RUSSIAN CULTURE AND BUSINESS ETIQUETTE
Nowadays, “Brains replaced Bricks”, or, in other words, the “white collar” business division developed much faster than the “blue collar” division. In a business environment focused more and more on professional services, counseling, administrative tasks and intellectual work, in comparison to manual labor, it is obviously important how people interact and behave. Moreover, business develops not only within the borders of one culture, but also outside of it. Multinational corporations gain more and more power, so the study of intercultural business environment already has a lot of sense. As there exists a common ground for the intercultural business behavior, worldwide, we will only focus on the particularities of a superpower with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Russia is a mecca for international business relations. Business people looking to break into a new market or attempting to grow their European presence, enjoy the most success by developing new Russian clients and partners. Russia has a rich and proud cultural heritage that may be foreign to outsiders. Individuals traveling to Russia for business meetings should show respect for their Russian counterparts by practicing proper Russian business etiquette. By practicing proper Russian business etiquette, you will impress your Russian colleagues, highlight your business skills and establish new, lucrative business relationships.
Be aware that many younger managers, especially in big cities, are educated in Western Europe or the United States and may be perfectly familiar with western business etiquette, while others stick to the soviet style. Therefore, it is always important to be flexible and to comply with the actual situation.
As people are the main pawns of the business environment, we will see the business culture particularities from the businessman point of view. A complete knowledge of the specific appearance, behavior and communication skills will help a businessman fade in the Russian business culture.
* Wear dark colored, conservative business suits to meetings. Wearing very light or bright colors might make you appear lazy or unreliable to a Russian. * Men often do not take off their jackets in negotiations. * Do not stand with your hands in your pockets. This is considered rude. * Avoid showing the soles of your shoes (or stepping on any seats), as this is considered highly disrespectful. * Women dress rather conservatively, avoiding overly flashy outfits. They should wear knee-length skirts, rather than pants-suits. * Women should always cover their heads when entering into any Russian Orthodox Church. * When attending dinner in a citizen’s home, casual dress of slacks and a nice shirt without a tie are appropriate.
* As a foreigner, you are expected to be on time to all business appointments. However, your Russian counterpart may be late, as this may be a test of your patience. Do not expect an apology from a late Russian, and do not demonstrate any kind of attitude if your business appointments begin one or two hours late. This may also be a test of your patience. * Social events are more relaxed. It is acceptable for foreigners to be 15 to 30 minutes late. * Patience is an extremely important virtue among Russians; punctuality is not. * Shake hands firmly and maintain eye contact when doing so but don't do...
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