As has been stated earlier, the Czech approach to many business issues will be determined by the type of organisation you happen to be dealing with and by the age of your counterparts.
Many Western companies with subsidiaries in the Czech Republic will place great emphasis on developing a leadership style within their Czech operation which aligns with their global views on leadership issues. Therefore, you may find that leadership style can vary widely depending on the type of operation you are dealing with.
Traditionally, Czech management styles have been characterised by a somewhat paternalistic style which reflects the hierarchical, bureaucratic nature of the ex-state monopolies which were the norm in the economy. Managers kept somewhat aloof from their subordinates and issued direct commands which people were expected to follow without question. This approach is still very evident in the larger, locally-run Czech enterprises.
This paternalistic style accounts for the lack of initiative which may expatriates feel they encounter when working with Czech colleagues. If managers expect their subordinates to follow direct instructions unquestioningly, it is hardly surprising if those subordinates feel they have no authority to go beyond the direct instructions they have been given.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
The Czech Republic’s economy has, on the whole, performed very well since the structural and political changes of the 1990’s. Although growth stalled after the banking crises, it seems to have returned through a combination of public expenditure and direct foreign investment. Key indicators such as inflation and unemployment levels show reasons for optimism going forward.
The Czech Republic also scores very highly on many key indictors around ‘well-being’ with personal security, work-life balance, education and skills scoring particularly strongly. In all, the country seems to have come through the transition from Soviet satellite state to modern social economy much better than some of its Central and East European neighbours.
These factors lead us to conclude that the future of the country is bright and that doing business in the Czech Republic probably makes sound commercial sense. The economy is relatively strong, the country is geographically well-positioned, there is an educated workforce and a buoyant consumer culture – all the ingredients would seem to be in place for you to make a success of the Czech market.
However, as with all new markets you really need to do some research before you start to make any plans and it is important to take Czech business culture into account. For example, generational issues will come into play when starting to work with people in the Czech Republic. Are you dealing with people who were educated and worked during the former Soviet era or are your contacts younger professionals raised in a completely different period? Approaches to business can differ significantly between these two groups – and that’s just one of several cultural issues you should understand in advance of starting any business dealings in the country.
This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Czech business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on: