Filipino Business Structures

Most large Filipino companies are controlled by the members of a small number of key families and as with most family-run businesses structures tend to be extremely hierarchical with power residing in the hands of a few senior managers (usually family members).

The influence of Western business practices can be seen by the presence of very well educated and trained middle managers who are responsible for the application of decisions made by senior management.

Thus, it is important to develop contacts at various levels within a Filipino organisation. As most decisions are made at the top it is imperative to have good contacts at this level, as much time can be wasted trying to influence people lower down the chain who are not really decision-makers. It is also important, however, to develop and maintain good relationships with the middle management level who will eventually be tasked to work with you on day-to-day issues.

In the early stages of developing contacts with Filipino organisations, it is important that senior level contacts are not insulted by being asked to receive lower ranking representatives from your firm. Be aware of the face issues and field senior people when meeting senior Filipino representatives.

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

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 the Philippines. 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 the Philippines 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