Romania and Sweden are two countries which differ in so many ways that it is sometimes surprising that they are part of the same continent, even if there are a few similarities, also. We tried to make a comparison between these two countries’cultures, even if we know so much about Romanian culture and less that about the Swedish one.
Like other countries in the region, Romania has worked to create a legal framework consistent with a market economy and investment promotion. Gradually it is moving to strengthen tax administration, enhance transparency and create legal means to reach expeditious resolution of contract disputes. In spite of progress, the unpredictability of the legal framework continues to undermine investor confidence. It is, therefore, recommended that any prospective investor consult appropriate legal counsel to get the most up-to-date information. Successful foreign companies tend to share a common approach to investing in Romania. Firstly, they establish themselves in Romania so that they are able to analyze the local situation and develop the most effective corporate strategy. Secondly, they come with a strategy that communicates long-term commitment to the Romanian market and government. This often paves the way for successful negotiations with economic ministries, the Privatization Authority, labor unions, and local partners. Investments that involve the government of Romania, either through sovereign guarantees or by the involvement of entities such as the Privatization Authority, are generally more complicated than Greenfield investments or joint ventures with private Romanian companies. Large deals involving the government of Romania frequently become stymied by vested political and economic interests and bogged down by indecision within governmental ministries. Greater success has been encountered with less complex deals involving small to medium-sized private and state enterprises. Also, Romanian businessmen think from the beginning that people coming from different countries have a different approach when it comes to business deals, negotiations or just discussions in general. On the other hand, Swedish businessmen do not expect businessmen from other countries to differ much from themselves in management, behavior or in doing business.
Romanians are sociable and love to talk, so mobile phones are a must for doing business in the city. People are extremely friendly and a surprising number speak excellent English, although the older generations may prefer French or German. However, Bucharest natives are also extremely formal, in the old European sense, and business visitors should respect this tradition, making appointments for meetings well in advance. Punctuality is important and suits are expected. Although their partners are expected to be punctual, Romanians have a relaxed attitude towards time keeping. Meetings often start late and run over the allocated time. On greeting it is customary to shake hands and business cards are often exchanged. Business lunches may take two hours, with wine or beer the most popular tipple. Work colleagues may socialize together in the evening at a local bar, although this tends to take place more among those working in multinational companies. It is relatively uncommon for Romanians to invite foreign businesspeople to their homes. Should this occur, gifts such as flowers, chocolates or high quality Scotch will always be appreciated. Summertime is not good for doing business as many companies go into hibernation. Easter and Christmas are also difficult, as companies and shops close down for an indefinite period. Normal business hours are 09:00-17:00.
Swedish people are quite different from Romanians from this point of view. It is true that they are said to be as cold as the weather they have on their lands, but in business this is only because they like to go straight to business and have less small talk with their partners and...
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