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
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: