Greece is a country which is transitioning from an economy which has traditionally been dominated by state-run organisations, to a more modern, open approach.
As companies (both state-owned and private) tend towards the hierarchical, decision-making powers lie in the hands of a few senior managers at the top of the organisation.
Make sure you are dealing with the right people. Don’t waste time trying to get people to make decisions who do not have the real authority anyway.
Management style is paternalistic and managers are expected to manage through giving clear instructions.
Subordinates will rarely disagree openly with senior people – they will, however, raise any concerns in private.
Meetings can seem both noisy and chaotic to those from a culture used to a more structured approach.
Several people may speak at the same time during meetings – which is viewed as lively debate rather than lack of discipline.
Agendas will tend to be used only for the most formal types of meetings.
Punctuality is less rigid than in some other countries. People may arrive late for meetings; deadlines may be seen as guidelines.
Teams are defined as individuals working to a strong leader – information does not necessarily flow freely between team members.
Women are making rapid progress in the business world and foreign businesswomen expect to be treated with professional respect.
Appearance is important and smart clothes should be worn.
Although English is widely spoken, you cannot assume that everything you say will be understood.
Emotion is seen as a positive in most business situations as it indicates an interest in the matters being discussed.
Business structures tend to be hierarchical in nature.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
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: