As with many other southern European countries, business structures in Greece have traditionally veered towards the strictly hierarchical.

As most organisations have either been government-run or family-owned firms, this tendency towards a hierarchical approach is hardly surprising! (The Greek economy has always been characterised by small, family based and managed enterprises or self-employment – with a large service sector supporting a small manufacturing base.)

Therefore, unless you are dealing with the subsidiary of a multi-national, it is best to expect that the organisation you are dealing with will have an extremely centralised decision-making approach with all decisions of any importance being made by a few key individuals at the top of the company. Spend the time to understand the hierarchy of the organisation you are dealing with so that time is not wasted negotiating with the wrong person — things can take long enough to come to fruition anyway.

Even when working with the subsidiary of a multi-national in Greece, the mindset of the company’s local employees could still veer towards a hierarchical structure which might not seem to exist on paper.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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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 Greece. 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 Greece 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:

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