Spain does not really have a meetings culture. Traditionally, when meetings do occur they often seem to be for the purpose of communicating direct instructions from boss to subordinates.
With the advent of a greater degree of international influence in many Spanish firms, this traditional approach is being eroded and some meetings will be more consultative. Many younger Spaniards, however, complain that these changes are occurring too slowly.
In more consultative style meetings, Spaniards, who are highly individualistic, will express their views freely and forcefully which can lead to the impression that meetings are almost anarchic. More reserved cultures should be wary of equating emotional expression of ideas with lack of control or conviction.
If agendas are used at all they will not, necessarily, be followed. It requires a very strong and skilful chairperson to keep a meeting in Spain moving along linear lines. The strictures of a rigid agenda can be seen as stifling creativity and free expression.
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This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Spain only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.