Austrian Management Style

As would be expected in a mainly hierarchical business culture, managers are less consensual than would be the case in countries where a more inclusive, matrix-style approach is employed.

Therefore, managers can tend towards giving direct instructions to subordinates who will, by and large, carry them out to the letter.

This also means that managers are expected to make the decisions and would involve their colleagues in the decision-making process to a much lesser degree than might be the case in a consensus-oriented countries such as Sweden or the Netherlands. Managers are expected to be sector/function experts and as such should know the answers to problems.

This directive management approach goes hand-in-hand with an almost old-fashioned sense of politeness and courtesy. Do not imagine a tyrannical boss barking orders at frightened subordinates. Everything is done with great charm and warmth. In fact charm would be seen as one of the attributes of a good manager.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Although Austria is a landlocked country, its geographic position brings certain advantages as it is perfectly positioned between the countries of western Europe and the former Soviet satellite countries to the East. Thus, Austria is able to command centre stage in central Europe and is often seen as the bridge between the two areas.

Austria is also a very successful exporting nation with strong links to, not only its largest trading partner Germany, but also into the Middle East and Asia. Austria is at the same time traditional and outward looking. The country realises that it must trade internationally if it is to be able to continue to compete globally and maintain its current high standard of living.

All of this points to the fact that doing business in Austria could very well be a good idea for your business. If you are not currently doing business in Austria, we would recommend that you take a serious look at the market – you might be surprised by the opportunities you uncover and you might even start to see a commercial opening into some Eastern European neighbours.

If you do decide to do business in Austria make sure you take a little time out in advance to study the business culture you are likely to meet when you arrive. All countries develop their own unique approach to the way in which business is conducted and Austria is no exception. Austria is quite traditional and formal and you would do well to understand how these formalities play out in day-to-day business activities.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Austrian 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