Managers are not expected to see themselves as in any way superior to their colleagues — people just have different jobs. Therefore an authoritarian style of management will be received very badly by most Australians and such an approach may provoke outright hostility.
It is much better to adopt a consultative style of management which is inclusive of every person’s opinions and which encourages an open debate of ideas. Indeed, challenging the ideas of the boss in open meetings is not seen as rude or disrespectful but the sign of a fully committed, professional approach. Pragmatism is seen as a key attribute; getting the job completed quickly is more important than the niceties of protocol or hierarchy.
In keeping with the Australian direct style of communication, debates between senior and junior executives may appear from the outside as confrontational and occasionally acrimonious — they rarely are. This style of interaction is merely viewed as the most effective way of attaining the end goal.
Australian managers to not remain aloof from members of their team — they usually want to be ‘one of the boys’ and be seen as ‘a good bloke’. The idea of managers only socialising with other managers would be viewed as very affected and would be likely to result in alienation.
This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture.
Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working. We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.
This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Australia only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.
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