Punctuality is considered a virtue in Australia — but having said that meetings often start five or ten minutes late. In addition, it is customary to go through a few minutes small talk before getting down to the key issues of the meeting (sport is a very common theme of these discussions.)
Australia can be classified as a ‘post-planning’ culture which means that relatively little preparation is done for meetings (with the exception of client-facing meetings). Meetings are often viewed as the forum for the open debate of an issue and that, during that open debate, a route forward will be found — this approach obviously sits well with the Australian egalitarian approach. When the route forward is agreed upon in the meeting, then a detailed work schedule will be implemented for completion after the meeting. Being over-prepared for meetings can result in certain negative feelings towards those who have prepared in advance as they can be seen to be trying to dictate and force their ideas on other people.
If agendas are produced, they tend to be followed loosely. If something important arises during the open debate it will not be excluded simply because it does not occur on the agenda.
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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.