Greek Management Style

Traditional management styles in Greece are highly directive and paternalistic.

This paternalism fits very easily into the strong sense of family and ethnic ties which bind all Greeks together. The individual responsibility of the boss would always be seen as paramount, rather than the collective responsibilities of a group.

Therefore, it is important to give clear instructions which can be easily followed. Don’t expect pro-activity – it may come, but is not necessarily always forthcoming in these types of paternalistic business cultures. When people have been used to very precise instructions from a directive boss, vague requests can seem very confusing. ‘What exactly am I expected to do here?’

As relationship bonds run deep in Greek culture, the manager expects loyalty. In return for this loyalty, the boss will look after the interests of subordinates. The manager-subordinate relationship is viewed as reciprocal and familial.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

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