Background To Business in Greece

Certain historical, deeply-rooted cultural characteristics have come to the fore to cause major problems not only for the Greeks but also the rest of the world.

Greece’s foray into the European Union and the access to easy credit afforded on the back of that, pushed Greece to the edge of bankruptcy in 2010 and the final outcome of Greece’s woes could still take many years to unfold

These problems are the result of a culture within the country which has offered business visitors a number of challenging paradoxes for many years.

The greatest of these paradoxes would be why a country whose people are renowned for an entrepreneurial approach, should have seemingly failed to have kept pace with the economic advances enjoyed by many of their near European neighbours. The reasons behind this lack of obvious economic success are manifold but many observers would link it directly to certain underlying cultural norms which Greece and Greeks exhibit.

Another seeming paradox is that although Greeks are fiercely patriotic, this love of country does not equate with a love of the Greek state or its institutions. The government has been perceived as interventionist and overprotective, while the public sector is viewed as bloated, inefficient and often corrupt.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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To say that Greece has been through some troubled times in the twenty-first century would be an understatement. The banking crisis of 2008 possibly hit Greece harder than any other European country and resulted in its well-documented financial meltdown and subsequent massive tripartite bailout. The long-suffering people of Greece are still reeling from the austerity measures which were the price demanded by the international financial community in return for long-term fiscal support and they will be feeling that pain for a number of years to come.

Despite those difficulties, life continues in Greece and the country has a great deal to offer for those people who can see the potential of a country rich in history and full of future promise. Can you do business in Greece? Of course you can – the country remains one of the world’s great tourist destinations, its geographic position makes it an important staging post between Western Europe and the Middle East and Greece’s economy can only improve going forward.

As with any other country, one of the key considerations when doing business in Greece is to get a thorough understanding of the business culture you are likely to encounter when you arrive. Despite its membership of the European Union, Greece remains a traditional culture and business structures reflect age-old concepts of hierarchy and the importance of relationship networks. Making the right impression with the right people can be the difference between success and failure and we very strongly recommend that you do your research before entering into the Greek market. The age old maxim of ‘who you know is more important than what you know’ could definitely be applied to modern-day Greece.

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