Doing Business in the U.K.

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  • Topic: United Kingdom, Suit, Northern Ireland
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  • Published : February 13, 2013
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Doing Business in the UK

Business Etiquette UKThe United Kingdom (UK) is comprised of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It is important not only to be aware of these geographical distinctions but also the strong sense of identity and nationalism felt by the populations of these four countries. The terms 'English' and 'British' are not interchangeable. 'British' denotes someone who is from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. 'English' refers to people from England. People from Scotland are referred to as 'Scots'. People from England are not likely to take offence at being called “English”, whereas a Welsh, Scots, or Northern Irish person will.

Cultural Diversity

Formerly a very homogenous society, since World War II, Britain has become increasingly diverse as it has accommodated large immigrant populations. The mixture of ethnic groups and cultures make it difficult to define British as looking or acting in one particular manner. People may sound British and retain the cultural heritage of their forefathers while others may become more British than someone who can trace his/her lineage to the 5th century. The fact that the nation’s favourite dish is now a curry sums up the cultural mish-mash that is modern day Britain.

Doing business in the UK

The British are rather formal. Many from the older generation still prefer to work with people and companies they know or who are known to their associates. Younger businesspeople do not need long-standing personal relationships before they do business with people and do not require an intermediary to make business introductions. Nonetheless, networking and relationship building are often key to long-term business success.

Rank is respected and businesspeople prefer to deal with people at their level. If at all possible, include an elder statesman on your team as he/she will present the aura of authority that is necessary to good business relationships in many...
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