The Cultural Report of Spain
Student name: Guolei Li (070145)
Date: 8, August, 2009
In order to deal with businesses in the overseas market it is necessary to be aware of their cultural heritage. The purpose of this report is introducing and addressing the key cultural features of Spain. It is important for businesspersons to avoid some cultural mistakes in their trips to Spain. The report has pointed two main views which are general cultures and business cultures in Spain. For general cultures, it gives information on language and communication, religion, social structure and value and attitude. The business cultures include daily office protocols, management styles, boss and subordinate relations, meeting styles, negotiation styles and written correspondence.
Language and communication
Spain’s national language is Spanish. Two of the minority languages of the nation are Gallego and Catalan. Spanish has been used in national-level exchanges and in wide-scale commerce throughout modern times in Spain. In communicated cultures, Spain tends towards being a high-context culture. This means that much of the message will be implied in the context of the communication and is influenced by the background and basic values of the communicator (Fletcher, R. & Brown, L. 2008). This is similar with China which is also a high-context cultural country.
Spain has been a Catholic country for centuries, and Catholicism was the official religion for most of recent history. Therefore, in Spain, students, visitors and practitioners of other faiths must all understand this catholic environment if they are to understand Spanish national culture.
The top of Spain’s social pyramid is occupied by the royal family, followed by the titled nobility and aristocratic families. But in today’s modern and democratic Spain, individuals who are endowed with social standing by their achievements in business, public life, or cultural activity are admired. Spain’s class system is marked by modern Euro-American models of success. Upward mobility is possible for most people. Education through university training is a principal vehicle of mobility. The wide base of the social pyramid is composed of manual labours, rural or urban workers in the lower level of the service sector, and petty tradesmen. The rural-urban difference is important in Spain (Countries and Their Cultures, 2006).
Value and attitude
In Spain, women under Castilian law inherit property equally with their brothers. They may also manage and dispose of it freely. Most Spaniards live in small family households of parents and unmarried children. The notion of the kindred is lacking elsewhere in Spain, where kinship relations beyond the household are extremely important in social life.
According to Cabrera, E & Carretero, J (2005), Spanish organizations are slowly adopting global practices. Cultural variables in Spain are low future orientation, high power distance, and low institutional collectivism. These variables will give pressures that will hinder the adoption of global practices.
Spanish people are optimism and sense of pride. Spain’s promotion agency says that Spain is one of the few examples in the world, where in 20 years the country has transformed its economy and its society (Pavoni, S, 2007).
Daily office protocols
Spain is a very formal country. Normally men should wear tailed suits and women should dress fashionably in business environment. This is different culture with Chinese as we can dress casually except important events. Spanish women may be treated with particular respect by men in business and in social situations which is meant as an honour in most cases. However, it is not common for women to be in positions of authority in Spain,...
References: Cabrera, E & Carretero, J, 2005, ‘HUMAN REVIEW MANAGEMENT IN SPAIN: Are Cultural Barriers Preventing the Adoption of Global Practices?’, Management Research. Armonk:Spring, Vol. 3, Iss. 2, p. 149-160
Countries and Their Cultures, 2006, Culture of Spain, viewed 8 August 2009,
Fletcher, R. & Brown, L. 2008, International marketing: An Asia-Pacific perspective (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Prentice Hall.
Going Global Career Guides. Spain, 2006, Cultural Advice, ABI/INFORM Global, pg.99
Pavoni, S, 2007, ‘FDI Strategy: Spain- Spanish lessons’, Foreign Direct Investment. London:Aug/Sep 2007. p. 1
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