International Management Guides

International Management Guides

Designed specifically for the traveling manager, these short, sharp guides to being a manager in a foreign country offer invaluable insights and practical tips.

Intercultural Management - Luxembourg

Being a Manager in Luxembourg

The business set up in Luxembourg is hierarchical. Cross cultural management is more likely to succeed if you understand the Luxembourgers are formal and courteous. They adhere to established rules of protocol for most situations and expect others to do the same. They respect corporate hierarchy and those who have attained a senior-level position. Since they are a private people, they do not readily mix their private and business lives.

The Role of a Manager

Cross cultural management is more effective when working in Luxembourg when you understand the Luxembourgers generally like working in teams and collaborate quite well across hierarchical lines. The communication within a team is generally quite collegial, albeit somewhat direct. Role allocation within the team is generally quite clearly defined and people will take greater responsibility for their specific task than for the group as a whole.

Building a relationship requires demonstrating a sincere interest in the country and the people. This is a hierarchical culture, so it is crucial that you show proper respect and deference to those who have attained positions of importance.

Luxembourgers are careful and prudent. They take time before they trust people and approach getting to know you in a deliberate, measured manner, which cannot be rushed. If you appear impatient, they will not do business with you.

Since Luxembourgers judge people on appearances, it is a good idea to take care and dress well in both business and social situations.

Approach to Change

Luxembourg’s intercultural tolerance and readiness for change is medium. Changes are made, albeit slowly, and require considerable amount of thought, planning and evaluation.

Approach to Time and Priorities

Luxembourg is a controlled-time culture, and adherence to schedules is important and expected. In Luxembourg, missing a deadline is a sign of poor management and inefficiency, and will shake people’s confidence. Successful intercultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to meet deadlines.

Even though Luxembourgers respect schedules and deadlines, it would be wise not to expect people to work late and or give up weekends in order to meet target deadlines.

Decision Making

In general, Luxembourgers are risk adverse. Managers expect their subordinates to have analyzed all available data, followed the proper protocol, and completed the required paperwork before submitting a recommendation for review and approval. Subordinates are expected to meet with others at their level and ensure that the proposal is acceptable to all parties concerned.

The old autocratic system of management is being replaced with a more participatory style in many companies. In such cases, teams are often entrusted with responsibility to make decisions.

People with private offices generally work with the door closed. It is imperative that you knock on the door and wait to be invited in before entering.

Boss or Team Player?

Intercultural adaptability will be easier when bearing in mind Luxembourgers like working in teams and collaborate quite well across hierarchical lines. The communication within a team is generally quite collegial, albeit somewhat direct and blunt. Role allocation within the team is generally quite clearly defined and people will take greater responsibility for their specific task than for the group as a whole.

The successful cross cultural manager will harness the talent of the group assembled, and develop any resulting synergies. The leader will be deferred to as the final authority in any decisions that are made, but they do not dominate the discussion or generation of ideas. Praise should be given to the entire group as well as to individuals.

Communication and Negotiation Styles

Successful intercultural communication will take into account the high regard Luxembourgers place on manners. Regardless of how you are introduced, you must always be polite and well-mannered. Do not sit until being invited and told where to sit. There is often a protocol to be followed. Maintain direct eye contact while speaking. Luxembourgers get down to business quickly and communication is direct and to the point, while still remaining polite and courteous. Decisions are reached slowly are tend to be made in private. Luxembourgers compartmentalize their business and personal lives.