Meetings are formal affairs and people would be expected to arrive well-prepared.
Austrians would be classified as pre-planners in terms of their approach to meetings. It would be unprofessional to arrive at a meeting and to start looking through the papers as the meeting is beginning. Brainstorming type meetings might occur but it would be obvious to all concerned that the meeting was not for decision-making or information exchange in advance and everybody would prepare accordingly.
Great emphasis is placed on punctuality and everybody is expected to arrive on time. It is considered to be extremely inefficient to arrive late and can be classified a stealing peoples time. On the whole, meetings will run to schedule and finish on time. (Meetings may be scheduled quite early as the typical working day runs from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm in Austria)
It is usual for the senior person present to control the meeting and agendas tend to be followed assiduously. The meeting leader will invite people to speak and it is not expected that people will be interrupted or that strong emotions are shown. Actions will be agreed, written down, distributed and acted upon.
In a culture which places great emphasis on specialisation, people are expected to speak when they have something to say within their area of expertise. Do not feel the need to speak if you have nothing relevant to say.
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 Austria. 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 Austria 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: