos: introductions and handshakes may be formal, but the Danes quickly adjust to an easy-going informality. Do not use sexist or racist humour, and respect the Danish dislike of materialism or displays of individual achievement. Do show appreciation for the Danish love of hospitality and 'cosiness', and make sure business events also include social activities. qualifications, competence and results are key.

http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/swedenflag.jpgSweden
Values: honesty, caring, emphasis on education, efficiency, measured pace, conscientiousness, loyalty, tolerance, equality, love of peace and nature, cleanliness, kindness and modesty.
Sense of humour: extremely dry and subtle.
Hierarchy: egalitarian and loosely structured, the Swedes appreciate a high level of interactivity between levels and reward good ideas wherever they are generated in an organisation. Management style is decentralised and democratic, but the consensus approach results in very slow business decisions.
Most important factor influencing career: the ability to work well in a team is highly valued, particularly when matched with a high degree of technical skill.
Business communication: a gentle approach must be used: overt displays of power, hierarchy or emotion are not condoned. Swedes like planning and procedures, and appreciate this in their communication.
Meetings and negotiations: a seemingly endless series of meetings is necessary to reach agreement on even minor points, due to the consensus-forming aspect of Swedish culture. Swedes often hide their true feelings, and the lack of a clear leader in meetings can result in confusion. They will often state their 'fair' price up front, and be unwilling to negotiate further. Strengths in Swedish business are quality, design and prompt delivery. They are often extremely informal in address, but display very little emotion in business dealings.
Dos and taboos: do display elements of honesty and integrity in your business dealings with the Swedes. Demonstrate patience and understanding in the long consultation process, and remember quality is of over-riding concern to the Swedes.

I'll try to compare my impressions of Swedes and Danes.

The Danish motto "you can never know more than us or teach us anything" is more of a Swedish motto I think. It is called the "law of Jante": don't ever think that you are better than the rest of us. Don't ever think that you know anything. And so on. I haven't noticed this as much among Danes as among Swedes.

Danes are sometimes referred to as "Arabs of the North", and then it is both their oil and their assertive temperament that is implied. Swedes are almost masochistic collectivists in comparison, and it is no coincidence that Denmark reacted against immigrants when they were about 8% of the population, while they are well over 20% in Sweden without much reaction at all.

Danes are also well known for their love of fat food, while Swedes tend to like strong liquors a bit too much. I don't agree 100% about Swedish humour being dry and subtle, there is also a current of very vulgar humour here, but outsiders rarely have to encounter it.

The endless Swedish meetings are a curse by the way. In my current job I spend almost one workday every week in meetings that could be cut down to a few minutes if my co-workers weren't so insecure and collectivist.

Apart from that, both Danes and Swedes are usually kind and altruistic people, with empathy for animals and love for nature.

Huzar
Wednesday, July 6th, 2005, 09:47 AM
http://www.eurograduate.com/marketreports/culture-matters/italyflag.jpgItaly
Values: loyalty, family values, intelligence, dignity, imagination, creativity, charm, flexibility, expressiveness and politeness.
Sense of humour: raucous, flirtatious and tinged with double entendre, jokes are often told loudly and excitedly.
Hierarchy: Italians adhere to a classic, steep southern-European hierarchical style, with absolute authority in the hands of superiors.
Most important factors influencing career: family connections, the right school, and region or origin. For foreigners, fluency in the Italian language and knowledge of Italian culture are essential.
Business communication: why use two words when twenty will suffice, seems to be the Italian motto. Italians find northern European communication style terse, distant and lacking in detail. In contrast, many other Europeans find the Italians are rambling, unclear and undisciplined in their communications.
Meetings and negotiations: rather than follow a fixed agenda, Italians like to introduce topics (seemingly) at random, and can return to re-discuss points that you may have considered were already settled. Emotion is acceptable, even required in business meetings, signifying passion and involvement. Often more than one person will be speaking at once, overlapping other discussion points.
Dos and taboos: do arrive at the bargaining table willing to negotiate, and remain flexible regarding legal and contractual obligations. Italians will borrow easily and expect you to be the same. Do try to emulate the Italian smoothness and charm.




The work of Mary van Der Boon is very interesting (i appreciate this kind of "research"), Although this, unfortunately, neither her is uninfluenced by the most subtle stereotypes.


Her description of Italy is rather correct i must say, but lacks of an important detail, or, better, needs of a fundamental note : the description fits very well, this is right, but only with central-southern part of the country. For the northern one, only partially.

Excitablity, imagination, jokes , warm nature, are mostly traits of mediterranean Italy ; the author, like the major part of others, associate Italy, exclusively with its mediterranean cultural component forgetting completely the Alpine cultural one. Yes, i can understand that in a geographic sense is more Mediterranean than other (probably many of you Skadites have this vision i imagine), but a TOTAL coincidence, it's a mistake, since a considerable part of the country (the North) is almost forgotten.


What i can say on the subject is that North-east cultural style is still determined by a deep and unconscious "Imperial-Hapsbourgic" influence, and consequently is vaguely similar to Austria (more similar to Austria than to Sicily i have to say) , while North-west is culturally heavly influenced, by the secular presence of France in its various political manifestations (Reign, Empire, Republic etc.). In one word North-Italy is result of cultural currents from Central Europe (MittelEuropa from east and western-"French/gaulic"
) rather than from Mediterranean sea.



Sorry say this. Probably i seem anti-national to the eyes of many of you honest nationalists, but if the term Italy means mostly Rome, Sicily , Calabria Sardinia and other mediterranean geographic-cultural realities of this kind, well, then i don't feel myself rapresented by the name "Italy".