Russian Business Structures

Autocracy and centralised decision-making are synonymous with the Soviet system in many people’s eyes and this approach can certainly be seen to be manifested within large Russian business organisations.

Russian companies tend to be driven by one strong central figure who will make strategic decisions with little or no consultation with anyone other than a handful of close trusted advisors. (Indeed this centralised decision-making process can be most clearly seen in the approach of recent Russian presidents.)

Therefore, when dealing with potential clients or joint-venture partners in Russia, it is absolutely essential to make sure that the right person is being dealt with. Western companies, who attempt to interface at inappropriate levels within an organisation, waste massive amounts of time and resource. Nowhere is the advice, ‘Go straight to the top’ more pertinent.

The headlong rush from communism to capitalism has made people into entrepreneurs and centralised decision-making enables organisations to grab an opportunity when it arises. Thus, as in most developing economies, companies tend to have a short-term view of business activities and it is imperative that any potential partner can see the short-term benefits of collaboration.

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

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 Russia. 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 Russia 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