Spain does not really have a meetings culture. Traditionally, when meetings do occur they often seem to be for the purpose of communicating direct instructions from boss to subordinates.
With the advent of a greater degree of international influence in many Spanish firms, this traditional approach is being eroded and some meetings will be more consultative. Many younger Spaniards, however, complain that these changes are occurring too slowly.
In more consultative style meetings, Spaniards, who are highly individualistic, will express their views freely and forcefully which can lead to the impression that meetings are almost anarchic. More reserved cultures should be wary of equating emotional expression of ideas with lack of control or conviction.
If agendas are used at all they will not, necessarily, be followed. It requires a very strong and skilful chairperson to keep a meeting in Spain moving along linear lines. The strictures of a rigid agenda can be seen as stifling creativity and free expression.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
Spain has had a rollercoaster ride over the past twenty years from an economic perspective. The country went through a classic boom and bust scenario. The Spanish population felt the highs and lows of a rapid growth in living standards only to be then battered by a massive downturn leading to wage stagnation and record levels of unemployment – especially amongst the younger generation.
Things seem to be picking up however and the hope is that Spain has weathered the economic storm and is poised for a period of solid, manageable GDP growth which can help to drive the country into a more prosperous and sustainable future. Some painful lessons have been learnt the hard way and future economic consolidation will be built on stronger foundations going forward.
If you are thinking of doing business in Spain, the economic signals are positive and now is probably a good time to approach the market. The country has a highly educated workforce and a strong middle-class consumer base. As a key member of the European Union, Spain has well established trading links throughout Europe. Add this to its position as ‘the gateway to South America’ and its geographic proximity to North Africa and Spain starts to look like a highly attractive market.
However, if you are thinking of doing business with Spain it is extremely important that you do some homework before diving into any initial relationship-building activities. What are the key motivators of potential partners or clients in Spain? How are decisions arrived at and what is the best approach in terms of communication? Studying Spanish business culture will help you make the right impressions from the outset.
This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Spanish business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on: