Describing approaches to business in Spain is no easy task. Spain, probably more than any other European country, is going through a very far-reaching period of structural and organisational change – and added urgency has been added to this task as a result of the post 2008 financial crisis.

After the Franco era, Spanish industry saw radical economic restructuring with the dismantling of many of the state-run businesses which fell under the umbrella of the INI (Instituto Nacional de Indistria). INI ran many of the traditional industries in Spain and was characterised by inefficiency and over-bureaucracy. Indeed, many of the misconceptions historically held about Spain in northern Europe and the States stem from an acquaintance with INI subsidiaries.

However, the post-Franco years saw the emergence of new indigenous Spanish organisations, managed by a new, younger breed of management – many of who were partly educated outside of Spain. These new companies have brought different attitudes and approaches to Spanish industry, which are often at odds with more traditional Spanish work styles. This clash is usually described as a generational issue but can also be seen as a result of the movement from a nationalised economy to a more modern economy.

Despite these tensions, it is still possible to draw some conclusions with regard to what the non-Spaniard can expect to encounter when conducting business in Spain or with Spaniards and this country overview attempts to pull together some of those commonalities.

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

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 Spain. 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 Spain 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