Managers are not expected to see themselves as in any way superior to their colleagues — people just have different jobs. Therefore an authoritarian style of management will be received very badly by most Australians and such an approach may provoke outright hostility.
It is much better to adopt a consultative style of management which is inclusive of every person’s opinions and which encourages an open debate of ideas. Indeed, challenging the ideas of the boss in open meetings is not seen as rude or disrespectful but the sign of a fully committed, professional approach. Pragmatism is seen as a key attribute; getting the job completed quickly is more important than the niceties of protocol or hierarchy.
In keeping with the Australian direct style of communication, debates between senior and junior executives may appear from the outside as confrontational and occasionally acrimonious — they rarely are. This style of interaction is merely viewed as the most effective way of attaining the end goal.
Australian managers to not remain aloof from members of their team — they usually want to be ‘one of the boys’ and be seen as ‘a good bloke’. The idea of managers only socialising with other managers would be viewed as very affected and would be likely to result in alienation.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Australia. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.
With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Australia and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.
Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics: