As with many other southern European countries, business structures in Greece have traditionally veered towards the strictly hierarchical.
As most organisations have either been government-run or family-owned firms, this tendency towards a hierarchical approach is hardly surprising! (The Greek economy has always been characterised by small, family based and managed enterprises or self-employment – with a large service sector supporting a small manufacturing base.)
Therefore, unless you are dealing with the subsidiary of a multi-national, it is best to expect that the organisation you are dealing with will have an extremely centralised decision-making approach with all decisions of any importance being made by a few key individuals at the top of the company. Spend the time to understand the hierarchy of the organisation you are dealing with so that time is not wasted negotiating with the wrong person — things can take long enough to come to fruition anyway.
Even when working with the subsidiary of a multi-national in Greece, the mindset of the company’s local employees could still veer towards a hierarchical structure which might not seem to exist on paper.
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This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Greece only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.