As in all countries the Swiss will celebrate the benefits of team working and warn of the threats of ignoring a team-based approach. It is doubtful, however, whether the Swiss approach to team working would be understood or approved of in certain other countries.

In Switzerland, people prefer to be allowed to have the freedom and individuality to be left alone to perform their allocated tasks, free from external interference or close supervision. ‘If I am technically competent and diligent, then I can perform the tasks you give me to the required standard.’

Thus, the idea of a team leader using his or her interpersonal skills to motivate individuals to work together to achieve a common goal sits uneasily with this Swiss penchant for being allocated a task and then being allowed to complete it in an unaided and unsupervised manner.

This approach to team work seems to work because all the individuals in the team can be trusted to perform to a high level and have the required depth of technical knowledge.

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

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 Switzerland. 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 Switzerland 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