Intercultural Management - Czech
Being a Manager in the Czech Republic
Intercultural adaptability and an understanding of the Czech Republic’s history will all help towards achieving successful management skills. Czechs work hard; however, after years of Communist rule, business operates slowly, since efficiency was not at a premium under the Communist regime. Czechs are practical people who strive to better their lives by working hard to achieve success. They do not generally socialize with their colleagues, except for birthday and name day jaunts to socialize.
The transition to a free-market economy has brought about remarkable, but not wholesale changes in the business culture. Generally, among the older generation, you will find deference to authority, coupled with a sense of loyalty and a detached attitude for meeting objectives and goals of the company. Among younger workers, however, you’ll find an eagerness to explore new challenges.
The Role of a Manager
Although they pride themselves on being individualists and non-conformists, Czechs develop cordial working relationships with colleagues, business partners, and clients. They pride themselves on using proper etiquette in all situations and expect others to do the same.
Approach to Change
The Czech Republic has a medium tolerance for change and risk. Changes are made, albeit slowly, and require considerable amount of thought, planning and evaluation. It would be perceived as imprudent to introduce rapid change, and yet it would be recognized as poor management to resist change unnecessarily.
Cross cultural sensitivity is important with the Czech Republic’s attitude toward risk dramatically impacted by the negative ramifications of failure on both the individual and the group.
Approach to Time and Priorities
Czech Republic is a moderate time culture and typically there may be some flexibility to strict adherence to schedules and deadlines.
When working with people from Czech Republic, in order to achieve successful cross cultural management, it is advisable to reinforce the importance of the agreed-upon deadlines and how that may affect the rest of the organization.
Since this is a hierarchical culture, decisions are often made at the top of the company. Even though managers may not be involved in making decisions, they may give the impression of having been consulted when relaying information to their subordinates.
Boss or Team Player?
In post-communist countries, there is a tradition of teamwork inherited from the communal aspects of the previous era where groups and work units commonly met together to discuss ideas and create plans. However, those plans seldom resulted in implementation or results, leading to apathy and cynicism among the workers.
Today the after-effects are still evident among much of the older generation resulting in a lack of drive and energy. However, there is vibrancy among the younger generation, who seem to be eager to tackle many of the challenges and take the opportunities presented. They will participate in teams and share ideas, but they will need to be coached in the process.
Communication and Negotiation Styles
Cross cultural negotiations will always be more successful if you possess an understanding of the culture you are dealing with. When working in the Czech Republic, avoid confrontational behaviour or high-pressure tactics. Czechs generally offer what they expect to get and do not often give counter-offers and they often become defensive if negotiations become tense.
If Czechs are unhappy with something you have said or a situation which has arisen, they will use an intermediary to communicate with you to avoid unnecessary conflict in the relationship. To avoid any cross cultural miscommunication, hire a Czech business lawyer to guide you through the changing business legal requirements.