Australian Management Style

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.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Australia

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

Australia has been through an unprecedented period of quarter-upon-quarter GDP growth, mainly fuelled by the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and China’s seemingly limitless demand for the natural resources which are abundant in Australia. This export-led growth trajectory has been in efffect for a number of decades and has enabled Australians to enjoy an enviable lifestyle.

The benefits which have accrued from its relationship with China (and other Asian economies) have allowed Australia to develop a sophisticated service sector and at the same time build state-of-the-art infrastructure across the vastness that of a country that is also a continent. However, there is also some fragility inherent in that success – what impact might recession in China have on Australia? Would employment be severely damaged if such a recession were to occur?

If you are considering doing business in Australia – and there are many reasons why you should – you need to do some research on the business culture you are likely to find when you get there. Despite historic links to the UK many observers feel that Australian business culture is more akin to the way things are done in the US. At Global Business Culture we believe that Australia takes after neither the UK nor the US and that it has developed its own distinct and unique approach.

If you arrive in Sydney thinking you can do business in Australia in the same way it is done in any other culture, you are likely to be proved wrong. Australians have a strong sense of self-reliance and their business culture reflects that characteristic.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Australian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips