As befits a hierarchical structure, managers tend to be older which in itself lends them an air of authority.
As in the rest of Asia, age still implies wisdom and people will be more comfortable dealing with an older manager than a young whizz-kid. Managers delegate decisions to their teams and expect the decisions to be overtly respected. This does not mean, however, that the rationale behind the decision is never debated – it is merely that any dissension is likely to be aired in a more private manner than in the full plenum of an open meeting. (This, again, may not hold true when dealing into a Singapore-based MNC.)
As in all basically Confucian business cultures, the manager expects to be respected and obeyed and in return for loyalty and dedication to the cause will show a much more holistic interest in the well being of his team. This includes an almost paternal regard for many aspects of a subordinates life. The manager’s relationship with the team does not necessarily finish at the end of the working day.
Outside family ties, promotion will be based on merit and performance criteria rather than connections. The performance criteria may, however, differ from those in the West and top of the list may be the ability to create a harmonious team in which people feel at ease.
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 Singapore 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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